The entire country of Japan is celebrating 2021 Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama this year. A country with the second most golf courses in the world behind the United States has a long standing passion for the game and has been awaiting a major champion for decades. Hideki delivered last week with a stellar performance on Saturday that propelled him to a four shot lead going into the last round. So, how did Hideki do it?
First of all, Hideki is considered by many to be the best iron player in the world. His strokes gained approach to the green stats for the last five years have him ranked no lower than 6th place in any of those years. That means he is consistently proficient in his iron play year after year. With the slope of the green complexes at Augusta National GC iron play can really separate someone from the rest of the field and Hideki did just that.
What many of you may know about Hideki is that he has that notable pause at the top his swing. This is very uncommon as most tour players have a smoother, gradual, transition. I am sure you also realize that many golfers struggle with being quick in the transition. The ability to consistently pause at the top under pressure and then accelerate at those speeds requires tremendous patience and discipline. Hideki has demonstrated this patience and discipline since playing in the Masters as an amateur in 2011.
One drill that can be very helpful when working on swing improvements is the stop at the top drill. Hideki’s swing is a modified version of this and he has shown how well that can work even on the golf course.