Case Study: Rory McIlroy's Golf Swing

Even wonder why Rory's swing is so good? It's become the quintessential swing in golf.

Rory Mcilroy

Rory McIlroy has been a dominant competitor in professional golf for over two decades. He has been a household name that is still making himself a threat at every tournament today. What about this player makes him SO good? 

We put Rory’s swing into our full swing analysis. We consider a great, powerful driver swing to have great success in a few categories: Rotations, Horizontals, Verticals, Rotational Speed and Release. Here’s how Rory does in each category:

Screen Shot 2024-04-10 at 11.49.40 AM

What does this mean?  Dr. Phil Cheetham dives into Rory’s technically proficient and powerful swing. 


% represents percentiles, specifically in our database of current PGA tour professionals that we have reviewed with our Sportsbox AI speed analysis. For example, 65% means the golfer is doing better than 65% of his fellow tour pros in the database and only 35% are doing better than him in this category.

  1. Rotations: Rory McIlroy's primary superpower lies in his remarkable ability to rotate swiftly and extensively. Notably, his body rotations during the backswing surpass those of his peers, with his pelvis rotating 86%, his chest 97%, and his X-Factor reaching 89%
  2. Rotational Speeds: Equally significant are Rory's rotational speeds during the downswing, which are exceptionally high—70% for his pelvis, 97% for his chest, and 97% for his arms. In each aspect, he ranks among the top few percent compared to his peers
  3. Fast Hand Speeds: Rory has a very efficient Kinematic Sequence, which allows him to transfer and increase speed across each joint extremely well
  4. Verticals: Rory also excels in utilizing vertical motion during his downswing, with his pelvis drop at 89% and lift at 83%, both of which are notably high compared to his peers


  1. Horizontals: Rory is slightly lacking compared to his peers in his horizontal motion toward the target during the transition from backswing to top, which are only moderate to low (Chest slide in transition 25%, pelvis slide in transition 69%)
  2. Release:  His downswing wrist release timing (14%) is early compared to his peers


Having won 24 PGA tour events, 4 Majors, and being the former #1 golfer in the world, it is no secret that Rory Mcilroy is one of the best players in the game. As one of the greatest ball strikers, Rory does a great job combining his excellent rotational and vertical motions, which effectively allows him to generate very high clubhead speeds, despite not being as tall as many of the other tour pros.


Wondering how you fair in your own speed assessment? Leaving yards on the course? Try the FREE Sportsbox Speed Assessment in the 3D Golf app today.