Here’s why Joaquin Niemann was practicing with a beach ball between his legs at the Travelers (yes, really)


Hang around the range at a PGA Tour event for awhile and you’re bound to see all kinds of gadgets and gizmos. If it helps their swing, a tour pro will try it, no matter how silly it makes them look. On Wednesday at the Travelers Championship, Joaquin Niemann’s toy of choice was a beach ball. No, this wasn’t an episode of Club Pro Guy’s “Learning Center” series.

It’s not been the sophomore year Niemann was hoping for on the PGA Tour, though technically it is his first full season. Last year he played in 12 events and collected four finishes of T-8 or better, earning $1.2 million before his 20th birthday. His 2018-’19 season hasn’t been quite as productive, but he is beginning to trend in the right direction. He’s looking to make his fourth consecutive cut this week at TPC River Highlands, and if he does he may have a very interesting drill involving a pool toy to thank. Here’s a closer look at what Niemann was working on:

Niemann explained the goal of the drill afterward. “What I’m trying to work [on], I was trying to find something big enough to put some space between my knees,” he said, gesturing with his hands as if he was holding an imaginary beach ball. “So, at impact, try to not have my knees too close. Try to create a little more space there so I can hit it a little higher.”

Why the beach ball? Surely there is another contraption Niemann could get the space he needs between his legs at impact, no? He’s got a very good reason for it.

“I have done it before, but I was trying to find something that could travel. It was easier because you just inflate it. It’s funny the way it looks, but it works. I like it.”

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