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Today's Tour swings stop short of parallel, but they're more powerful than ever

Sergio Garcia
Angus Murray
A stronger coil allows today’s pros, like Sergio Garcia, to hit it big without swinging to parallel.

You can’t Shoot low scores unless you’ve got a solid, wound-up backswing. If you wonder how Tour players are able to hit the ball so far even though it looks like they’re sleepwalking through their downswings, it’s because they wind up so tightly on the way back. They’re like rubber bands. They stretch on the backswing and, once they feel their left shoulder hit their chin, they simply let the rubber band unwind. It’s the opposite with amateurs, the majority of whom don’t wind up and, therefore, have to manufacture speed on the way down, usually by swinging way too hard and out of control.

Because today’s Tour players are more flexible than ever, they can stretch the band to maximum capacity without having to make the ultralong backswings that were common among players of my era. Guys like Jason Day, Adam Scott and Sergio Garcia stop noticeably short of parallel, but their windup is so tight that they can still carry the ball 280 yards. To pump up your shots, you need to increase coil by turning your chest more and swinging your arms less. A good way to practice this is to pretend you have a clubhead welded to the center of your sternum and that the ball is teed up to chest height, then use your chest turn to hit the ball. Focus on your chest turn and simply let your arms come along for the ride.

Some older readers or those with limited flexibility might not be able to get away with this. Everyone eventually gets to the point where you need to turn your hips in order to turn your chest back far enough to create sufficient power. That’s okay. If you can’t separate your upper body from your lower like the pros do, then don’t try to do it. You’ll get better results by turning everything more than by turning your chest less. The first lesson I ever had was to get the rivet above the left-front pocket on my jeans (a pair of white 501s, if I remember correctly) behind the ball on my backswing, and then the rivet above the right-front pocket ahead of the ball on my downswing. It worked then, and it still works today.
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