Brooke captures Canadian win in her own unique way

“Well, it’s not a swing you would teach,” opined Judy Rankin during Brooke Henderson’s triumphant march to winning the CP Canadian Women’s Open, the first Canadian victory in our national championship in 45 years.

One of the most respected voices in golf broadcasting, Rankin noted specifically that Henderson unconventionally grips down about three inches on all of her clubs, which fellow Canadian Moe Norman was notable for. (Interestingly, Henderson uses a 48-inch driver, about three inches longer than standard.)

Rankin could have gone on to mention that Henderson, ala John Daly, has a super long backswing and looks like she jumps off the ground at impact.

Click here to check out Henderson’s swing sequence captured by Golf Digest.

Rankin mentioned that like Jim Furyk, her coach is her father (Dave), noting that neither golf dad tried to change their kid’s distinctive swing—and thank goodness for that.

To me, like Bryson DeChambeau winning his third PGA Tour title of 2018 yesterday, it goes to show that you don’t need to adhere to a model swing and approach to the game to win at the highest levels of golf.

And I think there’s some gold in there for weekend warriors as well.

I have come to agree with legendary coach Fred Shoemaker’s conviction that all golfers have their own natural swing, and that many golfers struggle because they are trying to conform to a method or certain ways they believe the golf club should be swung.

But everyone is different. We all have natural and distinctive ways that we move and relate to the world that are uniquely our own. To excel as a golfer, and particularly to withstand the pressure of tournament golf, you play your best when you play from instinct.

Trying to hit positions or perform certain moves because youthink they are correct leads to muscle tension and inhibits freedom—self-interference, in other words.

To some people, saying they can swing naturally means that fundamentals such as ball position, swing plane and alignment are not important. Nope. It means you must discover your own motion that produces solid contact and allows you to hit the ball to your target. A coach can help you do that, but you have to feel what’s going on in your body; you must have your own experience.

The more present that you are to your own motion—as it is happening—that more you’ll nail down your own fundamentals.

If you check out the swings of Furyk, DeChambeau, Henderson or Norman, they all look much the same at impact. They all arrive there differently, but it doesn’t matter.

Their naturalness allows them to play with a sense of freedom that stands up under pressure. It was fun to watch Henderson swing from her heels Sunday and pull away conclusively to an emotional victory for her and Canadian golfers.

With players such as Henderson and DeChambeau stepping into their greatness in their own unique ways, it’s certainly fun to root for them, and to watch and listen as the golf world tries to make sense of how they are doing it.

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About Tim O'Connor

Tim O'Connor is a golf coach, an award-winning writer, and speaker. Tim takes a holistic approach, coaching golfers in the physical and mental aspects of golf. He co-hosts the Swing Thoughts podcast with Howard Glassman, and is the author of The Feeling of Greatness: The Moe Norman Story. He plays bass in CID—a Guelph punk band!