Swing sequence: Tiger Woods 2013

To celebrate Tiger's 38th birthday, former European Tour pro and swing coach Carl Watts takes a closer look at the World No.1's swing...

Swing sequence: Tiger Woods 2013

TIGER WOODS is by far the greatest golf athlete to play the game.

From his attention to detail in all areas of the game and his mental strength to course management and understanding how to adapt his set up and technique to play shots from downhill or sidehill lies, he covers all the bases.

Yet even Tiger struggles. His problems with hitting wayward drives on tight courses in pressure situations are well documented. But what causes this to happen?

From a 1 plane or 2 plane understanding, Tiger has a pure 1 plane swing with his irons yet not with the driver.

He works with Sean Foley on his swing and Foley is a huge advocate of using Trackman and the detailed information and numbers it creates each time Tiger or any of his players hits a shot.

One of the key moves they work on is optimising the driver through impact by making sure Tiger hits up on the shot with an in-to-out motion whilst the face closes which maximises distance.

Yet when you have the club working in to out on such a shallow angle of attack, it requires far more reliance on timing due to the club face rotating closed to counter the in to out swing path.

If the face doesn't close then Tiger blocks it, if he times it well it's a huge booming draw, and if he over rotates the face the snap hooks appear.

Now I'm not saying this is wrong, clearly it isn't as he's World No.1, but it simply requires more timing.

Tiger needs to be in a strong and peaceful place mentally otherwise if the emotions kick in his timing will go, hence why Tiger works on stepping into a strong, well-worked pre-shot and post-shot routine - one of his very specific areas he works on to be as good as he is!  

Trackman is a wonderful tool to use (I use Flightscope at Mannings Heath GC) but just be careful you don't try to gain too much of an in-to-out swing like Tiger with a driver as it will effect the irons & fairway woods which rely on a steeper angle of attack.

Tiger is such a good iron and fairway wood player, it's incredible to watch him in action, yet, like all of us, he has his flaws.

But if you understand your flaws, you have the opportunity to turn that knowledge into a clear strength.

For instance, keeping to a clear game plan for the course built around holes that suit your eye and your technique, and becoming aware of your emotions as the pressure builds when you're playing well. So, if Tiger gets slightly blocky or hooky, he leaves the driver in the bag - that takes real mental strength when all you want to do is attack a pin or gain as many yards as possible!

So would I try to change Tiger if I coached him? No. Would I make sure he is keeping a good balance on all areas that makes him such a good player? Absolutely.

Let's take a closer look at his swing...

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