Suzann Pettersen – Solheim Cup Star – uses The Minimalist Golf Swing (eventually)

 As Suzann Pettersen plays a practice round in preparation for the 2013 Solheim Cup, it is obvious from her swing that it is not co-incidence that she is the highest ranked European player – her swing is a completely Minimalist Golf Swing (MGS)move – two frames down from the top!

From the top of her backswing, her first move down is a drop of her right side. Ha! The MGS would have had her there at the top itself, thus avoiding a lot of excess action (hence Minimalist) and re-routing that she does for two video frames from the top.

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Basically, the top of the Minimalist Golf Swing (MGS) is a position in which all the body’s joints are positioned so they can start the downswing WITHOUT A CHANGE OF DIRECTION! That is what makes the MGS less timing-dependent.

With her current top-of-backswing position she has to start her downswing by dropping her right side to a position lower than the left, and while it may look simple, it involves a lot of inconsistency as the spine – vertebra by vertebra – must re-position itself correctly every time (even when the golfer is under ‘pressure’ and might rush or slow-down the downswing!).

And at the end of two frames down from the top of her backswing? She is in perfect position to let gravity drop her arms down, as her lower body unwinds before her upper body. Ironically, the very same position a talented Legends’ Tour player, 25 years her senior is getting into at her actual top of backswing – why do the extra stuff!

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Halfway down, forget about swing-plane and all that junk. It’s about the position of the right shoulder (which is attached to the right elbow) being well behind the left one. That’s the only important sign that the club will arrive at the ball from inside enough. When the right shoulder is not sufficiently behind the left (see picture on extreme right), the right elbow (the final opportunity to make good impact) must un-bend in a plane (frontal) that it is not designed to, resulting in less-than-efficient ball-striking and eventually injury too.

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Look at the un-intentional and intentional MGS swingers. GREAT half-way down positions. The only difference? Suzann has a lot of wrist lag – intentional as the world of golf insists it matters. How much power can an abducted wrist (cocked) give when it straightens by a couple of inches? Not much. Why then lag excessively, only to risk a too-early or too-late release as the right elbow straightens out? Why risk injury too? With the MGSS, as there is no intentional backswing lag, the wrists lag as the right elbow ‘drops into its slot’ giving perfectly timed release – which should really refer only to right arm pronation – for power-delivery plus less scope for injury.

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Congratulations, MGS user, your swing is brilliant – anatomically efficient and thus powerful!

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5 replies on “Suzann Pettersen (Solheim Cup) – uses The Minimalist Golf Swing”

  1. Kiran, I thought that the left shoulder was supposed to remain higher than the right all the way thru the swing. Perhaps this is nitpicking (especially given Suzann’s standing)… Ha ! This may be due to the big turn. In MGS I thought that one never got to the point of looking directly over the left shoulder, and the arms never lifted higher the shoulder. Anyway, I see more things MGS here than not, and would appreciate your thoughts on my observation.

    1. The right shoulder is supposed to stay lower than the left, an easier way of thinking of/feeling it.

      So, when I say two video frames after the top of her downswing she is in MGSS position, I mean that from that point on, all her joints are lined up to swing according to any good swing – lower body before upper-body. At the top of HER swing, she has to re-position many joint to get into her ‘MGS’ position, which is always an unreliable thing to have to do, simply because it requires very good timing, something we cannot always have.

      Once she has completed her re-route, by sheer serendipity, not an understanding of how/why her downswing begins to become good,she’s all set for a great impact.

  2. Thanks Kiran for isolating and explaining the right shoulder’s necessary position for efficient contact. Using your insights have helped me fill in many gaps in my own knowledge. Despite herniating 3 cervical discs and tearing right shoulder muscles in a work accident last September, I shot an 82 on a par 71 yesterday making 2 birdies out of 5 chances within 15 feet. It was my first time on that course in 3 years. If I could put I’d be dangerous, lol!

    I have had no surgery just Chiropractic and PT.

    My focus is in keeping my right side lower and dropping that elbow or “rolling -it under” as it feels to me while the rest of my body is quiet-I think of my right shoulder as a wheel with my elbow as the hub.

    It is very encouraging to be able to aim at the middle of greens from 200 yards out and hit my hybrids and keep them on the green. My highlight yesterday was pitching a 95 yard sand wedge to 3 feet of a pin to see it roll in.

    My only difficulty is when I fail to keep tall and relaxed with my trailing side lower and down. Since grasping your insights my reg 4 some has commented on how much better I am playing and how much poorer they are. : >

    1. Ouch, sorry for all the pain of the accident.

      Regarding your ‘difficulties’. It is very important to stand tall because the muscles which rotate the spine and hips can rotate the body much more efficiently when the spine is more upright; and thus the pre-swing rotation of the MGSS is also more efficient when more upright.

      Are you keeping your head tilted to match the right-side lateral flexion of the spine address and until impact?

      Happy golfing.

  3. Sorry for the mistakes “putt” not “put” “foursome” not “4-some.” I was excited. Shoulld’ve mentioned the great improvement in the sound of contact off my driver, 3 wood, hybrids-very distinctive “crack!” though two different manufacturers (Titleist D-3 and f series 3 wood, Taylor-Made hybrids).

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