Like father, like son? In the case of Jay and Bill Haas, not exactly.
Jay Haas is a renowned “grinder” who’s gotten the most of his relatively modest talent, winning nine times on the PGA Tour and adding 16 Champions Tour victories. Bill, his son, is a bigger, more naturally gifted golfer. With five career wins through 2013, he seems to be just scratching the surface of his potential.
With at least one victory each year since 2010, including the 2011 Tour Championship, Bill Haas has established himself as a steady, sometimes spectacular performer. He’s played on two Presidents Cup teams and while he has yet to contend in a major, he’s got the potential to win at least one of golf’s four biggest events.
Iron play is the strength of Bill Haas’ game: He ranked among the tour’s top 34 in the all-important greens-in-regulation (GIR) category five of six seasons from 2008-13. He’s got above-average power and he’s good around the greens – an excellent formula for long-term success.
Let’s take an in-depth look at Bill Haas’ golf swing.
Haas’ signature: Stable hips throughout the swing.
What it looks like: Watch a down-the-line view of Haas’ swing (from behind the ball, looking toward the target). Note the steady position of his backside at address, at the top of the backswing, and into the follow-through. In fact, if you picture his backside just touching a wall or line, you’ll see little if any movement away from or into the wall throughout the swing. That means his balance is stable and he’s rotating the hips smoothly, back and through.
Why it works for Haas: Great balance is a well-known key to solid ballstriking that many amateurs overlook. All professional golfers have it, and they work on balance constantly to assure they don’t lose it.
Haas’ efficient hip rotation is well worth emulating, too. If he over-rotated on the backswing, he’d lose the power-creating coil between the upper and lower body. Fail to turn the hips enough and his weight wouldn’t transfer sufficiently to his right side, leading to blocked or pull shots.
Too much or too little hip rotation in the downswing and follow-through can cause similar problems. Over-rotation causes the arms to lag and results in pushed shots. Under-rotation allows the upper body to overtake the lower body and send the ball hooking left.
Haas’ spot-on hip work maximizes both power and accuracy.
How it can work for you: Proper hip rotation starts with relaxed, athletic posture. This not only promotes easy movement, it will prevent potential injuries caused by rigid setup positions.
The goal is to turn the hips back and through without moving them away from or closer to the ball at any point during the swing. Imagine rotating in a tube or box with your backside barely touching the inner wall from start to finish.
Here’s a good drill you can do at home. It works best with a simple folding chair, but a table or any similar object will do:
- Place the chair facing directly opposite your body (i.e., your back to the chair’s back).
- Take your golf stance with your backside lightly touching the back of the chair.
- On your backswing, your right cheek should remain in contact with the chair, without pushing the chair away from the target line.
- Swing down slowly, with your behind staying in light contact with the chair to the impact position.
- Following through, your left cheek should continue touching the chair without pushing it away – just as your right side did on the backswing.
Learn to rotate your hips while maintaining your distance from the ball and you’ll generate effortless power while increasing accuracy.