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Swing Analysis: Bruce Lietzke

Lietzke was renowned for his ability to fade the ball in any and every circumstance, and he made quite a nice career out of it, winning 13 times on the PGA Tour over a 17 year span, and another 7 victories on the Senior Tour, including the U.S. Senior Open in 2003. He wasn’t one to grind too much, and played in far less tournaments per year than his compatriots, never playing in more than 25 in a single year. One famous story has it that after his last tournament of one year his caddy put a banana under the head cover of his driver, and when the first tournament of the next year came around some 4 months later the banana, in all its ripeness, was still there when Bruce pulled it out for his first practice round.
The swings you see here have some of the best lower body action you will see anywhere. Bruce pulled the club back well inside (a technique favored by quite a few of his generation) and moved his arms and the club back out in front of him with a classic “out” move of the hands. You can see the exaggerated right arm “extensor” action as the hands appear to move well away from his head in transition, stretching and straightening the left arm while producing a sharply cocked wrist position. He drives his legs pronouncedly forward and left in great sequence, which allows him to approach impact from only slightly outside –in and produces a gentle right to left shot. He once stated that he had no particular swing thoughts, due mostly to the fact that his swing remained unchanged from high school all the way through his career. I watched a “playing with the pros” episode one evening on the Golf Channel, and when asked what he thought about while hitting a shot Lietzke commented that he had an “out of body experience” where he would hover above himself and watch the shot being hit. I thought that was just about the coolest thing I had ever heard a golfer say, although I couldn’t begin to tell you how you might go about doing it.


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