Swing Analysis: Kevin Stadler

By Wayne | Videos: Swing Analysis

I once played 36 holes in the U.S. Open Sectional Qualifier with Kevin and his ball striking was impressive. He is a big guy with a thick chest and waist, but his athleticism is obvious when you watch him move. He is a bit fidgety in his set-up routine, and triggers his swing with a slight forward bend on the knee toward the ball. I wouldn’t recommend this to most players, as any tendency to lift or straighten up during the swing tends to cause problems as the swing progresses, but it doesn’t seem to bother Kevin. He is tremendously wide in the backswing with his hands moving slightly away from his body looking down the line, and creating a bunch of space away from his right leg at shaft parallel in the takeaway from face on. His weight seems to stay a bit forward as most of his leg movement is out into the left knee, and his right forearm is almost horizontal to the ground at the top, reminding me of Angel Cabrera. In transition we see a great example of the “hands out” move that initiates the sidearm throwing motion (actually the legs always initiate the forward movement in the throwing motion but the hand movement is what is most noticeable) with the shaft shallowing and the clubhead kicking hard sideways. As we have seen with many other great players this flattening move takes the club well above the plane, but only for an instant as the rotation of the body and the squeezing of the left arm into the chest help to start steepening the shaft all the way to impact. Stadler’s right upper arm does not get in front of his chest as much as most players who exhibit this movement, but that seems to be entirely because of the size of his upper body. There just isn’t any room for it without the arms being way out away from the body, and you can see in the comparison with his father that Kevin’s hand pass by impact much closer to his body and closer to his original shaft plane than did his dad’s. All in all, probably a good swing to study for the more portly golfers.

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(2) comments

Steve February 22, 2014

“The legs always initiate the throwing motion in the sidearm movement”…

For me, first and foremost in making all of this work is concentration on the pivot motion. Wayne once told me in a lesson (more than once) that the correct movement in the downswing pivot component will feel wildly over the top. What makes that movement effective of course is the concomitant flattening of the shaft in transition. So as I concentrate on a more effective pivot movement “over the top” at the same time I am aware of the need for the shaft to shallow simultaneously. I can tell both by feel and by the shot itself whether this is happening and I can only trust that by commiting to this over the top feel irregardless of what might happen to the particular shot the proper out move of the hands and the initial laying off of the shaft in transition will eventually become a part of the package. Awareness and some practice in the mirror I hope will facilltate these outcomes.

Thanks for another great analysis even though I definitely am not among the portly contingent.

Clinton March 3, 2014

Stadler is stocky, Hogan was slender. But the two are similar in key areas. They both have the cupped left wrist at the top. They both shallow the heck out of it in transition, much more so than most players. They both fan the face wide open in transition. Their finish positions also look the same, hands fairly high and the look of having kept the face from releasing too much.

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