4 steps to copy rising star Patrick Cantlay’s powerful driver swing

December 21, 2019

Patrick Cantlay is two golfers in one. His swing is definitely what you’d call “modern”—he works to keep the club in front of him while turning his upper body and loading up his lower to generate power (and generate it repetitively), then leverages the ground to unwind and puts that power to good use (to the tune of a 305-yard average off the tee).

But he’s simultaneously old-school in that he prefers to shape the ball with every club in the bag, maintaining a beautiful rhythm the whole way (what he and I refer to as “pace and grace” and hitting “shots to spots”). The result? Top-of-class consistency and ball-striking prowess, impressive considering the amount of time Patrick has missed due to injury following his successful high school (California high school state champion), collegiate (2011 Haskins Award) and Web.com careers.

From a teaching perspective, watch the way Patrick “leaves the club alone” as he pivots back and through when you see him on TV. It’s a great way to keep the club on plane and stabilize the face so you can hit the ball straighter or, in Patrick’s case, work it in any direction on command.

His win at the Memorial back in May coupled with nine top 10s in his first 20 events this season has positioned Patrick at No. 7 in the OWGR. Expect him to stay in that rarefied air. He’s smart and knows how to move the ball from point A to point B. The sky’s the limit.

Jesse Reiter

1. Backswing

We call this magic spot the “move-away.” Patrick gets the club to the 9 o’clock position with great width while keeping the clubface square to his swing plane. Everything else is quiet—the clubhead is simply responding to his pivot.

2. Top Position

You can see the width that Patrick has created on the way back. What’s not obvious is that the club is still in front of his upper body. This is key. And look at that left foot plant—he’s wound up over his left side and ready to go.

3. Downswing

Patrick starts his downswing by unwinding his lower body while holding back any movement by his upper. As a result, the club drops in the “slot.” His arms and hands are tension-free, which helps keep the clubface square. From here, Patrick can produce any curve or trajectory he likes.

4. Follow-through

Patrick does a great job of allowing everything to unwind comfortably and naturally into a graceful finish. Look at how relaxed everything is—and this one went 300 plus! As good as it gets.

The Line on Cantlay (through the 2019 BMW CHampionship)

DRIVING DISTANCE – 305 yds (22nd)

SG: OFF-THE-TEE – 0.556 (13th)

BIRDIE AVERAGE – 4.51 (2nd)

CLUBHEAD SPEED – 116.3 mph (60th)

SCORING AVERAGE – 69.14 (1st)


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