Short on backswing but tons of speed through the ball.
Without his trademark golden locks, Charley Hoffman might be harder to recognise these days, but his swing remains unmistakable: compact and powerful. The San Diego native and three-times winner on the US PGA Tour showed how solid his technique can be during this year’s Masters, where he was one of only a few players to stay within striking distance of wire-to-wire winner Jordan Spieth, who was setting 36 and 54-hole scoring records.
At 38, Hoffman is no youngster on tour. He credits some of his recent success to Titleist Performance Institute co-founder Greg Rose, a chiropractor with an engineering degree who consults with tour players.
“Charley is an easy guy to take care of,” Rose says. “Years ago he injured his right ankle, so we work on getting him off his right side coming down. When he does that, he plays great.”
Hoffman says this move has helped him strike consistency over the past 12 months – picking up a victory at the Mayakoba Classic in November, as well as six top-10 finishes for more than US $3 million in prizemoney. Hoffman also earned his best finish at Augusta – T9. Watch, and learn.
Ready For Launch
Hoffman’s teacher, Greg Rose, wants him to start in a position that mirrors impact: head well behind the ball, clubshaft leaning back. “The first of Charley’s three keys is loading onto his right leg,” says Rose, noting that Hoffman’s setup pre-sets that move to the right. “Loading equates to more distance.”
Lower Body Holds
When Hoffman’s swing gets halfway back, his hips have barely moved. “Even when the club reaches vertical, Charley’s staying very still with his lower body while creating width in the swing,” Rose says. “His left heel is flat, but he’s very flexible. I don’t mind the heel rising in less-flexible players.”
Big Shoulder Turn
Hoffman’s second key is making a full rotation with his upper body. “He turns his shoulders nearly 100 degrees to the top while his hips move only 45,” Rose says. “He’s storing tremendous power.” Also notice his left wrist is cupped (not flat with the forearm), which helps keep the clubface square during the downswing.
Keeping The Angle
Hoffman’s third key is getting his weight to his front side which is visible as he starts down. He also has great clubhead lag. “Think of standing in a waist-deep swimming pool,” Rose says. “You want your hands to hit the water before the clubhead does. That’s how you retain the angle [in your wrists]
to create speed.”
“People talk about being wide on the backswing, but distance comes from width at impact,” Rose says. “You want your left arm and the shaft fully extended for maximum speed.” Hoffman has a Nicklaus-like head position here (well behind the ball) and his left wrist has gone from cupped to flat, another speed producer.
All The Way Left
Hoffman continues his full stretch past impact and into a balanced finish. “I like to see all the spikes on his right shoe [looking down the target line from behind] and a relatively straight back,” Rose says. “We want Charley to push aggressively off his right leg; that’s when he drives it best.”
38 / 6-0 / 91kg
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