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Swing Analysis: Inbee Park

This swing is really a tale of two halves when it comes to what I prefer in a golf swing, the first half (backswing) being nothing like I would teach, while the second half (transition and forward swing) has a ton of what I like. Of course, she is winning practically every tournament she plays in, so my observations are not a criticism but rather an analysis based on what I usually consider technique items that I would teach pretty much any player.
 
I am a big fan of Tour Tempo, John Novosel’s book based around a remarkably simple concept (counting the amount of time it takes to move the club from resting to impact [tempo] and comparing the time it takes to reach the top with the time it takes to start down and reach impact [rhythm]). Novosel found that most excellent players use a 3:1 rhythm and a tempo that has the swing taking just under to just over one second to complete. His main contribution to the body of conventional golf swing knowledge is that most amateurs and lesser players are too slow overall, and especially in the backswing. Park’s backswing, as are quite a few of the women on the LPGA Tour, is extremely slow, and involves a significant amount of lifting, another technique item I regard as almost fundamentally unsound, as it deprives the golfer of the use of the ground to begin the lower body thrust necessary to start the forward swing correctly. She pretty much just stands up, lifts the club vertically in front of her, and does so in slow motion. After that she is brilliant, moving the hands out to the ball, flattening the shaft, keeping her hips deep and exiting the club left through impact. The only face- on view I could find reveals a lateral movement that is less than most great ball strikers, but is also fairly common among women (see Michelle Wie) and a left leg that straightens somewhat prematurely.
 
Park averages 237 yards off the tee, and the fact that she can dominate the Tour hitting it that short tells you that she is a straight hitter who is accurate with the rest of her clubs, has a good short game, and is on a streak where she is making everything. It also tells you that the way the courses are set up for the women allow for this type of game to win. If you don’t have to hit it anywhere and you have the size and strength to bunt it out there and still win then why not? I really thought that Yani Tseng was the savior of women’s golf (or at least followed in the tradition of Annika and Lorena) as she hit the ball with compression and aggressiveness, but she has, for some reason or another, fallen on hard times, and now the popcorn hitters are winning all the events.
 

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4 Responses to Swing Analysis: Inbee Park

  1. John Neeson July 22, 2013 at 7:35 am #

    I guess it could be construed as boring to watch someone pat it around. But give me a choice of being able to bust a driver 320 or patting it around a 6,600 yd course in 66, I know which one I’d prefer.
    I think these women, (especially the little ones), are amazing and probably a better role model for most (male) club golfers. They should be studied just to see how they construct a score rather than how short they are from the tee. They are living proof that you can play great golf without flogging it (or trying to), from every tee.
    And the courses aren’t always tiny. A few years ago I played at Royal Pines in Queensland, just days after the Aussie Women’s Masters. The still had the tee signage up and all bar one, were on the mens medal tees. One was further back, so they were playing around 6,750 yds…oh and Karrie Webb shot 26 under(!).
    There’s no doubt the hybrids have helped women more than men, since a lot of women can’t hit long irons. On the other hand, men are still thinking – smash it with every club in the bag.
    So I’d be happy to give up 30 yds if it meant improving my stroke average to 69. My ego might not like it, but my trophy cabinet would.

  2. Yeon-Ouk Jung July 22, 2013 at 8:17 am #

    Good swing analysis on In-Bee, Wayne! I’m a teaching pro in Korea. You probably don’t know me, but I have enjoyed and learned a lot from watching your web site. I work with a teaching pro whose younger brother, Gee-Hyub Nam, is going to get marry with In-Bee this year. Gee-Hyub met In-Bee about 2 years ago as her swing coach. The first thing he asked In-Bee is to swing into more rounded and exsit to left. At that time she had problem to hit push or push draw. Gee-Hyub did not tried to change much about her back swing…..just like you said in your analysis. Good teacher Wayne, and I wish that I could go to US and get some lesson from you….

  3. John Neeson July 22, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

    Clint – good call.

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