About five years ago, I was teaching a young businessman in New Orleans. He was a solid athlete and had the potential to be a very good golfer, but he needed to iron out a few things. For one, his arms tended to get too close to him and “collapse” on his backswing, so we worked on keeping his arms farther away from his body going back to help increase his turn and move the club cleanly from in-to-out in the transition.
A few months later, he called me and told me he had watched a PGA Tour player in the first round of the Zurich Classic who did the same move I was describing: a young, up-and-coming Cameron Smith.
He was right! It helps that Cameron Smith, now 29, can putt like a sorcerer, but his full swing helps him drive it deep and hit a lot of greens.
Cam has a strong grip, which he matches with a flat left wrist while keeping the club as far away from his body as possible (and slightly across the line) at the top. This allows him to make a big turn and puts him in position to rotate freely through impact to hit nice draws. It’s a great model for so many players. Cam proves you don’t have to be big or super-strong (he’s but five-eleven and 170 pounds) to kill the ball, and he has a Claret Jug in his trophy case to prove it.
These are the six keys to his swing.
Cam’s posture is “old school,” with his tailbone pointed downward and his upper back more rounded than what you see on Tour. Note the relative lack of “reaching” for the ball — his arms are hanging straight down from his shoulders. Perfect.
Don’t be fooled by Cam’s slightly “toe-down” clubface position here. His left arm has rotated a good amount. More important, the clubhead is “covering” his hands. Copy this!
Cam’s clubhead is slightly across the line (pointing right on target). I love it. Way too many weekend players try to get the club slightly laid off or flat, and it doesn’t fit most swings.
Cam needs quick and steady rotation on his downswing to keep the face from closing too soon. He does it by aggressively turning both his chest and hips while working his arms and the club into an “underhand throw” position.
If you want to keep the face from closing and your hands forward at impact, this is your model. Cam’s hips are open as he increases his right-side bend. Also key: He’s “leading” his swing using the side of his right forearm.
If you can see the butt of the grip from this angle at this point in the swing, you’re throwing the club too soon. “Drag,” then throw like Cam. The result? Pow!