Yawn if you must, but the reason Jason Day can execute any shot he wants under the most pressure-packed situations starts with one word: fundamentals. “It doesn’t sound exciting or sexy, but we concentrate more on fundamentals than the majority of players do,” says Col Swatton, who has coached Day for the past 17 years and is his caddie.
Knowing that he’s “neutral” with everything from head position to grip to weight distribution allows Day to make confident, free-wheeling swings, Swatton says. And though you might not have Day’s athletic ability or nearly enough time to hone a swing like his, there’s no reason you can’t swing from a fundamentally sound address position, Swatton says.
“I just don’t see enough golfers using alignment rods, checking ball position, making sure their grip is right, weight balanced, they’re standing the correct distance from the ball,” he says. “Ignore those things, and you’ll develop poor swing tendencies. Pay attention to those things, and you’ll have the foundation to make a good swing. Tedious or not, it’s that important.”
Day can hit any shot he wants, says his swing coach, Col Swatton, but a high-flying iron that sticks on the green is what he’s known for. “His ball position is a little more forward” than many pros would have for the 6-iron he’s holding. And his spine is tilting back a fraction. “You will definitely hit it higher with this setup.”
“We work on a symmetrical relationship between the left arm and right arm going back,” Swatton says. The goal is to turn the upper body away from the target while keeping the club in front of the sternum. “He just keeps turning the arms and body together. It has a look of a pyramid flipped upside down.”
As he reaches the top of his swing, Day is posted on the right leg. “He coils up on that leg’s quad, the thigh muscle, like a big spring,” Swatton says. The thing to copy is keeping the centre of the right knee over the inside of the right foot as you complete the backswing, Swatton says. Then you’re ready to fire off that spring.
The Driving Force
“Imagine tieing a string onto the butt end of the club and his left knee. It’s as if that knee, and his left hip and leg as a whole, pull the club down by driving forward and unwinding. He’s not swinging forcibly down with his arms,” Swatton says. “And his head rotation is a product of going along with that driving action.”
Deliver The Goods
This is the point in the swing to focus on arm movements. “The left arm and right arm are very straight; he’s delivered the same club loft he started with at address,” Swatton says. “You also can see how square the clubface was at impact, indicated by the back of the left hand still facing the target just after he hit the ball.”
As Day follows through, note how his arms are still in front of his body. You can still see his left biceps, Swatton says. “I really like how the butt end of the club is pointing back at his sternum. There’s been no flipping. No wristy action. It’s a full release of the club timed perfectly with his body rotation. No doubt he liked this shot.”
29 / 183cm / 88kg / Beaudesert, Queensland