Given Lydia Ko’s recent decision to change coaches and leave David Leadbetter, I thought she would be perfect for the first one in my series of golf swing analyses of professional players.
The main thing I see, and potentially the reason behind the change in coaching, is a fairly dramatic change in her driving stats in 2016 compared to 2015. Her driving accuracy and driving distance both got worse during 2016. And although the swing of Lydia’s that I posted on my Instagram page looks really good, she has a lot of really great moves, there is one thing that stands out to me that I believe is the reason for her decline in the driving stats.
Lydia’s right shoulder through the hitting area slows down quite a lot, during the most important part of the swing there is a quitting move that she relies on for timing, not ideal. I am not saying that the right shoulder can not slow down at all, I just believe hers to be doing to much of it.
In saying that Lydia still has one of the finest impact positions in the world, and her ability to keep her head so still throughout her golf swing I believe to be a great asset, both things that lead to great consistency in her performance. That and she is the best putter on the LPGA tour.
As Lydia’s time with David Leadbetter went on, we saw her get better at and farther down the path of the A swing. Well, at least it looked like she was getting better at what are signature moves of the A swing. She is making the club more vertical in her backswing, leading to her having to shallow the club in the downswing, and all creating more momentum and allowing her to load the club more in transition. One would think that she should be hitting the ball farther, not shorter.
But with greater power comes greater responsibility. And it looked to me to be a lacking in attention to detail, as when you start loading the club more there are certain areas you must respect in order to reap the rewards of this potential power (and accuracy) move.
Paying attention to the set up angles you release the club on becomes very important, so as you are not inclined to release your new found leverage to early, which Lydia appears to be doing. This will make timing more difficult, potentially slow down the body rotation and cause you to displace your new found speed. All in all, creating inaccurate drives, and miss hits that go shorter!
My prescription, get Lydia working mainly on her driver and her wedges, everything else in between will figure itself out from there. She needs to be a little bit more behind her driver with the upper half and avoid shifting off the ball. This combined with a greater understanding of what a great release looks like (Adam Scott, Dustin Johnson, Ben Hogan & Lee Trevino). You will see an improved release when her head stops staying down for so long as the right shoulder is dragging it around more. And then, hopefully she will not rely on her brilliant rhythm so much and can hit it harder without worrying about accuracy so much. Her wedge play is great, best keep working at it, that way so she doesn’t spend to much time hitting her driver!
So I really hope that whoever takes over as Lydia Ko’s swing instructor, sees her swing the way I do and many others would, and that is being very close to being very good.