In this exclusive feature, Golf Monthly Top 25 Coach Barney Puttick offers his Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano swing analysis.
The Spaniard is one of the most consistent ball strikers on the European Tour. Over the past nine seasons he has amassed almost €7million, and in so doing has developed a reputation among his peers as being one of the best ball strikers in the game. The good habits that lie at the heart of his consistency are a chain reaction, kick-started by an excellent takeaway. Sometimes people can get a bit ‘handsy’ in the takeaway, jerking the club back quickly and on the wrong line, but Fernandez-Castano has a one-piece takeaway. By that, I mean his body works with his arms in the takeaway. With the two moving in sync, he has a really strong coil at the top of the backswing. In picture three of the sequence, you can see he’s in a great position.
His arms have only gone three quarters of the way back, but his body has made a full rotation. From here, the arms come down on almost the same swing plane they went back on. This shows the simple mechanics of the golf swing at work, moving exactly as they should. You can tell how well a player is using his body during the swing by looking at how his right shoulder passes under his left. With a lot of amateurs, and I’m sure some of you reading this will recognise this fault, there is a tendency to spin out of the shot. The right shoulder rides high during the downswing and this can cause a whole host of damaging shots. With Fernandez-Castano, though, the right shoulder passes under his left, allowing him to maintain his posture – crucial for consistently sweet ball striking.
If you take just one thing away from watching Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, let it be the way in which he links his arm movement with his body. If you watch the short video that accompanies this piece, you’ll notice that the club collects the ball through impact and that the momentum of the club almost pulls him into a naturally sound finish position.
The right shoulder has come a long way past his left, and I always think this is a sure sign of a great technique.