Alexa Pano's Outstanding Golf Swing

Jan 17, 2020
 
What an awesome swing!
 
15 year old Alexa Pano's swing vividly illustrates some of the traits of golf's greatest swings. Let's break it down:


At the top of her backswing, Alexa has made a very full turn of the shoulders, beyond 90 degrees. The shaft has been allowed to go past parallel and "cross the line," pointing to the right of the target, violating two of the "rules" imposed by "well-intentioned but wrong" modern instruction. Her flexibility allows her to do this without full internal rotation of the right hip, which I would prefer to see, because I see her moving her head and body towards the ball during the backswing, which I believe that type of restriction promotes.
 
Above you can see undesired body and head movement towards the ball that might lead to inconsistent balance and "crowding" in the downswing. Perhaps something to think about addressing.

As a result of her limited hip turn, the left heel stays planted, an almost inevitable concession to modern swing fashion. Sadly, there are going to be only so many Matt Wolff's willing to let the left heel come up until this tomfoolery is more widely discouraged. But, in Alexa's swing, that is just a nit. Greatness abounds as she transitions into the downswing.
 
From the top of the backswing, Alexa flexes her knees and hips during transition, lowering her head dramatically (violating another "rule"), and pulls her right arm down and the shaft towards her to create lag and reduce her moment of inertia. She ends this second major phase of the swing in a great looking "athletic stance," in a position to extend the knees and hips powerfully in the second half of the downswing.
 
To escape the dark ages, instruction must discard describing the swing as just two parts: the "backswing" and "downswing," and include the vital phase of "transition" between those two in every full swing discussion. Teaching an effective transition is for the most part non-existent in mainstream golf instruction. Many "modern" instructors have simply eliminated that pesky phase by having students adopt an athletic stance at address and maintain it, severely restricting the backswing as a result. Speed-constrained Billy Horschel is an excellent example: 
 
Billy's "transition free" swing.
 
In contrast, excellent transitions following unconstrained backswings are visible in swings created by effective teachers like George Gankas and Lucas Wald.


 One of George's students recently posted on Instagram: his extended hips and right knee flex during transition into a picture perfect "athletic stance."

In the second half of the downswing until impact, Alexa exemplifies what Jim Hardy calls the "RIT" release, where the club shaft performs effectively as an extension of the right forearm. She is in great company with Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Gary Player, Jim Furyk and Rory McIlroy, and emerging stars Matt Wolff and Viktor Hovland. This release method, which is similar to a tennis forehand (but  without topspin), aligns the club face to the path much sooner than the other extreme: swinging into impact with the shaft acting as an extension of the left arm (which is similar to a one-handed backhand in tennis). As a consequence, this release style makes it easier for the player to manage the club face's rate of closure: there is much less twisting of the shaft needed near impact to square the face.
 
 Alexa's club shaft functions as an extension of the right forearm during the impact phase.
 
BTW, ever wonder what Hogan was talking about when he said he wished he had three right hands? Post-secret, he realized that the more he swung with the club as an extension of the right forearm, the more power he could apply and not have to worry about control: the ball would just go farther and straighter. That's what he wrote in Five Lessons, on page 108.

 
Also, it's worth noting that Alexa extends her left leg so powerfully that the force lifts her left side almost entirely off the ground.
 

No holding back to create another "well-intentioned but wrong" instruction ideal: "quiet feet."

Thank you
Jim Hardy for posting this great swing on Instagram. Hopefully nobody mucks it up!
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