The swing that helped Michelle Wie win her first major championship, the US Women’s Open , in June 2014 was rather different from the one she displayed as a record setting 13 year old in her first appearance in the tournament. But that can only be a good thing, as ten years into her career as a professional 25 year Wie is playing the best golf of her life.
The Michelle Wie Swing in Slow Motion
At a little over six foot Wie is tall for a golfer in general let alone for a female golfer. And even as a teenager she had a powerful swing that converted into long drives. However, there are changes to the swing that Wie herself has explained on several occasions. The first was shortening the swing, with the aid of her now long term coach David Leadbetter; “A while back I sat down with David and told him my No. 1 goal was consistency. That led to shortening my swing, making it more compact. I don’t take the club back as far as I used to with my arms, but I’m still making a full turn and generating a lot of torque. It’s much easier to control the ball when you don’t have a long arm swing that relies on timing.”
The second element Wie feels has made a big difference to her swing, and her game overall, is improved lower body fitness; “I used to think I had strong legs, but when I started working with my trainer, David Donatucci, we found that wasn’t true. I was a long hitter when I was young, but my lack of lower-body strength made me inconsistent. So I really got focused on making my legs, glutes and hips stronger, and now my swing is more stable.”
You can see how this extra power translates in the video below:
And this is a rather interesting point by point comparison of Michelle’s 2004 and 2014 swings.
The other thing that Wie feels is making a real difference to her game? A renewed passion for it after becoming a little disillusioned in the very early twenties. And that may be the biggest lesson of all for all golfers to remember; if you are not still having fun playing golf then you probably aren’t going to win.