I've always thought of Nick Faldo as the kind of golfer who knew his limitations and was careful to play within them. That’s hardly a knock on the man. I think a lot of Tour pros—and the majority of amateurs—try to do things they’re really not capable of. A comfort zone is a good thing, and Nick knew what his was and exploited it to perfection. Knowing how far he could take individual swings and his overall game automatically gave Nick a reliable game plan. Throwing caution to the wind was never Faldo’s style, both before and after his much-publicized swing overhaul of the mid-1980s.
What was his style was winning majors at an eye-popping clip during the prime of his career. His six big wins included four major victories in the span of 36 months. After he revamped his swing with David Leadbetter, Faldo became the poster child for position golf. He was perfect at the top—everything was where it needed to be. In my opinion, all he had to do was swing down from right where his hands were at the end of his backswing. Nick, however, chose to drop down about three inches before starting his move back toward the ball. You could see him slowly move his right elbow toward the ground and then whip his lower body into action. He must have practiced this move a lot because he made it on every swing. He was automatic. This, I think, was Faldo’s real goal in reinventing his motion. To win majors, you need a swing that holds up under pressure. Nick’s ultimately did.
Having a go-to move like Faldo had is good advice for any player. His drop also is a good idea for golfers who have pulling and slicing problems. Dropping your right elbow ensures that you’re in the slot, on plane and in control of where the ball’s headed, just as Nick was on his way to claiming the No. 1 spot in the world rankings and forging a Hall of Fame career.