Donald explains swing U-turn

Luke Donald on why he abandoned his new swing and thoughts of quitting the European Tour

Andy Roberts's picture
Thu, 21 May 2015

Donald explains swing U-turn

Back to basics and back on home turf at Wentworth, Luke Donald believes abandoning his recent attempt at swing changes will reignite his career. 

The world number 60 faces a race against time to qualify for both the US Open and Open Championship this summer.

Should the former number one slip further he will need to go through qualifying events to play at Chambers Bay and St Andrews – something he has not done at a major for nearly a decade.

Asked whether he had thought about following Paul Casey’s lead and quitting the European Tour for good, Donald, 37, said: “With my world ranking slide, I’d have to seriously consider something like that next year, if it has not got any better."

But the BMW PGA champion in 2011 and 2012 is back with long-time coach Pat Goss after an aborted attempt to rebuild his swing and is confident he will soon reappear regularly near the top of leaderboards.

So what was Donald's motivation for changing a swing that had got him to number one in 2011? 

“I decided at the end of 2013, I think the impetus was playing with Justin [Rose] a little bit in that final round at Merion [in the US Open] and just seeing how good his ball-striking was. I thought that was a part of my game that if I improved a little bit, would give me a better chance to win majors.

"I went to Chuck Cook and worked with him for 13 months or so. What he was trying to do in my swing I wasn't really accomplishing.

“The positions he [Cook] wanted me to get in, my body physically would have taken a long time to do it. Just to break down the DNA in my golfing was tough."

What exactly was Cook trying to do with Donald's swing?

“He was trying to get me a little closer to a one-plane swing where I would use my bigger muscles and hit the ball more with my turn and take the hands out of the swing.

“But in an effort to get very deep, my hips would go left and my upper body would go right and from that position, it was very hard for me to do that.

“I liked his method. I liked Chuck. Unfortunately it wasn’t right for me.”

What is he working on now, then?

"At the end of 2014 I decided to go back with Pat and we've been working on some of the stuff we worked on for the last 15 years.

"The aim wasn't to get back to where I was in 2011. There are certain parts that I did with Chuck that I’ll maintain and will stay in my swing.

“I’ll still keep the club as deep as possible and take the hands out, but as much as my body will allow. It’s a little bit of a mixture of both.

“I think I focused too much on my weaknesses. The focus now is a little bit more on my strengths. 

"There have been moments on the course where I've been very down and disappointed and frustrated, all those words.

"But there's nothing great that comes out of moping.

"I'm actually closer than probably people would have thought."