Swing Analysis: Michelle Wie

By Wayne | Videos: Swing Analysis

After wowing the golf world with her play up to the age of 16 Michelle Wie has amazed just about everyone with her mediocre play in the 8 following years. She is only 24 and still has her career in front of her, but those waiting for her to break out and become the star that she seemed easily destined for have been continually disappointed by her inability not only to win but even to contend. Certainly some of the blame has to be laid on her parents and advisors, especially the decision to have her compete against the men before beating the women regularly. Had she been left alone I have no doubt she would have dominated women’s golf, as her skills and power were far beyond what all but the greatest women players have ever showcased. Against the men it was another story, and I can imagine that her instructors were instructed to try to mold her game to compete on the PGA Tour, an idea that was quickly exposed as pure fantasy. She never experienced the joy of winning and beating her peers, and before she could recover from the ill -advised attempt to beat the men she fell victim to injury both physical and mental.
In this video we see both the power and grace of her swing, but also the technical issues that can plague a swing that creates such high clubhead speed. She was never a great putter, and when her swing flaws went unfixed she simply could not shoot the scores necessary to win on the LPGA Tour. No one would ever have guessed that she would have but two wins in the eight years since she turned pro, and her play this year indicates that she is no closer to regaining the form that once had her spoken of in the same breath as Tiger Woods.

Leave a Comment:

(6) comments

asher ingber May 26, 2013

Terrible leg and foot action…back foot doesn’t bank correctly in the downswing which leads to front leg straightening and not enough lateral movement and a flippy release…

Clinton May 26, 2013

After watching almost every video on this site, I have become a big fan of the transition move that takes the hands (and thus the butt of the club) toward the ball, as opposed to more vertically downward in transition. I think I’ve heard Wayne refer to this as an anti-struck move, ie the sooner into the downswing you get the right elbow in front of the chest, the less chance there is of leaving the elbow behind your right hip. This works nicely with the idea of the side armish motion needed to facilitate forward shaft lean at impact. It would also stand to reason that under pressure, some movements in the golf swing become more exaggerated. Which movements depends on the player. So I would expect that under pressure, a lot of players who vertically move the butt of the club in transition (like WIE obviously does) do so in exaggerated fashion, and thus get stuck. Contrast this with players who move the butt end toward the ball in transition These players under pressure might excessively move the butt of the club toward the ball (or out over the ball), which I’m guessing would excessively shallow the club as a result, as the more the right elbow moves toward the ball, the more the shaft should kick back as a direct result of this elbow movement. So, what’s a more recoverable position to be in early in the downswing: a) stuck hands with a steep shaft, or b) hands too much out in front with an overly shallow shaft? I think a) produces blocks and hooks, and that b) produces pulls and cuts. If this assumption is true, then b) is more playable. Pros don’t like to hit hooks, not even one, but they can handle some pulls and cuts.

Harmon confronts the stuck issue by encouraging an outside takeaway (I guess that’s why he prefers that takeaway). At least he’s confronting the stuck issuei, even though an outside takeaway would seem to encourage a vertical drop to offset this very type of takeaway (just ask rory mcilroy this season). So, after all my rambling, I’m wondering about the other world class instructors, like Ledbetter, and why they would see the vertically downward movement of the butt end of the club as preferable?

John Neeson May 27, 2013

Yeah, looks kind of stiff and wooden and has the look of someone who perhaps has been over-coached.

Jake May 27, 2013

Really poor footwork!

Clinton May 28, 2013

Compare Wie’s swing with that of Nancy Lopez. If someone said that one of these swings would win 20 LPGA tournaments before the age of 24, and the other swing would win only 2 tournaments before the age of 24, you’d surely think Wie’s would be the more productive of the two. Wie obviously has tons of talent, but so far she hasn’t shown the talent that many of the all-time greats have had, which is the talent to overcome the “limitations” of an idiosyncratic move to become great (Lopez, Trevino, Nicklaus, Freddie, Byron Nelson, Jones, Hale Irwin, Furyk, Moe Norman at least in Canada, and on and on and on). And the irony is that Wie’s move isn’t idiosyncratic. It’s a swing that looks great at regular speed and it’s limitations (at least to my untrained eye) are only visible with slow-mo video.

Clinton June 2, 2013

Speaking of Venturi, because of his recent passing, the golf channel just replayed his interview on Feherty. On that episode, they showed several of his swings from yesteryear. I never realeaized how good a swing he had until now. As john mentioned, it was a bit loopy and he got those hands moving toward the ball starting down, but this helped him get a hard core left exit after impact, and probably work the ball either way at will, similar to hogan.

Add Your Reply

Leave a Comment: