Tom Watson’s Secret to the Golf Swing

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October, 2005, Angeles National Golf Course, Los Angeles, CA


Jefferson Smith says:

Key video! For me. Maybe not for you. But for me the key is the throwing
of the club downward in an ax like motion during the forward swing. This
assumes you have all the other parts of your swing functional. If this is
not done, my ball will go to the right. The lower body motion smooths this
(ax motion) out so it just looks like a normal golf swing. Since I’ve
conformed to this Ben-Hogan-style swing my ball striking has been much more

e james says:

according to the 5 principles of golf by hogan the lateral shift of the
hips to begin the downswing MUST cause the swingplane to lift and tilt
slightly to the right.
it makes sense because the hips anchor one end of the spine so if you shift
your hips laterally to begin the downswing,WHILE KEEPING YOUR HEAD IN THE
then wouldn’t it be an absolute that the the swingplane must tilt.

Wade Conway says:

Check out this video on YouTube:

Craig says:

8 Major Championship Wins for Tom Watson; so he was a damn fine player back
in the day and he and Jack Nicklaus had similar golf swings.

dry509 says:

Check out this video on YouTube:

Andrew Linch says:

This is a great piece of advice from a great player if your angles change
in your swing your brain will be forced to make compensations in your swing
which never results in a good shot,so keep your angles no compensations
required better shots will be the result.

vince guest says:

It doesn’t take a genius to realise the importance of maintaining left arm
radius and spine angle for a consistent golf swing….it’s doing it that’s

Jennifer Gomez says:

Hey! Have you thought about the Callabertha Golf Training Wizard, (I went
to google and it looks quite interesting) I heard some super things about
the results other golfers have had with it, my brother in law got cool
improvement with it. Yeah cut 3 strokes in just a month 

ShakotanFC says:

this is one way to hit the ball well… but dont think you can use a
rotary-type arm swing, dependant on forearm rotation and match it to this
method. Your swing will not resemble the modern, rotary style motion. Think
something like Craig Stadler or Fred Couples at the top. Scott Hoch, Mark
Calcavecchia. This is a swing that works but isnt taught or imo, widely
understoood any longer.

Memnet says:

This video has had a profound effect on my swing. Simple turning my
shoulders while maintaining my spine angle has improved my consistency
immensely. At first, I didn’t understand his reference to “you can shoot
your arms out anywhere”, but I think he meant that if you just let your
arms follow your shoulders they will return where they are supposed to.
When I stay loose from the waist up and do what he says, I play much
better. Thanks Esther for posting this!

Wesley Foskey says:

Well Jack Nicklaus won 18 majors. How about you Tom????

LearnTheRealSwing says:

In reality, the secret is to understand that striking a golf ball is a
stationary ball, hand-eye coordination skill. This requires you to focus on
swinging the CLUBHEAD and guiding the CLUBHEAD’S path through the ball.
Body oriented swing thoughts – keep HEAD down, keep your SPINE angle –
actually CAUSE YOUR MISHIT SHOTS! Most golf instruction ignores the only
thing that has any effect on the ball – the CLUBHEAD – and distracts you
with confusing body-focused swing thoughts. See my videos.

trapsmv9 says:

Have never heard anything of the sort and, after watching The Open this
year, couldn’t bring myself to believe it, anyway.

Jason Wood says:

Ed Boon brought me here as well

el Bruce says:

was surprised he chose to putt with that much grass behind the ball on 18..
what an historic run tho.

Alex Jackson says:

To those suggesting this is poor advice… He clearly states this was a
correction for his problem with hitting it thin and to the right. This is a
common swing thought among pros. Check out Graeme McDowell’s practice

McTee's Champions says:

I am definitely a Tom Watson fan for his golf accomplishments and his

Peter Pantelis says:

Just to let everyone know that Tom Watson does not advocate starting the
downswing with the shoulders ……. this is just a small clip ….. on his
dvd he explains ….. separation…. how there is a separation between the
left hip and the left shoulder ….. which allow for the arms to lead from
the inside … the 2 dvd set is worth the investment

Discodwill says:

I’ve discovered exactly what he was talking about a few months ago. My only
problem is that it’s hard for me visualize swinging like that over the
ball. I’ve spent 15 years playing golf turning my shoulders on a flat swing
plane. Now learning the “proper” way to turn my shoulders is a tough task.
But when I do it, the results are beautiful.

6Ott7 says:

@HIKMIESTER Best Links player to ever set foot on Earth. Even Tiger can
never tame a Links course better then Watson STILL can.

