Jordan Spieth Meltdown
What we can learn from the Jordan Spieth Meltdown at the 2016 Masters? While watching, we all had a moment of, “hey, I’ve done that”. After watching one of the best player’s in the world go six shots over par in just three holes, I’m sure you were thinking how that may sound familiar. Jordan Spieth gave us a teachable moment for all golfers that struggle making consistent contact. What happened to Jordan was not a string of bad luck it was a result of committing the ultimate sin in golf; trying to control the ball with our hands. One of the most common mistakes I see with a majority of my students is trying to swing the club with the hands vs the body. The problem is when the hands take control; the center of the swing can change, our hands squeeze to hold on, the club slows down and impact is compromised.
While trying to control everything in the first swing, tension set in and that shot fell nearly 15 yards short of target. The second shot, from a shorter distance, the hands played a much bigger role and a “fat” or early release was the result. Both of these shots lefts us watching the leader of the Master’s hit consecutive balls in the water on a hole that is less than a 7-iron away. What lessons can we take from this moment? Quiet down the hands!
Our hands are loaded with fast-twitch muscles that react without prompt from the conscious brain. Much like catching a ball, swatting a fly, or covering our face, we simply react. When our brain sends a signal, our hands can do wonderful things.
In the golf swing, the body turns while the legs hold us in place which creates torque from our biggest muscles. Our hands simply hold the club so we can swing through the ball. The force generated by the legs and chest is much stronger than that of our arms and hands. It is this concept that most struggle with in the swing. The role of the hands is the most misunderstood piece of the swing puzzle. Hold on and don’t let go!
We must learn the swing is made by the body and put the hands in a position to react to the ball. As we turn our body to load the backswing, we hinge the wrist or “cock” them as if using a hammer. The right arm (for a right-handed player) stays close to the body as the lead arm extends as far as possible from the chest.
When starting the downswing the hands must stay in the “loaded” position as the chest return’s to the ball. It is here as we are passing the address position that our hands “unhinge” to release into the ball. If you can keep your hands from unhinging longer, you will gain more leverage over the ball, thus hit the ball farther than ever before. Aside from a gain in distance, with quiet hands, consistent contact will be easily repeatable.
As we watch the Jordan Spieth Meltdown and the miss on two consecutive swings, notice what the hands are doing to understand why so many struggle with consistent contact. I’m not saying you will win the Master’s if you follow these tips, but you will definitely win a few bucks off of your buddies and save a few more golf balls!