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Sergio Garcia Swing Sequence
Swing Analysis by Simon Holmes

When Sergio Garcia first shot to prominance on tour, after an outstanding amateur career, players and coaches alike raved about his swing and the similarities he shared with Ben Hogan, with a pronounced down-cocking of the wrists and subsequence 'lag’ in his downswing.

He is a wonderful ball striker with terrific hands and he has improved the consistency of his method of late, eliminating some of the excess motion he once had. Sergio proved at Carnoustie last year that, tee to green, he is truly world class; for him to really challenge for the top spot he needs to improve where it matters most - on the greens.

But there are a number of fantastic athletic moves that he makes in the full swing that provide some positive pointers for all aspiring golfers. Let's have a closer look at this swing, which was taken at the recent Dubai Desert Classic.

Tall at address

I really like Sergio’s posture angles. His is a great model for all players under six feet tall. He displays just a little knee flex to engage all of the strong muscles in the legs and he holds his spine and neck in a neutral position. Because of the tall upper body the hands are held quite high at address with the club held off the ground (he then grounds the club immediately prior to setting his swing in motion).

The 'one-piece’ takeaway

Here we can enjoy the perfect example of what is known as the 'one piece’ takeaway. Look at how well Sergio maintains the distance between his elbows as he works the club away from the ball, the shaft still pointing to the ground as the hands pass knee-high. This 'uncocked’ wide one-piece move is vital for Garcia if he is to 'downcock’ the club during the transition.

Halfway back

Here’s where things get interesting: just look at the way Sergio has managed to keep his arms in pretty much the same aspect, relative to each other, as they were at the set up. The right arm is noticeably straight. At the same time he is just now starting to cock his wrists, and you can tell from his shoulder plane and hip turn plane that his body is going to coil up and store tremendous rotational power. This is where Sergio has vastly improved his technique. He used to be in a much steeper position, with the shaft pointing more towards his toes and not out towards the ball. The consequence of that steep shaft position was a massive re-routing of the club, which caused him to miss left and right.

Top of the backswing

At first glance you might say Sergio swings the club quite short, but this is deceptive. Look at the dotted line we have drawn (which represents a typical shaft-angle at the top of the backswing) and you can see that his body is fully wound up and that it is just because he delays the cocking of the wrists that he gives the impression of being in a short, 'layed-off’ position. In effect he is keeping his right wrist arched so that he feels that he is keeping his thumbs in line with his right forearm. The club is now suspended, waiting for the legs to drop and downcock the wrists into a very powerful 'set’ delivery position.

The transition

The engine for this move is the drop of height into the legs so that they are braced and ready to fire. You can see from the loss of head height that Sergio has squatted into his legs so that he can use them as an engine at impact. There is now a clear difference between the angle of the clubshaft here and in photo 3 as the club shallows into the delivery position. This is the so-called 'downcock’ of the wrists which, in conjunction with the 'squat’ in the legs gives Sergio his tremendous burst of power into the ball.

Impact

Sergio hits a lot of 'holdoff’ fade shots, especially with his woods, which means he starts the ball just right of his target and holds the ball on that line by not allowing the face to square up. This is a good shot to go for when you have the club coming in so shallow, as he does. Tour players don’t like to see the ball moving too much from right to left, since they lose their control of distance. Sergio 'braces’ against his high left hip and rotates his shoulders into an open position, which allows him to hold the clubface fractionally open through impact.

The 'exit’

We can see more evidence of the 'hold off’ as Sergio’s right wrist finally releases over his blocked left arm (at this late stage in the through-swing). Another giveaway is this low right side as he drives slightly to the right of his original aim at address. Sergio’s danger shot is the hook which comes when he re-routes the club into too shallow a position, to the extent he cannot then prevent the high hands at address from shutting the clubface down.

The finish

Sergio is still braced against that high left hip as he holds his finish, with the right side now back in balance supported on the top of the left foot. The shaft has been fully released, while the long arm-swing that characterises his finish tells us that the arms have now caught up to the rest of the body (indeed overtaken the shoulders). At his best, Sergio is among the very best from tee to green - he simply has to improve his consistency with the putter to contend with the mighty Tiger.

 


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