David C says:

its hardly revolutionary stuff

senorchipotle says:

@HomeWindTurbines7… how can you pass judgement on any golfer’s morals?
you’ve got no clue what tom or anybody else, apart from tiger, does or
doesn’t do in their personal life. and neither should you. cause it’s not
yours nor anyone else’s business.

bb3383 says:

@slicermcg0lf It’s not S&T at all, since he’s shifting his weight properly
through his swing. He also lifts his left heel on the backswing, which is a
classic move that saves his lower back. Both of those are reasons why he
can still swing fluidly into his 60’s with enough distance to compete, even
with the younger players.

sincitysin20 says:

Tom should be ashamed to play at Angeles National Golf Club! About 10
employees are suing for sex and anti-Jewish discrimination! They are an
embarrassment to the PGA!

golfnutster says:

It’s great advice, but it may not be as easy to do as Tom makes it look.
Give it a try and see if it helps you.

christy lin says:

Tom is one of the best ball strikers of all time.

seattle2062 says:

i watched tom watson recently at the senior open at sahalee in 2010, for
anyone whose ever watched tom in person; his swing is absolutely
mesmerizing, i have never seen such an effortless swing. this guy is a champ

stephen f says:

@cockywatchman1976 Sorry, but just one more to prove your point,: If you
look at other vids of Watson or other top players, you’ll find that
virtually all the best ballstrikers not only show that separation of arms
and hands from the shoulder socket on the downswing (visible best on a DTL
view), but also have the shoulders still closed to the target line nearly
until impact or even slightly beyond impact, at times…

easyscore says:

Even the great ones get the yips. The pressure of hitting that putt and the
history it would have made was too much. He simply deccelerated at impact
thus the poor putt. Clearly a result of nerves. I wish he would have made

RobertFromHere says:

Perfect. Thats really the secret of the swing, folks!

David Song says:

@cockywatchman1976 you are crazy this is GREAT advice.

nojomen2 says:

@senorchipotle say a name

TitanGT66 says:

Dammit Ed Boon…

anka893 says:

This is so funny ,I just figured the same thing out today and then I see
this video talking about the day he figured it out.For real he is 100%
accurate ,this is the most important part of the swing,I was killing the
ball today long and straight.This is the best tip you will ever get.

Tonerius Cockrell says:

lol Ed Boon

James Sexton says:

“This dummy” ? !! Who the hell are you ? !

jorra12 says:

shut it ffs Tom is a legend. a true legend!

Tim Poulos says:

Dont forget that at the top of your swing you are going to feel really
steep. Once you figure out that the downswing starts from the ground up,
and you make the first move down with your hips this will be gold. The hips
turning left with pulll your shoulders with it. Stay in your posture and
feel the torque. What a way to hit balls……

easyeagle2 says:

Wonderful tip, Thank You, Tom.

georgesrhart says:

someone who became a 4 handicap after 10 months of playing, who are you?

Steve Schritt says:

Tom’s advice is the best! He is better than Hank or Butch. Wish I could
work with this guy,

Motown025 says:

Such a shame, a true gentleman of the sport. It’s been a long time since he
has been in such a position, and considering his putting woes throught he
end of his career, he held himself together much better than any of us
could have.

LearnTheRealSwing says:

@nuckster94 Two questions: Do you mean 26 degrees “spine angle” tilt as
opposed to “shoulder” tilt? You said shoulder tilt and shoulder turn.
Second, If a golfer sculls it (hits it in the equator of the ball with the
bottom edge of the club), the bottom of the swing arc would be swinging
3/4ths of an inch above the ground. How many degrees upwards would the
spine angle change if a golfers sculls it? If the spine angle changed by
one degree, would that not cause the clubhead… (continued)

LearnTheRealSwing says:

@nuckster94 I understand rotating the shoulders at right angles, as Tom
demonstrates very effectively by standing upright and rotating the
shoulders – represented by the club shaft – horizontally. What I am not
understanding is your statement about a “26 degree shoulder tilt.” By that,
do you mean that the spine is tilted forward 26 degrees from straight up
and down vertical, going from an erect standing posture to a “tipped
forward from the hip joints” golf posture?

stephen f says:

…the other night, in fact, and on that tape Leadbetter (whom I respect
greatly, don’t get me wrong) says not only the lower body but the upper
needs to be open at impact, and then uses Nick Price as a model–but when
you go look at the actual vids of Price, he’s slightly _closed_ at the last
point in the downswing when it could be perceptible to him, and square at
the moment of impact….

Boomer Tee says:

TOM…kudos for your tips/inspirations!! ARNIE has also inspired his many
SENIORS with PROSTATE awareness; perhaps you could inspire your many Senior
friends in Vision awareness…AMD(macular degeneration). AMD has now
surpassed Prostate cancer in statistics( A silent anomaly,
AMD needs your HELP in awareness Tom!!! AMD ALLIANCE INTERNATIONAL(com)
good golfing in 2011 TOM

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