Your Swing Versus: A 9 Handicap vs Rory McIlroy


We all know we don't quite swing it like our heroes on tour. But what are the fundamental differences between an elite action and, well, ours? And what can we do about it?

This new series is designed to provide some answers.

"Here, we pitch nine-handicapper John Dudley against Rory McIlroy, a player of similar build," says former European Tour winner and TG Top 50 coach Andrew Murray.

"John is a decent player and in isolation his swing looks pretty sound. But when you compare it to an elite action, his issues with stability are laid bare. Stability is a key part of a great action, and seeing where these actions diverge will help you improve yours."

rory and john

1. The Set Up: Differences 

What initially strikes me is how much more dynamic Rory looks; he is perfectly in balance and athletically strong. In contrast John looks comfortable but not as stable; sitting into his thighs and a straighter spine will definitely assist his backswing stability. There's no skill to achieve this, just discipline and a mirror!

2. The Take Away: Differences

This is probably the part of the swing where these actions most closely align. John is very good; I like the clubface angle, which broadly copies the spine in a neutral position, and he sets the club on a good angle. Improved posture would assist this still more. His arc isn't quite as wide as Rory's but still impressive.

3. At The Top: Differences

John turns well but it's compromised by instability in his left glute and knee. The tell-tale signs are his belt tipped downwards and loss of height. This sees the shaft pointing right of target. Rory has a massive turn, retaining great width, but it comes from a much more solid base. It's the position of a flexible, strong athlete.

4. Delivery: Differences

John recovers well from that rather collapsed look. But to do so he's had to compromise the downswing's ideal ground-upchainreaction.HishipsaresquarerthanRory's andhistailboneismovingtotheball.Rory'sstabilityand strength let him retain angles, which lets him get the club in the slot, maintain radius and set up an inside attack.

5. Through The Ball: Differences 

Because John has lost his angles, his action lacks power, stability and extension. He looks a little cramped or jammed up through the ball. In contrast Rory can fire his arms down the target line while his hips rotate at terrific speed. But this is only achievable with poise, power, strength, flexibility and balance!

6. The Finish: Differences

John finishes in balance, which is great; it's not explosive or wide enough for my liking, but that's very much a result of what's gone before. His hold looks unsecure, suggesting mid-spine inflexibility. Rory's massive arc takes his arms wide and away from him... and he remains perfectly poised – a lesson to us all.