ROME — The youngest player at Marco Simone Golf Club this week isn’t Ludvig Aberg, who was picked for the Ryder Cup team despite only turning pro in the summer. Nor is it any player on the American side.

It’s Nicolai Hojgaard, the 22 year-old European Tour rising star who earned Captain Luke Donald’s 12th pick. One of Hojgaard’s two victories on the European Tour came at the Italian Open, hosted on Marco Simone, and he’s ranked 3rd-4th-5th-11th in his four years on tour.

Nicolai is joined here this week by his twin brother, Rasmus. Rasmus didn’t make the team (he finished eighth on the European side of the points standings), but is a vice captain for Team Europe.

Walking with his brother Rasmus during the final practice day before the Ryder Cup starts, I asked him a simple question: What is, in his opinion, the best part of Nicolai’s golf swing? The thing golfers had home should notice and learn from? Because, after all, outside of Nicolai himself, who knows his golf swing better than his own brother?

“That’s a tough one,” Rasmus said. “He’s got such an amazing swing.”

After a momentary pause to think, here’s where he landed…

Turning inside a strong setup

Hojgaard focused on brother Nicolai’s setup as a big key for what happens later in his swing.

“He’s got a very strong setup,” Rasmus said, getting onto golf posture himself with his arms extending. “He’s balanced over his feet, and presses all his weight into the floor.”

This, Rasmus says, provides a framework for the rest of Nicolai’s golf swing.

“Lots of golfers have a weak setup…they slump their shoulders, and their hip slide back and forth too much,” Nicolai says. “Because [Nicolai]’s setup is so strong, he can turn inside of it.”

It’s important to emphasize how important this not-letting-your-hips-slide move is on the backswing. It’s one of the most common swing killers for amateurs. When your hips slide too far back on the backswing, they can’t transfer their weight on the way through. It costs them power and consistency.

Nicolai knows that. And for him, as Rasums says, it all starts with the setup.

Read these two related tips…

How to make a powerful backswing turn

How to nail your transition ‘sequence’

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