When Luke Donald reigned at the top of the world rankings, he did so largely because of his razor-sharp short game. Even as he was winning the money list on both sides of the Atlantic, Donald’s long game was capable of misfiring. A close look at this new Luke Donald swing sequence reveals to me a concerted effort from the Englishman to address a key fault that had emerged in his technique.
Luke has always had a fantastically athletic posture and balance in his swing. This comes as naturally to him as his smooth, effortless rhythm, and it’s this that makes Luke’s swing one of the most impressive to watch. However, he has had a tendency to allow his weight to remain on his right side through the downswing. By hanging back, a number of things can happen. Firstly, the clubface can be left open, causing a push. The hands can also take over, flipping the clubface and causing a hook – this can also affect the swing plane itself. Luke was able to play well despite this move because of his wonderful rhythm and world-class short game. To his credit, this new Luke Donald swing sequence reveals that he is clearly making strides to eradicate this fault.
Notice how from the top of the backswing, where his weight is set on his right side, his hips bump towards the target. He drives his weight to the left and this helps to create a steeper angle of attack into the ball. With this move, he’s in a much better position to get the club working on line through the downswing to deliver more consistent shots. From here he rotates through, keeping his sternum over the ball throughout.
For me, Luke Donald’s greatest asset is the way he sets and maintains his spine angle. This is the foundation of his swing, as he rotates around this fixed axis. If you’ve been having any trouble with your own ball striking, watch how Luke does this in the slow-motion video that accompanies this sequence. It really is textbook.