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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What Angel Does That Most Analysts Don't Mention

Golf Digest's blog called The Loop just added a post talking about how Angel Cabrera manages to hit the ball so far. The post also has a link to a swing sequence of Angel. It's all very good stuff that will help many of you.

But there's one simple thing that none of the analysts or instructors ever tell you about Angel's swing... and I'm going to show it to you now. Here's a slo-mo video that's also included in that post:

No doubt you've heard that Angel was a caddie and learned how to swing in the caddie yard of a course in Argentina. In fact, the note on one of the swing sequence photos says: "Angel Cabrera is the last of the true caddie-yard players, his swing a rough-hewn, self-invented action steered mainly by instinct and desire."

I'm going to show you something that is typical of many caddie swings, something that goes against much of what you've been told.

I want you to look at the video -- click on that little square in the lower right hand corner so you can see it full screen -- and watch Angel's change of direction. No doubt you've been told that you need to create as much separation as possible during your downswing. Separation means that your hips start turning toward the target long before your arms start the club on the downswing.

Look at Angel's swing, folks. There's hardly any separation at all!

Angel has more of a classic swing, built off his ability to feel the clubhead at the top of his backswing. He swings it back, feels when it slows down and is just about to stop and change direction, and then he starts down. His lower body starts his downswing -- it HAS to, that's just how physics works -- but he doesn't TRY to create separation. He just lets his body turn the way that feels most natural to him. For some people, that move DOES create more separation... but it doesn't for Angel.

And that lack of separation doesn't seem to hurt him any. At 6'1" tall he tends to hit a lot of 300-yard drives.

The classic swing is Angel Cabrera's real "secret." I often call it a "gravity swing." It's the basic technique once taught by Ernest Jones and now taught primarily by Manuel de la Torre. Teachers generally teach it using a weight on a string... but in the caddie yard, Angel learned it by mimicking the swings of the players he caddied for. It's the most natural way for most people to swing.

That is, unless they've been taught that the modern swing is the only way to swing. Then they focus on moving their lower body instead of swinging the club. Isn't Angel lucky that he had to figure it out for himself?