Towards the end of last season, Padraig Harrington hinted that his days of obsessive swing-tinkering were behind him. He seemed to have vaulted that first, all-important hurdle on the road to recovery: admitting that there’s a problem.
“”I could just about watch CSI on TV: one hour. And even then, if there was an ad break, I’d struggle not to get up and swing a club… To be a better golfer, I need to have a break. I have to make sure the game doesn’t consume me.”
It was the sort of perspective born of a year’s hardship; nearly twelve months spent fighting a rogue driver and struggling to logically contain the chasm between his pretentions to mechanical excellence and a summer of dismal performances. The penny, you felt, had finally dropped.
So, how has the most successful European of his generation been tip-toeing his way to rehabilitation? Why, by spending the winter break in an underground bunker with his coach, a biomechanics expert and a metric tonne of digital equipment, that’s how! Mmmm… relaxing.
Here comes the science:
- “I changed the actual grips on my golf club. Most people would think ‘well, what’s that’. I have a reminder in my grip – I’ve taken it out. I’ve gone to round grips. That’s a big, big change.”
- “I’m taking the club away without my hips so there’s a much smaller hip turn – a much bigger coil but a smaller hip turn… obviously, that changes my plane in the back swing.“I’m going back to trying to get my chest more down through impact to get my hands lower through impact and reduce the lateral through impact.”
- “Probably the biggest one (and this is partly why I’ve changed these other things), I’ve changed my trigger to take the club away in my routine. I used take the club away from a moving position. I now take the club away from a static position.
If your brain isn’t sufficiently scrambled by that highlights reel, head on over to the excellent Irish Golf Desk for the extended version.