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Monday, March 25, 2013

Beatriz Recari's Swing

Beatriz Recari got her second LPGA win in a playoff Sunday. And since the Limerick Summary has been weather-delayed for a day, I thought I'd go ahead and take a quick look at her swing.

Since Beatriz is only 5'4" but still averages over 250 yards off the tee while hitting 79% of her fairways and 71% of her greens, you might want to pay attention to what she does.

It's probably no surprise that she does the standard things I like to point out -- making a good one-piece takeaway, for instance, or avoiding a lot of hip sliding either away from or toward the target, which gives her good footwork and a nice weight shift -- but I'm going to look at where some of her distance comes from. Please note that she doesn't swing "out of her shoes" to get that distance either. Take a look at the videos and see if you can figure out what she's doing before reading my take at the end of the post.

Here's a down-the-line slo-mo shot:

Another DTL shot, but this one doesn't have slo-mo. However, the angle gives you a better view of her arm motion:

And finally, a face-on super slo-mo shot with a 7-iron. Just turn off the music if it bugs you.

Part of it is that she gets a fairly big arc during her backswing. That's a side effect of a good one-piece takeaway -- it gets the club as far away from your body as possible without you stiffening up, which costs you distance.

She also "lays off" the club when she starts down. That means she drops her hands onto a lower plane for the downswing than she has on her backswing. The flatter plane isn't what gives her extra distance, though some instructors talk like it does. (Some instructors believe an upright plane gives you more distance. I guess that's a matter of opinion.)

But watch what happens when she drops onto that flatter plane... see how her wrists cock on the way down? That little move delays how soon her wrists uncock during her downswing, and that keeps more of her wrist cock until her hands get closer to the ball. Her arms aren't moving particularly fast, but she creates a lot of club head speed down in the hitting zone.

You either have to have strong forearms or you have to slow your swing down enough that you can control the club in order to do this with accuracy. If you go to my Some Useful Post Series page and check out the first series on single-plane loops, those posts explain in more detail how the technique works. It doesn't matter whether you do it in two planes like Beatriz or one plane as my post series describes, it's the same principle.

And it does work. Just look at how far Beatriz hits it.

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