Graham Delaet is not particularly young at age 30, but he is relatively new as a player on the world stage, recently having his best finish (T-2 at the Barclay’s) and qualifying (and playing quite well in the event) for the international President’s Cup team. While it is true that he hasn’t won an event yet (he has 3 wins on the Canadian Tour and one in South Africa) his ball striking statistics are exemplary, and that makes his swing compelling enough to take a closer look.
We see a number of interesting things in Delaet’s set up and swing. His address position is a bit toward the O’Grady model (lots of knee flex and hands quite low), but his balance is a bit more in the middle of his feet than some who tend to be more out over the ball. He is terrifically strong physically and stays within his original posture during the swing with only a slight bit of lowering, but he manages to keep his hips quite deep and is well within the down the line box past impact. Another interesting item in his swing is the lack of rightward lateral movement in the backswing, once again evidence of his physical prowess, as it is not easy to stay over the ball like he does and still make such a great upper body coil with relatively little hip turn. His swing pattern is one that we are seeing more and more these days in a return to some of the great players in history, with the hands and arms tracking inward in the backswing, then moving back out toward the ball in transition and extremely left through impact (see Hogan and Venturi). He is quite a bit less wristy at the top (his wrists almost look frozen) and his right arm travels more upward and behind him than you might expect, but even though the right upper arm and elbow don’t appear to be hooked in front of his chest as much as Hogan or others he is strong enough to have the arm travel with the pivot movement and straighten well after impact, and his exit is as low and far left as you will see in any Tour player. The fact that this swing is producing ball striking numbers that any great player would envy is more evidence that some techniques work better than others, namely the deeper backswing, the “out” move in transition, and the left release and exit. As he improves his short game and putting and gets himself in the hunt more often I would fully expect him to be a winner in a big event quite soon.