If you were one of the top dozen players in the world, would you remake your swing? That takes courage, guts, cojones. But in 2003, Sergio Garcia took the risk. It paid off with his win May 16 in the 2004 EDS Byron Nelson Championship.
View Sergio’s swing in its entirety, or frame by frame, below. Note: Flash plug-in required. Can’t see the image? Download the latest version here.
Sergio’s New Move: Golf swings are unique, like fingerprints — and almost as tough to change. That said, Sergio’s swing may always include his signature downcock. But that shouldn’t be a problem as long as he begins the downswing in the proper sequence, which will guard against the club’s dropping behind his body — a move that has plagued him. To develop the right sequence, he needs a stable base and support for the club at the top.
It looks like he’s addressing these issues with his recent swing changes. When Sergio’s arms reach horizontal in the backswing (frame 3), he’s hinging his left wrist more than he used to. His wrist cock is completed earlier, and he can let his body rotation move his arms and the club to the top (frame 4). Until now, Sergio had trouble setting the club at the top before his lower body started back toward the ball.
In his old swing, Sergio’s hips were well into their uncoiling action before his arms and club finished the backswing. When his hips started unwinding too early, the club dropped behind his body, making it nearly impossible to get the clubface square at impact consistently.
By improving his sequence at the transition — his lower body starts forward just as the club reaches the top — Sergio now has the club in a better hitting position on the downswing (frame 6). The shaft moves on a more vertical plane and stays more in front of his chest instead of getting stuck behind him and lagging into impact.
If you’re looking to steal one key from Garcia’s new swing, try hinging your wrists earlier in the backswing. Many golfers lose control of the club at the top because they don’t complete the wrist hinge before starting the downswing. Setting the wrists early adds stability at the top and makes it easier to start down in the proper sequence. Result: a consistent release that boosts distance and accuracy.