*Editor's note: Every Monday, PGA professional Kevin Hinton examines the game of a recent tour winner and tells you what you can learn. A Golf Digest Best Young Teacher, Kevin is the Director of Instruction at Piping Rock Golf Club, Locust Valley, N.Y., and is a Lead Master Instructor for the Jim McLean Golf School at Doral Resort & Spa. He also teaches at Drive 495 in New York. This week, Kevin examines the incredible driving prowess of the long-hitting Spanish star Alvaro Quiros, who yesterday won the final event of the year on the European Tour, the Dubai World Championship by two strokes after sinking a 40-foot putt on the final hole for eagle. *
Kevin Hinton: While Alvaro Quiros did lead the European Tour in driving distance in 2011, as he has done four out of the last five seasons, he is a lot more than a long-ball hitter. The six-time winner on the European Tour has a simple, repeatable swing that creates enormous power with seemingly little effort. Let's take a closer look at the swing of Spain's next superstar.
There are a few notable characteristics in Alvaro's swing that stand out to me. The first is the amount of clubhead speed he creates with a relatively short, compact swing. It certainly helps to be 6-foot-3 and super athletic, but in addition to his natural abilities, Quiros has a very sound golf swing. Alvaro makes a huge shoulder turn over a very braced lower body. This allows him to create power without having to make a long swing. Bubba Watson and John Daly are in the oposite camp, creating their power with much fuller swings. While being flexible definitely makes Quiros' move easier, keeping a stable lower body in the backswing is a good thing for most people to think of, and can also add to consistency in contact. Of course, all players still need to allow their hips to turn, just try to avoid excessive movement.
The second thing I really like about Alvaro's swing is how the shaft works as he transitions into his downswing. When viewed from down the target line, you can see a distinctive "shallowing" of the shaft as he starts down, a little similar to the downswing of his countryman Sergio Garcia. For most golfers, the benefit of this move is that it puts the club on an inside track to the ball. Many amateurs tend to make the opposite move, where the shaft steepens in the first part of the downswing and the club comes down into the ball from outside the line. This will typically lead to slicing and hitting a lot of shots off the toe of the club.
Finally, notice Quiros' footwork as the club swings through impact. On many swings, you will see Alvaro's left foot spin out after contact, with his weight getting well outside his foot. This is a result of him using the ground for leverage and driving forward with immense force. It's actually a pretty common thing with power hitters, and is reminiscent of Johnny Miller's footwork. Keeping your left foot perfectly stable though impact is far from being a fundamental to good ball striking. If your left foot tends to do this, don't try to fix it . . . it's likely a good thing and the result of a natural athletic move.