The key to Sam Burns' exceptional ball striking

Sam Burns Swing Analysis Cover 2

When it comes to ball striking, Sam Burns has no weaknesses.

The 24-year-old from Louisiana picked up his maiden victory at last week's Valspar Championship, after finishing 5th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green. 

Since his first full season on the PGA Tour back in 2019, Burns has climbed 106 places in the GIR rankings from 149th to 43rd. The sizeable increase in accuracy is a sign that he is slowly finding his feet on the big stage. 

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Last week, Burns also finished third in Strokes Gained: Putting, helping him to seal the deal on Sunday. 

I think one of the keys to his accuracy is a pre-swing prompt. 

Burns has a simple trigger to start his swing. As seen in the screenshot below, he increases the flex in his knees and takes the club away by setting his wrists early. This is the opposite to a one piece takeaway, where the arms and hands move away as one unit. 

Sam Burns Clubface And Hand

His left wrist and clubface angle marry up perfectly. This illustrates that the clubface is still square as he begins to turn to the top of his swing. 

Contrary to popular belief, a square clubface is pretty rare these days. Most modern tour players close the face in the backswing as it's considered more stable (picture Dustin Johnson with his bowed left wrist).

The clubhead and shaft is dissecting the right forearm, allowing him to get the club in position at the top. The benefits of this will become clear shortly.

Sam Burns Sets Club

Burns further increases the flex in his knees, whilst also increasing the bend in his hips. Although this is more than most coaches would recommend, it gives him lots of stability and balance. This might be worth trying if you struggle to finish your swing without losing your balance. 

Sam Burns Swing Analysis Cover

Just before impact we see the early set paying off. He has the club in a similar position to his takeaway, below, with the shaft dissecting the right forearm again. 

Sam Burns Impact

The right elbow is tucked in close, below, to his hip and he rotates his upper body.  

Sam Burns Hip And Right Elbow

The defining move in Burns' swing is the early set. The club is slotted in place, which gives him a position to emulate just before he hits the ball. 

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If he continues refining that move, he could become one of the best ball strikers on the PGA Tour. 

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