Sharpen your skills with advice from the best brother-sister tandem in golf

Brought to you by Raydel Health Confidence

Photographs by Cooper Neill

Non-Australians might expect the LPGA Tour’s Korda sistersto get the most betting action as the presumptive favourites in a mythical two-person professional siblings event. But even with Nelly’s Olympic gold and Women’s PGA Championship wins and Jessica’s six LPGA titles, those two would have a hard time with the Lees – the LPGA’s Minjee and the DP World’s Min Woo. 

Minjee, 26, and Min Woo, 23, come from Western Australia with gold-plated amateur credentials. They’re the only sister-brother pair to win the US Junior (Minjee in 2012, Min Woo in 2016), and their professional careers are off to scorching starts, with Minjee as high as second in the world and Min Woo 50th in their respective rankings. Min Woo made six birdies in a row to come from behind with a 64 on Sunday and win the Scottish Open last July, his second European tour title. Two weeks later, Minjee came from seven behind to capture her first Major, the Evian Championship. “We thrive off each other’s success,” Min Woo says. “I’m inspired by what Minjee has done, and we’ve always been interested in learning from each other’s games.”

Giving her brother the side-eye at a practice facility near her Dallas base, Minjee pauses a beat for maximum effect.

“You still have a lot to learn,” she says.

 Although they share a swing coach, Perth-based Ritchie Smith, you might not peg them as relatives by their style of play. Minjee is compact, quiet and metronomic, winning six LPGA events with precise iron play and possibly the best sand game on tour. Min Woo is a long, lean smasher who is as fast with a joke as he is with his driver. He averaged 295 metres (323 yards) off the tee in his rookie year on the European Tour. 

Besides giving the Lees an opportunity to needle each other, bringing them together was also a chance for them to give each other – and you – a lesson in the respective strengths of their games.

Min Woo on driving: Don’t get carried away with your setup

“Everyone wants to hit the ball as far as possible, and I think everybody has read the same tips,” Min Woo says. “That means you usually see somebody really crank their shoulder tilt so that the rear shoulder is really low. But when you tilt too much, your body just can’t move properly. You need a subtle shoulder tilt to promote a positive angle of attack, but more than anything, what I’m after is a neutral feeling in my setup.”

Minjee on driving: Use your legs and core

“Everybody wants more power, but making a bigger backswing with your arms isn’t the right way to get it,” Minjee says. One of the LPGA Tour’s most dedicated weight-room visitors, Minjee says she uses leg and core strength to power her tee shots. “I make sure to turn my core, not just my arms, and push with my legs.” An important note: that leg push is early, just after transition – not a jump down by the ball, she says. That’s how the 5-foot-5 Lee averages 240 metres off the tee.

Minjee on iron play: Focus on efficiency, not power 

“My approach isn’t about how far I hit each iron, but to make my contact as efficient as possible,” she says. “I want to hit the centre of the face every time. My checkpoint is my right arm. When I struggle, it’s because my arm moves too much behind me on the backswing. When it stays in front, I have a clean path to the ball.” She says another key is avoiding a big lateral shift. “My thought is to turn and pivot while staying over the ball. If I move too much off it, I lose efficiency – and I’m not big enough to get away with that!”

Min Woo on iron play: Master the punchy draw for control

“A big part of taking my game to the next level is taking control over the trajectory of my shots – and picking them on purpose,” he says. “The key shot for me in my win in Scotland was a punchy draw – a low-height, low-spin shot that stayed under the wind.” To hit it, he says he adjusts his ball position two inches behind centre – which helps produce draw spin – and he makes an abbreviated swing. “It’s a shorter swing on both sides, but you want to make sure you’re still making a full turn and keeping your chest over the ball through impact. It will start to feel like you can hit this shot wherever you want – which is not only important for dealing with wind but for pressure, too.”