golf Improvement

Henrik Stenson Swing Analysis

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Wade Baynham

Original Three Guys Golf
Single-digit handicap, who learned golf in his early 20′s from my former father-in-law, a long time PGA tour and Champions tour player. I enjoy studying the golf swing and occasionally give golf lessons.

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If you watch any golf you undoubtedly have finally noticed the quiet Swede now playing the best golf on the planet. In terms of ball-striking, he’s been at the top of the PGA tour—1st in GIR and 6th in fairways hit. After a few top 3 finishes, Henrik Stenson finally got to hoist the victory trophy at the 2013 Deutsche Bank.

While watching the Deutsche Bank, I was amazed at how little the announcers have had to say about Stenson’s swing compared to the others below him on the leaderboard. I am not sure if they simply do not understand his swing or just don’t think it is sexy enough for viewers, but I believe his key moves can help your game. Let’s take a look at a few fundamentals from Stenson’s recent run that can help all of us. To start, his swing right now reminds me a lot of Annika’s swing, who Ballard has always called “the best ever.”

First, Stenson stands very tall and does not stick out his rear end

This makes it so much easier to hit the ball dead straight with a lot less strain on your spine. It also helps keep the club moving up and down and not behind you where the club gets stuck (something the announcers demonstrated with Sergio’s trouble on Sunday). Stenson also has a wider more athletic stance than many guys on tour,—feet just outside shoulder width, right toe square and left toe flared slightly toward the target. This is a really good athletic position, very much as Hogan describes in his book.

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Second, he makes a clear weight shift back into his right leg and then forward to a full balanced finish on his left leg

You can see this in his first move where he takes the club away and he sits just a touch to move his weight towards his right heel. Then he pushes off the inside of his right foot to start the downswing. On tour, most players these days are working on a Stack and Tilt type of swing or some variation. I believe this is a reverse pivot and really damaging to your swing and body over time. Also, Stenson keeps his head up out of his chest, and follows the ball with is head; he never keeps it down or perfectly still. Finally, he finishes nice and tall with all of his weight on his left foot: balanced and facing the target.

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Third, he has soft arms and keeps both elbows pointed at the ground throughout the swing

This has always been a key point for Ballard and you will notice others like Rocco mention its importance. Next time you finish your swing take a look to see if your lead elbow is flared up. If so, try to think about keeping the top half of your arm more connected to your torso which eliminate the dreaded “chicken wing”

Henrik Stenson

So, you may just be interested in this analysis of the best ball-striker on Tour, or you may want to go out and give these ideas a try yourself. If the latter, we think you’ll be glad you did.

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8 Comments

  1. Thanks for the insights. As Stenson won the FedEx Cup, I noticed the Broadcasters did not spend ANY time analyzing this swing which was producing amazing results. What caught my eye was a towering ball flight generated from a ball position well back in the stance.

    • Wade Baynham says:

      Thanks for the comment, Michael. Stenson is quite the ball striker, isn’t he? Really glad to see all of his hard work over the past few months paying off for him. Interesting that you saw him playing the ball from back in his stance– most of the swings I studied from the last few months had him playing the ball well-forward in his stance off his left heel, but it’s good to know that he can hit those towering beautiful shots from just about anywhere!

  2. camera angle- or camera angle to lie of the ball or turf. Stenson plays it off front leading heal. PPGS is this swing. Its more vertical and I am starting to use it- this swing will save your lower back.

    • Wade Baynham says:

      Hi James, Glad you’ve had some success and less pain with PPGS. Mr. Trahan’s swing is something that I only know a bit about from a few of his videos. Much of what I saw was very similar to what Sam Byrd taught Ben Hogan in the ’40′s to help change his swing– and then we learned it from Byrd’s student, Jimmy Ballard. An upright swing that doesn’t get behind you and is square to square to square with your elbows poined at the ground, hands and wrists staying vertical are all in the Byrd/Ballard swing. It’s so much better on your body in our opinion. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  3. Wade, really enjoy your articles. I am a Ballard believer as well. I went to High School with Curtis Strange in Va. Beach, so I’ve always been a fan. He was the Ballard poster child in the 80s and with two U.S Open wins. I’ve used the Ballard swing, we used to call it rock ‘n block, since the 90s and have never had any back issues.

    You’re the first person to point out Stenson’s Ballard moves, but like you, I spotted long ago.

    Cheers

    • Wade Baynham says:

      I really appreciate the interest and the comments, Bill. Glad to know of another Ballard fan out there. Have you had a chance to see any of Steve Wozeniak’s blog? He teaches up in Seattle, and worked with Ballard and many of his touring pros for a long time. He doesn’t update his articles a lot, but I’ve really enjoyed his assessment of different swings and teaching methods– or lack thereof : ) And also glad to hear that your back has treated you well… I’d be interested in why you all called it ‘rock and block,’ if you have any time or brain space to enlighten me. At any rate, glad you saw the Stenson connection, and it will be fun to watch his year this year.

      • “Rock N Block”? A lot of Ballard’s guys, like Curtis, moved their head back on the backswing, kinda of a sway, although you keep your weight on the inside of your back foot, and then you sway forward back to the ball and past it. People who tried it usually ended up blocking the ball to the right. Rock back and block the shot.

        I use the technique but hit a draw.
        I guess the key to this swing is a real good weight shift back and forward. You don’t have to sway, but a couple of inches isn’t a bad thing.

        Try throwing a football without your weight and head moving back and forward.

        Stenson has a real strong weight shift, but doesn’t sway. Perfect!

        Cheers

        • Wade Baynham says:

          Annika used the Ballard tecnique to hit it dead straight or with a touch of draw, Rocco a draw, and Colbert a slight fade. I know Ballard gets incredibly frustrated with head movement being called a ‘sway’ because it’s weight transfer and a coil and un-coil when done correctly, and it sounds like you’ve known that for a long time! As for the block, I know it can happen if you sway forward, but when I simply step onto my left foot with a proper weight transfer, it doesn’t happen; I often practice walking through the ball like Gary Player, or Rocco does sometimes, to make sure I haven’t hung back at all.
          I also played quarterback in high school, and when we did a drill where our feet couldn’t move in throwing the ball, we still made a very pronounced weight shift from back to front let, or there was no power. And I agree with you with Stenson. The weight shift and head following the shot are great to watch… Thanks again for the follow-up.

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