My Thoughts On Francesco Molinari’s Classic Swing Action

A WAX Nation citizen yesterday made a comment regarding Open Champion Francesco Molinari’s swing mechanics.

I have to say that I love how good some of you are getting a picking up on things on others’ swings!

Jason pointed out something I had noticed the first time I posted on Molinari’s Classic Golf Swing action:

I do find that Molinari lifts his foot a little earlier than ideal, but better to lift than not lift.

… I but had not mentioned because I didn’t want to nit-pick it.

That said, since Jason pointed it out, you can see in Molinari’s swing that he could get even more power out of an already powerful (avg 301 yards per drive for a 5’8″ golfer is… pretty good) action:


You’ll notice that what Jason called an early heel lift is exactly that – it’s not a synced action where the action of the hips & legs turn the shoulders and the heel comes up to allow full range in the hip rotation.

It’s more of forced lift rather than a reaction to the hip turn, and his back swing, while getting the shaft to parallel, isn’t as “cranked” as it could be to provide maximum leverage on the down swing.

That would be due to not very much rotation in the thoracic section, and my impression is that Molinari swings much in the manner of someone who has suffered either a back injury or chronic soreness, and therefor doesn’t want any spinal rotation at all.**

**Note: I have checked online and found a reference to a shoulder injury earlier in the year, but nothing with the back.

He’s been swinging with a releasing heel for some time as I found this clip on Youtube showing that with a hybrid or metal from the rear:


My guess is that he has to force that heel lift to get the full hip turn due to being left-biased at address:


… which really throws a wrench into getting to a proper top position with the driver (since we all know the proper impact position has the spine tilted right).

Other than the left-biased address, which will require a stronger “push-off” of the leading heel, I have no real criticism.

Even the un-cranked back swing – he could get more power by adding leverage from the top with more thoracic rotation, but  it works for him because you’ll see the nice “stomp” he puts into that left foot begin the down swing transition:


Notice as well no “flying foot syndrome” which is what smaller guys (like Justin Thomas) are supposed to get their power from – Molinari is 5’8″ and doesn’t work out, yet he gets 300 per drive with a solidly planted front foot because he’s getting his weight onto it from the right foot at the top of the back swing.

In other words, he’s getting all the leverage he can out of his top position, and not having to manufacture it or make compensations through the “3 To 9” phase as other do when trying to drive it 300 and beyond.

A pretty decent, leveraged Classic Golf Swing action!

So, for a guy who is driving it 300 yards on average, very accurately, and who has won 3 events in his last six, which one bogey on the 3 weekends when he won (thanks to Terry for that) – I’m certainly not going to say he should make changes!

If he wants more power off the tee though, he certainly can get that without changing this swing, just more thoracic rotation on the back pivot.


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10 thoughts on “My Thoughts On Francesco Molinari’s Classic Swing Action

  1. Jason

    Precisely what I saw DJ – I had no doubts that you caught it too. We hold an abstract concept of an ideal, ‘perfect’ swing in our minds. When something doesn’t match that picture, we see that divorce – that comes from knowing what and what not to do and I’ve learned as much about that from you as I have anybody who had valuable, worthwhile thoughts on how to swing a golf club.

    I agree: It is ‘nitpicking’ since his swing clearly works well enough to win an Open Championship – but that’s what makes it great – even the greatest players in the world are not above the ideals: we’re all beholden to it.

    1. D Watts Post author

      We hold an abstract concept of an ideal, ‘perfect’ swing in our minds. When something doesn’t match that picture, we see that divorce

      That, in a nutshell, is how you analyze a swing, Jason! There is a “model” of proper motion and anything that deviates from the model is evidence of a flaw, either in mechanics or positioning.

      Couldn’t have said it better myself! 😀

  2. Jason

    Really brilliant analysis DJ:

    My guess is that he has to force that heel lift to get the full hip turn due to being left-biased at address:

    My compliments.

  3. Jason

    Good catch also on finding that older swing of Mollinari’s – he’s better ‘cranked’ than the swing he won the Open with, which does possibly suggest that injury or something has prevented him from turning as much.

    But again, I suppose it’s a good case of utility in the sense that it works well enough.

    Btw, did you look through that Ben Hogan article I posted awhile back? What are your thoughts on his ‘secret’? It’s interesting because in “Golf My Way”, Jack Nicklaus mentioned that a flat, rather than hinged, position was the ideal way. To my mind, that might be true, but I think having Hogan’s hinge is an excellent safeguard for the bowed-Dustin Johnson position (which produces a more hook action), which allowed Hogan to consistently hit his fade.

  4. Jason

    Was watching this one – the epic masters clash between Hogan and Snead. Snead said in an interview the Hogan wasn’t driving it all that well that day (he also said that Hogan smoked an entire cigarette before some critical putt lol). Looking at the swings, it seems to me that Snead’s natural forward press motion put his body in a biased position whereas Hogan was a bit more stationary in terms of starting his backswing and from that little footage, looked like he was quite as biased as he could be. Hard to tell – just a guess.

    1. Jason

      I meant Hogan was not as biased as he could be. In fact, his position in the footage looked a bit closed.

      1. D Watts Post author

        What are you doing still up, Jason? Or are you in a different time zone? 😉

        Hogan used a closed foot stance when hitting driver, and adjusted his footing for each club:

        I did read what you linked to, but I don’t usually put a lot of stock in what many of the greatest swingers said in describing their own mechanics – much easier and less confusing to simply look at what they were doing.

        I agree though that a simple wrist action to cock the club is the most effective, and the more you manipulate the hands and wrists, the harder it is to be consistent.

        Hope that helps!

  5. Jason

    Lol, I don’t sleep enough dj – life of an entrepreneur. 🙂

    You are a true behaviourist – I love this: “I did read what you linked to, but I don’t usually put a lot of stock in what many of the greatest swingers said in describing their own mechanics – much easier and less confusing to simply look at what they were doing.”

    I agree, though personally the holy grail for me is to be able to find the connection between what they were saying and what they were doing – mind and body. Kind of tells a neat story.

    In regards to Hogan’s stance, you’ve mentioned the foot position, which you’re absolutely right about, but I was referring to his hip position at the start of his swing in the masters footage – your foot position can be closed, but the hips should be open and the back in the biased position right? As long as that’s set, the foot position is variable – is that correct?

    Snead’s forward press, which seems pretty noticeable in the masters clip, put him in the biased position to start the backswing. It’s kind of a neat little solution to kickstart the body in the biased position,no? I know you’re now more of the just start it at the right place (i.e. fundamentals trifecta) school – but I do sometimes miss seeing the rhythmic swings of the old forward pressers. It seems like its modern practitioners are almost embarrassed to use it (Rory, for example, barely moves in his forward press – i think he should just embrace it lol).

    1. D Watts Post author

      I was referring to his hip position at the start of his swing in the masters footage – your foot position can be closed, but the hips should be open and the back in the biased position right? As long as that’s set, the foot position is variable – is that correct?

      That is correct, J!

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