There is so much to like about Jordan Spieth. He's immensely talented, conducts himself with class on and off the course, and seems to be very grounded. He's a great role model for kids.
However, one of the things I like most is the fact that he has only ever had one coach. He has worked with Cameron McCormick, an Australian instructor based in Spieth’s native Texas, since he was 12 and has resisted the temptation that a lot of young players fall into, which is to turn pro and immediately change everything.
They think the grass is greener and, often than not, it isn’t. Spieth hasn’t done any of that. He’s built a relationship with McCormick and, together, they’ve built a swing capable of winning $22m in a single season and coming within a handful of shots of completing the Grand Slam.
That swing isn’t the most orthodox by any means. I heard McCormick himself once describe it as ‘a classic example of function before form’. He’s basically saying it isn’t as easy on the eye as, say, Louis Oosthuizen’s swing or Retief Goosen’s swing, but so what? It works.
Let’s look at what we’ve got in these pictures. The first thing you’ll see (second left, above) is that his head tilts quite considerably to the right at address. His right ear is a lot lower than his left ear and it seems as though he’d be looking at the back of the ball.
His grip is also a little unusual in that his hands are quite split. Textbook form? No - but it’s irrelevant because he takes the club away nice and wide, turns his right side perfectly and has the club on-plane with a neutral clubface at the top of the backswing (right, above).
It doesn’t matter how you get there as long as it’s right when you do. Like all top players, he then initiates his downswing from the ground up (second left, below), driving his lower body and shifting his weight effectively from right to left. His hips square up as they should and he uncoils his top half, delivering the club strongly into the ball (second right, below).
Now, look at his post-impact position (right, above). His left arm is quite bent and his head has turned quite a bit to left. If the average club golfer did that, they’d likely end up hooking or topping the ball. Spieth, though, manages to avoid all that because of his excellent tempo. He manages to keep rotating everything in perfect time before finishing up nice and balanced (right, below).
No question, it’s a swing with a few idiosyncrasies but he can afford them because he has mastered three crucial fundamentals: tempo, balance and sequencing. Everything moves at the speed it should, in the condition and in the order it should. If you can incorporate that trio of attributes into your own swing, you’ll see immediate improvements in your ball-striking and, in all likelihood, your scores.
Kevin Craggs coaches a number of top amateurs and pros, including Chris Doak. For lessons, call 08451 30 34 33. Follow him on Twitter @kevincraggsgolf.