For Your Game: Shun Yat Hak

Shun Yat Hak after winning the HP Boys Championship.

Boys Rankings »

#NameYearStateRating
1Doug Ghim2014IL67.86
2Cameron Young2015NY67.88
3Robin Wang2017FL67.91
4Andy Zhang2016FL68.18
5Brad Dalke2016OK68.19

LAKE MARY, Fla. – How did Shun Yat Hak get started in golf?

“SARS,” he said.

A decade ago, severe acute respiratory syndrome started a worldwide scare. In 2002-03, the pneumonia-like virus infected more than 8,000 people and killed more than 700, mostly in China and Hong Kong. The disease closed schools and businesses in Hak’s native Hong Kong, so in 2003 he and his father, Ching Lun, used the free time to take up golf, Hak said.

That serendipitous decision revealed Hak’s skill.

At the 2008 Hong Kong Open, he broke Sergio Garcia’s record for youngest player to make a European Tour cut. Hak, who goes by “Jason” and has committed to Georgia Tech, is No. 1 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior and AJGA Polo Golf rankings.

Hak came to Florida at age 11 and lives in Lake Mary, where since age 12 he has worked with swing coach Mike Bender. It’s no surprise Hak’s swing closely resembles that of another Bender student, Jonathan Byrd. Not only is the swing visually appealing, it also produces results.


The student: Shun Yat Hak

Age: 18

Height: 6 feet, 2 inches

Accomplishments: No. 1 in Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings; No. 1 in AJGA Polo Rankings; won 2012 AJGA HP Boys Championship; won 2011 AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions; won 2011 AJGA TaylorMade-Adidas Golf Junior; T-46, 2011 UBS Hong Kong Open; won 2010 Florida Azalea Amateur; won 2009 Mizuno Junior at Innisbrook; won 2009 AJGA Cliffs Championship; Rolex Junior All-American (first team, 2009, ’11; second team, 2010)

What’s in the bag: Titleist 910D3 driver (7.5 degree); Titleist 910Fd 3-wood (14.25 degree); Titleist 910H hybrid (17 degree); Titleist 712 AP2 irons (3-5); Titleist 712 MB irons (6-PW); Titleist Bob Vokey Design wedges (53 and 60 degrees); SeeMore DB4 putter; Titleist ProV1x ball

photo

Mike Bender

The teacher: Mike Bender

Age: 55

Title: Director of instruction, Mike Bender Golf Academy, Magnolia Plantation Golf Club, Lake Mary, Fla.

Other notable students: Zach Johnson, Jonathan Byrd, Lee Janzen, Robert Damron, Seon Hwa Lee, Chella Choi

Honors/awards: PGA of America National Teacher of the Year (2009); North Florida PGA Section Teacher of the Year (1996, ’98, ’05, ’07); North Florida PGA Section Player of the Year (1995); three-time NCAA All-American (1978-1980) at Cal State-Stanislaus; two-time NCAA Division III individual champion (1979-1980); competed full time on the PGA Tour (1987-89)


Proper posture: Create depth in backswing

Hak’s posture was too upright when he began working with Bender. As a result, Hak’s shoulders turned too level with the ground. This caused Hak to “lift” his arms in the backswing to compensate for this improper posture and shoulder turn, Bender said. Hak’s left arm was too high at the top of the backswing, and the club was “laid off,” or pointed left of the target. He is more bent over at address, which steepens his shoulder turn and prevents him from lifting his arms.

“His arms used to go straight up when his right elbow would fold (in the backswing),” Bender said. “Now his hands move with his pivot during his entire backswing, which helps him create depth in his backswing.”

To instill this feeling, Hak swings with his rear end against a wall to ensure he doesn’t get too laid off during the swing. The objective is to make swings without the clubhead hitting the wall. At the top of the swing, the hands and right elbow should virtually touch the wall. The clubhead will hit the wall if Hak gets too laid off.


photo

Hak holds his good position at impact.

