Swing like Sam Burns: 6 keys to groove it like the 3-time PGA Tour winner
I met my fellow Louisianian Sam Burns about 10 years ago when he was just 15. We played nine holes with his longtime pal and student of mine, Carter Toms. I’ve seen lots of talented junior golfers over the years, but nobody hit it as good as Sam at that age.
I also had the good fortune to work with him a little bit at Frederica GC in Georgia — I’ve never done less with a golf swing during a lesson. Just a little more unwind if the ball went left and some extra arm swing if it went right. Thankfully, all Sam and his teacher Brad Pullin have done with his motion over the last nine years is make it even better and more powerful.
Sam swings a little more upright than when he was younger, and he’s now more solid in his hip action through the ball, which is very important when you’re generating more power from your upper body. For all the talk about straightening the trail leg a bunch on the backswing and the lead leg at impact, Sam retains some flex in both directions, which allows for more work in the actual hip joint.
He’s a phenomenal ball striker, both long and accurate, and his short game is solid as well. He isn’t afraid to go low, and he is a great watch when the momentum is going his way and the birdies are dropping like flies. He’s also a genuinely nice guy, with all the talent in the world. In my opinion, he is going to do great things in his career.
Here are the six keys to his swing.
Sam’s posture is the perfect blend of medium forward tilt in his hips and lower back and slightly rounded upper torso. Many golfers bend too much from the hips and hold their head too erect. Tip: Look at the ball more straight out of your head and not so much down your face.
You can see a touch of right arm bend and wrist cock, but the shaft is still between his arms. The face has opened a bit. Lots of players have the face more shut at this point, which gets the right shoulder too high too early.
This is as good as it gets! If you drew a line from the butt end of Sam’s club to the ball, it’d run through his right shoulder. Perfect! His left wrist is flat with the face slightly closed to it, but, in my opinion, the best thing here is his wide right arm, set nearly on the same angle as his torso.
There’s lots of talk in instruction about “shallowing the shaft.” One of the best elements of Sam’s swing is the fact that he doesn’t flatten the shaft too much or too early in transition. He also maxes out his lead wrist flex at this point, with the clubface in perfect position. Key move: His torso is still a little bit closed with his hips a little open.
Sam’s torso and hips are open without having tilted too much. And though he hasn’t “snapped” his left leg straight, you can clearly see his left pants pocket, indicating ample turn. Also, notice that his left arm is above his right. Do this and you’re going to stripe it like Sam.
Sam has fully straightened his right arm and right wrist, but he did so without holding the face open. The best drivers always release their “angles” and allow the face to close in the process. Trust me: This one went straight — and very long.