Whether he's being humble, matter-of-fact or simply doesn't want to reveal the secrets of his extraordinary ball-striking, Sergio Garcia rarely talks swing mechanics. He's a "feel player," he says, and tries to keep things as simple as possible: Focus on the target and then make a confident swing. But when pressed on how he has been able to sustain remarkable distance and accuracy off the tee, El Niño, now in his 18th year as a pro, did share some telling insights. Here's what he had to say. – With Ron KaspriskeFor over unlimited access to 150 video lessons on any of your devices, check out Golf Digest All Access.
I like to feel tall and relaxed at address. A lot of golfers hunch over the ball and really tense up, which restricts the whole motion. You want to be athletic, never rigid. I check my address posture all the time.
Start back with your body, arms and club moving together. When you reach this point, let your right elbow fold and your wrists start to hinge the club up. That keeps you swinging on the plane you set at address.
As you wind up, you want your front shoulder turning down. This is a power move, because it helps create more torque in your body that you can release coming down. It also helps you hit the ball from the inside. That's where your power is.
AT THE TOP
My swing is more compact than it used to be—you can see I'm not quite to parallel—and that helps my control. It's important to not be in a hurry to get down to the ball. Finish what you're doing going back, or your swing will be out of sync.My thought from the top: Imagine you're pulling a chain down with both hands.
Coming down, the only thought I've ever used is one my dad taught me: Feel like you're pulling a chain down with both hands. That keeps you from releasing the club early. Let the clubhead lag behind and then whip it through.
Look at the position of the butt of my grip compared with the last photo: It went from pointing down to pointing up. I'm letting the club release. Amateurs often force the club down to impact. Try to stay loose and let it gain momentum.
When tour players talk about staying down through the shot, this is what they mean. The ball is long gone, and I'm still basically in the same posture I was at impact. If you struggle to hit the ball solid, focus on staying down longer.
Your tempo determines how you finish. If you swing wildly, your finish will look off-balance and incomplete. Try to move the club fastest at impact, not before. Sync this with your body rotation, and you'll maximize distance and accuracy.