Impact: Rehearse proper feel

Hak’s posture was too upright when he began working with Bender. As a result, Hak’s shoulders turned too level with the ground. This caused Hak to “lift” his arms in the backswing to compensate for this improper posture and shoulder turn, Bender said. Hak’s left arm was too high at the top of the backswing, and the club was “laid off,” or pointed left of the target. He is more bent over at address, which steepens his shoulder turn and prevents him from lifting his arms.

“His arms used to go straight up when his right elbow would fold (in the backswing),” Bender said. “Now his hands move with his pivot during his entire backswing, which helps him create depth in his backswing.”

To instill this feeling, Hak swings with his rear end against a wall to ensure he doesn’t get too laid off during the swing. The objective is to make swings without the clubhead hitting the wall. At the top of the swing, the hands and right elbow should virtually touch the wall. The clubhead will hit the wall if Hak gets too laid off.


photo

Hak uses a cushion, a padded rod and alignment sticks to work on his aim and swing plane.

Swing aids: Stay on plane

Hak’s upper body rotated open too early in his old downswing, causing the club to get “trapped” behind him and fall under the plane line.

“His arms would then have to catch up with his body, so there was a lot of timing involved at impact,” Bender said. This makes it difficult to play consistently.

To keep Hak from dropping the club under the proper plane, he practices with a large cushion on the inside of his target line. Hak will hit the cushion if he drops the club too far under the proper plane. The cushion is part of an elaborate practice station that allows Hak to ensure he is swinging properly.

Hak also practices with a rod, covered by a foam cushion, placed on the outside of his target line. Hak will hit this rod if he comes “over-the-top.” He also has two rods on the ground to monitor his swing path and alignment and two rods sticking out of the ground to monitor his ball’s starting line. He hits shots between the two sticks to ensure that he’s not starting the ball too far right or left of his target.


photo

Hak places a soccer ball between his legs, dropping it at the beginning of the downswing.

Ball drill: Don’t ‘spin out’

Hak swings with a soccer ball between his legs to properly sequence his transition from the backswing to the downswing. His objective is for the ball to drop at the beginning of the downswing. Hak used to “spin out” at the start of his downswing and compress the ball between his legs. This “sit” move at the start of the downswing,i.e., the separation of the legs, allows Hak’s arms to drop onto the proper downswing plane.

“We try to get him to work his arms down in front of him because he tends to rotate too early,” Bender said. He wants Hak to feel like his right elbow moves in front of the right hip, from where Hak can turn his arms and body together through impact.

“I used to spin out and then be on top of the ball at impact,” Hak said. “Now I feel more under it, more square, from where I can hit a draw.”


photo

Hak wants his putts to roll past the hole but not to the club.

Putting speed drill: 30 minutes for touch

Hak has several games during his putting practice to keep himself engaged. The first is the “five-tee” drill. Hak places a tee three paces from the hole, then sets down four tees at two-pace intervals. He also lays a club 2 feet behind the hole. Hak starts at the first tee with three balls.

The goal is to have the balls, if they’re not holed, to finish between the hole’s front lip and the club. If Hak leaves all three balls in that space, he advances to the next tee. If not, he drops to the previous tee. The goal is to finish all five tees in 30 minutes or less.

Hak also makes a putting course that features six putts of 40 feet or longer. He’ll hit three balls to each hole. With each putt having a par of 2, the goal is to finish the course in par or better.

Hak uses a training aid to ensure he’s starting his putts on line. He must hit his putts through a small hole at the end of the Right On Line training aid. This also helps with his green-reading because he can’t accidentally push or pull a putt into the hole. This training aid can be re-created by sticking two tees on both sides of the desired starting line, about 1 foot in front of the ball.


Short game: Chip to rings

Using challenges in practice helps a player stay engaged. Hak places 3-foot rings around the hole or his desired landing spot to help measure his accuracy.

The rings give Hak an objective measure of his progress. Instead of chipping mindlessly, setting objective standards allows him to draw confidence from his success.

“If you can get eight or nine out of 10 in the circle, you can be confident that you’ll be able to get it up-and-down,” he said.

Welcome to Golfweek.com's comments section.
Please review the posting guidlines here: Golfweek.com Community Guidelines.
All accounts must be verified using Disqus email verification