Slowly but surely, Ryan Moore is fulfilling the promise of his stellar amateur career.
The phenom from Puyallup, Wa., claimed his third PGA Tour title at the 2014 CIMB Classic (actually played in October 2013), and seems destined to win many more. Now age 30, Moore is nine years removed from a summer in which he won the NCAA Championship (individual), U.S. Amateur, U.S. Amateur Public Links, Western Amateur and Sahalee Players Championship in stunning succession.
The UNLV product has enjoyed steady success since turning pro in 2005, never ranking below 81st on the tour money list. He broke through for his maiden victory at the 2009 Wyndham Championship, finally following it in 2012 at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
While his amateur exploits earned Moore plenty of recognition, he’s equally well known for his on-course style – he’s worn painter’s caps and ties, and currently sports a full beard – and unorthodox swing.
We’ll let the fashionistas analyze Moore’s sartorial choices. Our focus is on his homemade swing.
Moore’s signature: A pronounced looping motion from backswing to downswing.
What it looks like: Awkward, to say the least. Moore’s swing is unusual right from the setup, when he aligns his feet and body well left of the target (a la Couples) and employs a strong grip. His hands are very close to his legs, creating a big angle between the club’s shaft and his arms.
Moore’s backswing is extremely upright or vertical, with his left arm nearly perpendicular to the ground at the top. That’s when he makes his signature move. Starting down, Moore re-routes the club to an inside path, with the clubhead shifting dramatically left of the target.
Having looped the club into prime position, Moore rotates his hips powerfully into and through the shot. Finally, after all the unconventional positions and motions, Moore finishes in classic style – hands high, weight left, back arched in a cool reverse “C.”
Why it works for Moore: Every great golfer with a strong grip (see Couples, Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson, Paul Azinger) has a compensating move or two that prevents him from hitting massive hooks. Moore’s open stance and strong hip rotation do the trick by giving his arms room to work without racing past his lower body.
The open stance also makes up for the extreme inside-to-out swing path that results from his downswing loop. While he’s swinging out in relation to his body alignment, the path actually matches his target line.
How it can work for you: Like many golfers, including Furyk, Moore learned the game from his dad. A golf course owner and solid player himself, Mike Moore never imposed textbook technique on his son, letting him do what came naturally. To his credit, Ryan Moore has resisted any urge to change his swing. If it ain’t broke, right?
We’ll go out on a limb and guess that you, amateur golfer, lack the picture-perfect positions of an Adam Scott. While there’s nothing wrong with trying to improve your technique, there’s a lot to be said for trusting your natural swing – as long as it’s built on good fundamentals.
Moore and others like him get the basics correct. (Well, most of them, anyway.) For example, all of them:
- Set up in an athletic stance.
- Make a full shoulder turn.
- Shift weight to the right leg on the backswing.
- Lead the downswing with the hips.
- Transfer weight to the left swinging through the shot.
- Maintain excellent balance and finish with weight on their left side.
If you can do these things, your swing will produce beautiful results. No matter what it looks like.