Si Woo Kim is doing plenty right.
The 21-year-old South Korean became the youngest winner of the Players Championship by making just one bogey over the weekend on the way to rounds of 68 and 69. He beat Ian Poulter and Louis Oosthuizen by three, and picked up his second tour win.
The secret to his success, beyond a wiser-than-his-years head on his shoulders? A swing that doesn’t produce very much curve — even on his worst shots.
Amateur players worry a lot about swing plane, but what they should really take from Kim’s swing is the consistency of the path of his hands — and the relationship between his elbows.
“When you watch him from down the line, his hands go back and pass through the top of his right bicep,” says top Colorado teacher Nick Clearwater, who is GOLFTEC’s Vice President of Instruction. “And on the downswing, his hands go through basically the same place. Most amateurs struggle to keep both their hands and their shaft below their shoulders on the downswing.”
“As Kim swings into his followthrough, he keeps his shoulders tilted to the right, and his elbows stay relatively close together,” says Clearwater, who is based in Englewood, Colo. “That helps him keep his swing direction pretty straight and shallow his angle of attack.” Amateur players tend to keep their shoulders level through impact and stop turning them, which forces their elbows apart.
Another way to make sure you take home the trophy at your place? Lock down your short game. When Kim did miss a green, he got up and down 16 out of 22 times in four days, from some of the nastiest greenside obstacles on tour.