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The secret sauce in Rickie Fowler's swing isn't what you think

February 27, 2017

Sam Greenwood

Rickie Fowler has always had a unique swing, with its signature "flat" arm position at the top and the hard sling through the ball. He's one of the guys you can recognize from two fairways over -- even if he isn't wearing technicolor Puma gear.

Given that the 5-foot-9, 150-pound Fowler averaged 307 yards off the tee while winning the Honda Classic by four over Morgan Hoffman, it's natural for the average player to want to try to get some of what Rickie has.

But if all you try to do is make your arms and the clubhead go flatter on the downswing, you're missing the boat -- and you're probably going to make your game worse.

"Everybody talks about him 'Laying the club down' or 'Holding lag,' but that's not what he's doing," says Golf Digest Best Young Teacher Michael Jacobs, who runs the X Golf School in Manorville, NY. "On the downswing, the hands move on a certain plane, and so does the clubhead. The players who produce the most efficient speed swing on a 'magic angle' -- where the clubhead and the hands move toward being on the same angle."

What does this mean in English? Trying to make the clubhead go "flatter" by pushing it toward the ground, or trying to make it "lag" by preventing it from moving toward the ball messes up this "magic angle" that Fowler uses so well.

"You can pull the whole club down in transition, but don't let the clubhead droop toward the ground while you do it," says Jacobs. "That way, you avoid having to re-route to get to impact, or doing a lot of stuff with your hands late to try to save the shot."