In the 17 years Denis McDade has worked with Marc Leishman, there have been two constants – Leishman’s fearless attitude and his artistic swing.
“The hallmarks of his swing are its relaxed, free-flowing nature and its simplicity, McDade says. “And don’t be fooled by his easy-going nature; he’s one of the most highly competitive people I’ve ever met. He’ll always try to win a tournament rather than play for second. He won’t die wondering.”
That combo of silky swing and go-for-it attitude helped Leishman to two US PGA Tour victories in 2017, the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the BMW Championship. Those wins quietly moved him into the top-15 in the Official World Golf Ranking, a place where Leishman would prefer to stay.
The key to that will be maintaining the balanced and athletic action Leishman has relied on for years, Melbourne-based McDade says.
Leishman agrees on its importance: “If my balance and tempo are good,” he says, “there’s not a lot that can go wrong.”
‘Marc’s power is unleashed into the ball.’ – Denis McDade
No Stress Setup
“The epitome of relaxed,” says coach Denis McDade. “The arms are gently extended, not rigid. This helps Marc keep the upper body tension-free and allows for the powerful, unrestricted swing he’s known for.” Also, he maintains a wide swing arc as he turns off the ball, McDade says.
Turning In Turn
The different amounts of rotation from Marc’s spine, hips and arms are co-ordinated, McDade says: “The sequencing is beautiful.” And though he’s coiling for a powerful downswing, there’s still very little stress in his body. “There are muscles being stretched, but the forearms are still loose,” McDade says.
While he rotates his torso around his spine, Leishman swings his arms upward. That’s why his left arm is bent at the top of the swing. “That’s OK as long as it’s not excessive,” McDade says. “We keep an eye on that. Actually, he drives the ball best when he looks just like this.”
Poised to Strike
“Marc is using his powerful body to freely unwind and accelerate his arms and club back towards the ball,” McDade says. “Notice how relaxed his arms still look in the downswing. They have put the club in a position to be slung at high speed into the back of the ball. He’s about to pound it.”
Getting Through It
His head and upper body are a little farther behind the ball than they were at address, “which suits the way Marc likes to deliver the club for the strike,” McDade says. “The left arm is fully extended for the first time. Impact is a moment in time you swing through, not a fixed position.”
The arms are long and have maintained roughly the same distance from the body throughout the swing, McDade says: “There was no widening or narrowing of the arc.” Because Leishman lacks a little flexibility in his left hip, he spins out his left foot. “This allows him to rotate into a full finish,” McDade says.
34 / 188cm / 91kg Warrnambool, Victoria
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