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There’s a very good reason for Miguel’s nickname out on tour – and it has nothing to do with his beloved Ferrari’s. Miguel Angel Jimenez is one of the hardest working players in world golf and a player who totally understands his swing and the tendencies he has to be wary of

This is Miguel’s starting point in his preshot practice routine. With his right foot drawn back from the left (to help encourage an active hip and upper body turn) he moves his arms and the club ahead of the ball, from where he then gathers up momentum as he swings the club, hands and arms back over the ball, hingeing the wrists to create the exaggerated backswing you see opposite

The keys to Miguel’s pre-shot warm-up

At 46, Miguel Angel Jimenez is perfectly aware that he has to stay ‘loose’ to make the quality of swing he needs in order to compete with the young guns on tour today. And it speaks volumes for the talent of one of the game’s great characters that he has this year enjoyed one of his finest seasons on tour, with two victories in Europe and a starring role in that epic Ryder Cup match.

Miguel’s distinct pre-shot routine is much talked about and it’s something we have worked on now for the better part of six years. Rather like the way in which Corey Pavin makes an exaggerated rehearsal to neutralise the natural tendencies in his swing, Miguel focuses on creating early width combined with a full turn of the upper body.

Left to its own devices, his backswing tends to see the arms and the club wander too far to the inside with the result that he is prone to getting stuck, and forced into a sliding move with the lower body and then having to rely on hand action to recover, which is never consistent.

Miguel starts the sequence with the club a few feet ahead of the ball and then gathers his momentum as he swings the club, hands, arms and body together into the backswing sequence, at the same time cranking his wrists back to open up the clubface. Doing that helps him to guard against getting the face too shut – another tendency he is aware of and works to neutralise with this routine.

As the clubhead gathers pace Miguel works on rotating his left forearm and really cranking the wrists to get the clubface open, as you see here. He wants to see his arms ‘in front’ of him – i.e. opposite the middle of the chest. This is designed to neutralise a tendency to (1) get his arms too ‘deep’ and (2) to close down the clubface. The result is that he gets it somewhere in between the two extremes when he makes his swing for real on the course (although you can see that he does err on getting that left arm deep across the chest)

Stretching is key to Miguel’s motion

The pre-shot sequence on the previous spread is the warm-up routine Miguel uses both on the range and also out on the golf course. He looks to create width early in his backswing and plays his best golf when he enjoys a full shoulder turn, both on the way back and then as he unwinds through the ball. A consistent body action is the engine that drives his swing; our work together is essentially designed to eliminate independent arm action. In other words, the exercise that has become Miguel’s trademark is a ‘sequence maker’ – it gels the movement of the club, hands, arms and body. Which is why Miguel is one of the game’s most accurate and consistent ball strikers.

For my money, Miguel’s practice habits during a tournament offer up the best possible example for the typical club player. At 46, he knows that he has to keep his body ‘loose’, and that is why he spends so much of his time stretching and working on ways to keep his wonderful tempo. At the start of a session, he will typically swing two clubs together (which immediately eliminates any tendency to want to manipulate the swing with the hands), slowly building up momentum with the drill illustrated on the previous pages. He does this to exaggerate the very moves he wants to make real in his swing.

He will also stand up straight and swing the two clubs on a horizontal plane to free-up his body rotation. And the interesting thing is that he repeats all of his exercises rightand then left-handed. In other words he is mindful of balancing the two sides of his body. Anyone with a back problem should take note of this. One of the big problems with golf is that the action of swinging a club either right- or left-handed creates a dominant side – i.e. a right handed player will be stronger and more powerful in his right side, and vice versa. As my osteopath reminds me all too regularly, it’s vital that a golfer balances the two sides of his body.

And Miguel’s example is one all golfers should try to follow.

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