Rory McIlroy’s new coach says 90% of golfers should do this balance drill

Pete Cowen has taught some of the best ball-strikers in the game today.

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On Monday evening, The Telegraph’s James Corrigan reported that Rory McIlroy is making a new addition to his backroom team: Pete Cowen, the legendary coach who has worked with hoards of elite players including Henrik Stenson and Brooks Koepka, among others.

Cowen and McIlroy have long had a relationship — and it hasn’t been hard to spot Rory working on techniques straight out of the Cowen playbook — but with his longtime coach Michael Bannon restricted to the UK because of the coronavirus, McIlroy is adding Cowen as another official set of eyes.

Cowen’s teaching philosophy can’t be summarized in a throwaway sentence, but one thing he emphasizes often is the importance of “swinging in balance.” Cowen often compares the backswing to a spiral staircase, an analogy he uses to explain how to create power while maintaining balance. As he once told Today’s Golfer: “You need to use your lower body and feel like you’re turning a screw with your feet so you can wind up into the backswing.”

Which brings us to another tip Cowen shared in that same interview: “If you watch someone who hits it down the middle all the time, they swing within themselves, finish perfectly in balance and can hold that position for 20 seconds. Most golfers can’t do that because their mechanics aren’t good enough.”

We’re written about this before, but Cowen went on to say that “90 percent” of golfers would probably be better off swinging with their feet together. It wouldn’t cost them much power, but he says it’ll do wonders for their technique.

Why? Because hitting balls with your feet together eliminates all possibility of sliding. If you slide, you’ll fall over. Swinging with your feet together promotes a more subtle, rotational weight transfer, and is sure to improve your contact consistency, too.


Luke Kerr-Dineen Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and In his role he oversees the brand’s game improvement content spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University. His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.