Swing Sequence: Francesco Molinari

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Swing Sequence: Francesco Molinari

July 22, 2018

Italy's Francesco Molinari is known for his accuracy, whether he's playing in the United States or on the European Tour, where he has spent most of his career. Witness his hole-in-one on the fan-frenzied 16th hole at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in January. But his teacher, Denis Pugh, says Molinari can add distance without sacrificing his precision."We looked at the stats and his abilities and determined he can't become one of the longest hitters on tour," Pugh says. "But he can definitely be the longest straight driver out there. As he plays a lot more in America this year, that's his goal."How do they plan to achieve that goal? "First, by improving his dynamic balance," says Pugh, who's based outside of London. Molinari, a three-time winner in Europe, has been working on his core strength. Says Pugh: "This will allow him to store more power as he turns back and then unleash it through impact." Pugh says his student also has the mental strength. "He's a quiet guy, but that's deceiving. He's determined and focused on winning majors." Adding length to accuracy might be just what he needs.

NO WAGGLE
Francesco's ball-striking precision begins at address. Note the clubshaft is vertical, his head is well behind the ball, and his body is centered. Unlike most top players, he starts the swing from a still position. "We've tried to calm down his wrists," says his coach, Denis Pugh. "When he was young, he was very wristy. Not anymore."

STRETCH IT OUT
"There's very little lower-body movement halfway back," Pugh says. "I like that. But I'd like to see more stretch on the takeaway—more space between his left hand and right hip for a bigger arc and more distance."

In Frame 3, Pugh would prefer less wrist hinge: "I want the shaft at 11 o'clock instead of 12," he says.

GREAT TRANSITION
In Frames 4 and 5, Molinari's positions are nearly ideal. "I love this change of direction," Pugh says. "His knees hardly move as he turns to the top, then he leads the downswing with his left knee and lower body. I want him to think of lateral motion toward the target as his focus on the downswing."

Pugh says to compare the impact photo to the address photo: The shaft has returned to vertical, but almost everything else has changed. "The club is moving at 113 miles per hour, and his lower body has shifted toward the target," Pugh says. "He\'s unleashed the power he created in his change of direction."

MOVING FORWARD
Pugh says to compare the impact photo to the address photo: The shaft has returned to vertical, but almost everything else has changed. "The club is moving at 113 miles per hour, and his lower body has shifted toward the target," Pugh says. "He's unleashed the power he created in his change of direction."

A FULL RELEASE
Pugh marvels at Molinari's free-wheeling release of the club past impact. "There's no hint of flicking the wrists," he says. "This is why Francesco is so accurate off the tee and with his approach shots. His lower body is a picture of stability, and his clubshaft is pointing right out at the target."

STRESS-FREE FINISH
Molinari strikes a classic pose in the finish position. His right shoulder has rotated well past his left shoulder, and his back is straight. He has made a full shift to his front side, and is showing no strain. "This is a super example of a balanced swing that is stylishly efficient," Pugh says. "He could hold that finish forever."

"We looked at the stats and his abilities and determined he can't become one of the longest hitters on tour. But he can definitely be the longest straight driver out there. As he plays a lot more in America this year, that's his goal." – Denis Pugh

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