Here are 2 things you can learn from the winners of the Zurich Classic

cam smith marc leishman

Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman were impressive in their Zurich Classic win, and these are the things you can learn from their performance.

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Laissez les bon temps rouler!

The good times rolled indeed for the Aussie duo of Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith last week at the Zurich Classic. They ham-and-egged it perfectly throughout the week and held off the plucky South Africans, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schartzel, to win down in the Bayou.

Here’s what you can learn from the Australian stars.

1. One-arm pitch shot

Footage of Smith messing around with some saucy one-arm pitch shots during practice surfaced on social media last week. It looked like fun to most, but to me it was a lesson and a drill that is all but guaranteed to improve your pitch shots.

While it is easy to do but hard to pull off, it is worthwhile to try as it touches a couple of important elements to a reliable golf swing — a firm lead wrist through impact and good timing between the movement of the body and the swing of the arms.

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If you want to give it a try, start with just your lead arm and make some practice swings with a focus on where you want to bottom out your swing. Usually, this is somewhere in the middle of your stance. Once you make several swings and can hit that spot, add a golf ball to the mix. 

Address the ball with a narrow stance and the ball right in the middle. As you make your swing, focus on rhythm and length of swing. The action should not be too long with an emphasis on a smooth, well-timed transition from backswing into downswing. 

Initially you might mishit (or miss the ball entirely), but don’t get discouraged. If you have an issue with good ball contact, shorten the overall swing and resist the urge to react to the golf ball. Success in this exercise happens when the ball is collected through contact instead of being hit at with a staccato and reactive motion.

Give the one-arm pitch shot a try. It WILL improve your technique.  If it works for the pros, it can work for you.

2. Drawing 5-iron

Leishman hit the coolest greenside shot on the 17th hole on Saturday afternoon. From the fairway, he clipped a low chip and run with a 5-iron to about 4 feet.

After he marked it, he came walking to the side of the green, where I was standing, with a grin on his face. I told him “good shot” and asked what club he’d used.

He responded with “A little draw 5-iron.”

It instantly reminded me of a chip-and-run nugget I got from Hall-of-Famer, Nick Price. Price, when playing links golf, would always try and put a little draw spin on the ball to ensure it ran out predictably.

Even if you do not want to use a bump shot with a straighter-faced club, you should practice hitting low, running draws from close range as they are a great way to simulate compressed, strong impact.

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Set up with a narrow stance, feet about a clubhead apart, with the ball in the middle of the stance. Ease your weight to about 60/40 favoring your front foot with your hips rotated open just a touch. As you do this, you should situate your hands a little front of the clubhead ever so slightly.

Train your eyes on the front of the golf ball (target side) and make a mini backswing with no conscious wrist hinging or weight shifting. From there, gently rotate your hips toward the target and brush the turf under the ball with the sole of your club. 

The key is to keep the handle of the club in front of the clubface as you swing toward the target line. In so doing, you will create a slight in-to-out path through contact and, coupled with the square clubface (a function of minimal wrist action), you will knock the ball off its axis into a draw bias.

Practice this and you will become handier around the greens and you will do your swing timing and path lots of favors.

Golf.com Contributor

On-course announcer and analyst Mark Immelman is passionate about the game of golf. As a decorated instructor, award-winning NCAA college golf coach, and an accomplished golfer, Mark brings a robust knowledge and vast experience to his role as a television broadcaster and golf instructor. He is currently a Golf Analyst for CBS Sports HQ, and an Analyst and On-course Announcer for CBS Sports and Golf on CBS. He currently also serves as a Studio Analyst and an On-course Announcer for PGA TOUR Live  for PGA TOUR Live.

The older brother to 2008 Masters Champion, Trevor Immelman, Mark grew up in Somerset West, South Africa. After a successful amateur career in South Africa he was offered a golf scholarship to Columbus State University (Columbus , GA). He enjoyed a prolific collegiate tenure highlighted by his four-time All-America selections, two-time Academic All-America awards, and two NCAA Div. II National Championship victories. After graduation, Mark had a short season as a playing professional, but quickly turned his attention to his true passion – golf teaching.

As a golf instructor, Mark believes in cultivating ability and talent by providing comprehensive, holistic golf instruction that is easily understandable and of the highest quality to golfers of all abilities and skill levels. His passionate approach and keen knowledge of the game have led to him being a sought-after mind by leading Professional and Amateur golfers alike. Through his career he has taught and/or consulted to PGA TOUR and European Tour professionals and tournament winners such as: Larry Mize, Loren Roberts, Trevor Immelman, Scott Brown, Patton Kizzire, Louis Oosthuizen and Will Wilcox. He has been recognized as one of “Golf Digest’s Top 20 Instructors Under 40”, Golf Digest’s “Best Teachers in the State of Georgia” and Georgia Trend Magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40 – Georgia’s Best and Brightest”.

As a NCAA College Coach at Columbus State University (since 2001) Mark continues to coach the Columbus State Men’s Golf Team and his program is a perennial contender for Conference and National Titles. He is a two-time NCAA Div. II Atlantic/Southeast Region Coach of the Year, two-time Peachbelt Conference Coach of the Year, and the 2009 NCAA Div. II National Coach of the Year.

In 2019 Mark was selected as Captain and Coach of the (Arnold) Palmer Cup International Team. His team triumphed over the United States Team in the Palmer Cup Matches held at The Alotian Club outside of Little Rock, AR.

Mark’s additional broadcast duties include being a guest analyst on the CBS Sports “First Cut Podcast”. CBS Sports also uses Mark’s unique voice for audio and promotional PGA TOUR advertisements and promotional reads.

He has also served a 6-year tenure as a Play-by-Play Announcer for Sirius/XM PGA TOUR Radio.

Additionally, Mark hosts “On the Mark”, a PGA TOUR Podcast, which to date has been downloaded more than 3 million times in more than 125 countries.

He has also written golf instructional columns and articles for Golf Digest SA, Golf Digest USA and is currently penning instructional pieces for Golf Magazine. As an author, Mark has published two e-Books on golf instruction: “Scandalously SImple – The Easy Way to Accurate Golf Shots” and “Golf is a Game of Recovery”.

You can learn more about at MarkImmelman.com