Over the last couple of years Jimmy Walker has been one of the most consistent players on the PGA Tour, and has most certainly earned his right to be positioned in the top 20 players in the world. Since Joining the Butch Harmon stable over two years ago he has become a multiple winner on the PGA Tour, a Ryder cup star and a contender week in week out. Here is a closer look at Jimmy’s swing and why it is so successful.
Walker has an exceptionally traditional set up with his fundamentals being as close to perfect as you will see from any player on the tour. From down the line you will see he looks exceptionally tall and balanced, with a great hinge from his hips and his arms in a nice relaxed position. His weight is 50/50, again perfectly balanced and poised, while he also shows some fantastic symmetry at address. From a face on view on the right you will see Jimmy has a wide and sturdy base, this is something which he has changed recently with his coach Butch Harmon, “Getting wide dropped his head behind the ball more. That’s good for the driver.”
As Jimmy moves the club away from the golf ball you will see the perfect takeaway. The club sits just above the plane line, the face is perfectly aligned to his spine angle, and the club is ready to work upwards to the top of the backswing.
On the right you will see Jimmy really begins the swing by rotating his shoulders and maintaining a nice connection between his arms and the body while the club creates a wide swing arc in the back swing. According to Butch “Jimmy used to get the club narrow and too much to the inside during the takeaway,” “Now look how far his left hand is away from his head as he goes back. His left arm is really stretched out. Plus, the shaft swings back more in line with his feet instead of going quickly to the inside.”
As Jimmy approaches the top of the backswing you will see he continues to do all of the simple things correctly. The hands remain in such a great position as he refuses to let the get too far behind him, the club is angled nicely towards the golf ball, and you can really see he has maintained a very stable lower body while making a big turn with his upper body.
Top of the back swing
Jimmy really shows his phenomenal flexibility at the top of the backswing. He really winds the club up which can actually sometimes work against him. One thing Walker has constantly worked on is in controlling how much he turns in the backswing. Reducing the turn will make it easier for him to deliver the club to the ball consistently. Again you will notice how stable his lower half has stayed while he coils his upper body against it. This is how Jimmy creates so much power in his swing.
As Jimmy begins to bring the club down from the top of the backswing, you will see he keeps the club nicely above the plane line, and does not allow it to drop or fall behind his back too much. This will help him reduce any right to left curvature he may impart to the golf ball
You will also notice on the right hand side he maintains some real width in the downswing. Walker has worked hard in the past in keeping some distance between the golf club and his head. Before working with Harmon you would have seen the shaft almost touch his shoulder on the downswing, as we look at him now you will notice a nice amount of space between the club and his head.
As we look at walkers impact we see a few unusual positions. On the left you will notice the handle of the club gets a little high through the ball when compared with the original club position address.
On the right you will see his head (and as a result his spine) begins to fall quite a long way behind the ball, and as a result we can see walkers lead leg does not post quite as well as others on the tour. These positions are often referred to as “hanging back” or “sliding”, and they are constantly being worked on by Jimmy and his coach. Butch describes it as “a work in progress” They are constantly working on getting Jimmy more on top of the golf ball at impact”
Jimmy’s release is most certainly a natural and free flowing one that allows the club to chase the ball with some real width to match that of the back swing. As the ball leaves the Club face walker really extends his arms and allows the club to naturally rotate through the shot without manipulation.
Jimmy’s finish is a great demonstration of how well he has unwound his body through impact. He shows fantastic balance at the end of the swing and combines it with a huge turn of the shoulders after the ball has left.