Sergio Garcia turned 40 in January. This is noteworthy for two reasons. Firstly, he’s been on the PGA Tour longer than recent tournament winner Matthew Wolff has been alive. Secondly, Garcia is still competing at a level that makes him a threat to win.
“He’s one of the greatest ball-strikers I’ve ever seen,” says Golf Digest Teaching Professional Jim McLean.
Garcia was a top-25 performer on tour in strokes gained/tee to green and strokes gained/approach the green in 2019, two key statistics that verify his ability to consistently work the ball any way he wants.
“And he’s got all the power he needs to compete,” McLean says. “The way he loads, creates width and unleashes all that energy in his signature downswing has always been impressive. Last year he averaged well over 300 yards off the tee – not bad for a guy around 40.”
Here are some keys to his swing:
short, but sweet
Sergio’s never had a long backswing, because he doesn’t need it, says Golf Digest Teaching Professional Jim McLean. “You can fully load into your right side without letting the club run off. When the shoulders stop turning, the arms should stop swinging.”
“We’ve marvelled for decades at how far behind his hands the clubhead lags,” McLean says. “He describes it as a pulling motion, but it’s more like his arms are falling as he unwinds from the ground up. Note how his right elbow dives into his right hip.”
Big tilt, soft knee
Garcia’s spine tilts away from the target as the clubhead approaches the ball, so he can hit up on it, McLean says. And he delivers the club with some flex in his lead knee. “So much for thinking that leg needs to be braced straight to generate power,” he says.
Full extension of the arms and club through impact is a sign of a great driver swing, McLean says. “A good feel for this is to let the lead shoulder move up and away from the target line as the club releases. And keep grip pressure light. No holding on!”
40 / 178cm / 82kg
Average drive (2019)
121 miles per hour