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Sergio Garcia's Top 4 ball-striking tips - #4 is a must!

Sergio Garcia’s Top 4 ball-striking tips – #4 is a must!

Sergio Garcia’s Top 4 ball-striking tips – #4 is a must!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

Sergio Garcia is one of, if not THE best ball-striker on both the PGA and European Tours.

His petulance has cost him some negative feedback in the press, but he says he is trying to change.  I think his new girlfriend has helped him to a better place in his life, and maybe, just maybe, he will live up to the potential we all saw in the 1999 PGA Championship at Medinah Country Club.

Here Sergio gives us his 4 top ball-striking tips.  I think they can help you!

In 2012 I won on the PGA Tour for the first time in more than four years, contributed two points to the winning European side in the Ryder Cup and, to be honest, felt like I enjoyed the game more than I have in quite a while. I chalk up the success to a commitment I made early in the year to control my emotions a bit better and adopt a more competitive attitude. I’d be lying if I said it was the result of a breakthrough swing discovery or a new magic move.

Nope, my technique is the same as it’s always been, and the foundation of that technique is built on four key moves that have been part of my motion since day one. These are simple swing thoughts that allow me to position the bottom of my swing in the right spot so I can catch the ball crisply and in the center of the sweet spot with every iron in the bag. If you’re struggling with contact and missing more than your fair share of greens, give my moves a try and see if they don’t help you realize the success you deserve, just as they have for me.

YOUR SERGIO TRANSLATOR.

According to Top 100 Teacher Brian Manzella, Sergio’s swing is “in the Top 10 — maybe Top 5 — of all time.”

That good? “Let’s put it this way,” Manzella says, “Sergio’s is the best ‘lower-back-plane’ swing of the past 40 years, or, said another way, the best one where the shaft bisects the lower back once it settles on the downswing.”

While many point to Sergio’s tremendous clubhead lag as his key swing trait, Manzella says that folks are missing the point. “Any good golfer can create lag, but nobody — nobody — knows how to release it like Garcia. Most lag guys drag the handle through impact. Sergio lets it all go. The man doesn’t get enough credit for how dynamic — or good — his swing really is.”

High praise from a teacher who knows what he’s talking about, which is why we asked Manzella to provide additional insight into El Niño’s key moves so that you can more easily add them to your own motion.

EASY IRON MOVE 1: STAND TALLER AT ADDRESS.

Your address position doesn’t feature any moving parts, so there’s no reason you can’t make it as good as a Tour pro’s. First thing: Bend forward and stand at a distance from the ball that allows your upper arms to hang straight down from your shoulder sockets (below left). You can check this by simply removing your hands from the grip and seeing how your arms naturally hang when you’re in your setup. Not only does this create less tension at address, it gives your arms freedom to swing back and through at maximum speed.

Sergio Garcia's Top 4 ball-striking tips - #4 is a must!

Sergio Garcia’s Top 4 ball-striking tips – #4 is a must!

MY CHECKPOINT.

I tend to swing poorly when I bend forward too much at address and get my head and shoulders too far down. Notice how much more cramped I am in the right photo above than I am in the one in the center, and how much flatter my posture is. This is just enough of an error to rob me of the athleticism I need to swing at my best. While it’s a good idea to get your arms hanging straight down, try to do it with a more erect posture, even with a short iron in your hands. As I say to myself when I practice, “Keep your height.”

TRANSLATION: A TALLER POSTURE MAKES IT EASIER TO TURN.

Garcia’s a pretty normal-size guy, but he can hit his 4-iron farther than most amateurs can hit their driver. He gets his power by combining his famous arm swing with the powerful rotation he creates, in part, by turning his torso all the way to the right during his backswing. His turn is a big part of his engine, and most of us can turn better from a taller posture than from one that’s more bent. Plus, a taller posture naturally supports a flatter downswing plane, which as you’ll see on the next page, is Garcia’s telltale swing trait.

EASY IRON MOVE 2: PULL DOWN FROM THE TOP.

In my opinion, the two worst things you can do for your swing are (1) spin your shoulders too early from the top of your backswing (photo, below), and (2) lose the angle between your left forearm and the clubshaft before you come into the ball. The first error will lead to nothing but a heavy dose of slices and pulls. Losing your lag — the second error — will quickly make you the shortest hitter in your foursome. Once I’m at the top, I think about keeping my right shoulder behind me until I’m done transitioning from from my backswing to my downswing. When I’m swinging at my best, my shoulders are the last thing to move as I make my way back down toward the ball.

MY CHECKPOINT.

Here’s a swing thought my father gave me years ago to help me stay back and stop swinging across the ball or getting the club too far out in front. (I know I need it when my draws start turning into hooks.) Once you’re at the top, feel as though you’re holding the end of a long chain. As you start your downswing, try to pull the chain straight down. It’s a heavy chain, so give it a good tug. This should help you keep your shoulders back and retain some lag (the angle between your left arm and clubshaft) deeper into your downswing.

TRANSLATION: DROP IN THREE DIRECTIONS.

Sergio Garcia’s Top 4 ball-striking tips – #4 is a must!

I’ve looked at Garcia’s swing from every angle and at every speed, and while he’s definitely one of the best at using a pulling motion from the top to create lag, he never really pulls the chain straight toward the ground. Sergio’s hands go down, but they also go out toward the target line. More importantly, they also move to his right (away from the target). In fact, nobody’s hands move away from the target from the top as much as Sergio’s. If he really was pulling a chain, it would be on more of a 45-degree angle after he yanked it than what he’s depicting at left.

My advice: Drop your hands and keep your shoulders back as Sergio advises, but experiment with moving your hands to the right (away from your right ear) and out toward the target line a bit. The “away” move will definitely help you keep your back pointed at the target longer, which is always a benefit.

To read the rest of Sergio Garcia’s 4 Keys to Striking it Solid, check them out here.

Source: GOLF.com  Sergio Garcia

Picture: Peder Hanson  GOLF.com

Thanks for watching – Sergio Garcia’s Top 4 ball-striking tips – #4 is a must!

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