All good golf swings share this in common, says Tiger Woods’ ex-coach

Sean Foley has has long held a reputation as one of the best teachers in the game, with a client list that has included the likes of Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Lydia Ko. So when Foley talks the finer points of the swing and instruction at the game’s top level, it’s hard not to lean in and listen.

On this week’s episode of Subpar, Foley appeared alongside David Woods (with whom Foley developed the ProSENDR training aid), and one of the many golf-swing-related topics Foley and Woods discussed with Subpar hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz was the commonalities that all good golf swings share.

Spoiler alert: It starts with the right wrist and the trail arm.

“Pretty much every sport where we’re releasing an object or releasing the club, the right wrist is an extension, and then the right shoulder is elevated, and then external rotation,” Foley said. “As human beings who — we threw spears and rocks in evolution — this is very natural for us, this is a very natural feeling for us.

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“I think that’s why, that right wrist and trail arm — talking to some of the great biomechanics experts I’ve spoke to — I coined the term long time ago, that the hands and arms are the GPS for the golf swing, and that the fingers are the keyboard to the computer,” he continued. “So it’s very, very important what these things do, just these changes you’re seeing me do here is the difference between compressing a ball and hitting a lob shot.”

“There’s a lot of absolutes that every good golf swing needs to have,” Woods added. “There can be different swing styles. PGA Tour players, the moment that the shaft is last parallel to the ground pre-impact, they all look pretty similar from that point through the ball, regardless of what they look like at the top.”

Woods explained that there’s plenty of variance on Tour when it comes to the look of a swing, and it’s important not to “coach the good out of them.” But for recreational players especially, understanding the role of the hands in the swing is critical.

“I spend a lot of time trying to get my people to understand how to have a little bit of forward shaft lean and chip and pitch the ball. If someone can be a really great player from 9 to 5 position, I think from there, it’s a lot easier to become a better player. If you’ve got someone who can’t chip it, boy, I mean, they’re going to be struggling to be a good ballstriker.”

For more from Foley and Woods, including how Rory McIlroy started using the ProSENDR, check out the full episode below. Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on