6 steps to stripe it like Rafa Cabrera-Bello

December 6, 2019

Rafa Cabrera-Bello is the King of Cool. Everything he does is clean, clinical and by the book. He dresses great, he obviously goes to the gym and does the right things when he’s there—his swing oozes athleticism. It’s also loaded with many of the mandatory components for consistency and power: good ground-reaction forces, great sequencing and excellent body rotation through impact. It all adds up to a highly functional and, as you can see in the images below, pretty swing.

The 35-year-old Spaniard has come a long way since his early years as a professional. He lost his European Tour card after just one season only to regain it the following year. That’s when he really started rounding into competitive form. He grabbed his first European Tour victory at the 2009 Austrian Open. In the past three years, he’s rocketed up the OWGR with three top-five finishes in WGC events and two top 10s in majors. And let’s not forget that he went unbeaten in the 2016 Ryder Cup, collecting 2.5 points out of a possible three. Credit goes to his coach, David Leadbetter, who’s worked hard to exploit Cabrera-Bello’s natural athleticism. It’s world-class stuff, but truthfully, mostly moves any golfer can execute. If improvement is your goal, copy what you see here.

Below, find one takeaway from each position in Rafa Cabrera-Bello's beautiful swing.
Below, find one takeaway from each position in Rafa Cabrera-Bello's beautiful swing.

1. Address
A beautiful, balanced posture. His weight is over the middle of his feet with his belt line tilted slightly up. Notice that his upper spine is rounded, not rigid — a great way to eliminate tension.

2. Start
Look how his hips and ribs have started to coil, as if he’s screwing himself into the ground. His arms and club have gently hinged, getting the toe of the club to point up. Copy this!

3. Wind Up
Rafa’s torso and hips continue to rotate, and look at how tilted his hips and shoulders are. This helps create coil into the ground rather than just a loose “turn.”

4. Transition
Notice the “stretch” between his upper and lower body here. Perfect. Also note how far his arms have traveled from the top already. If you think you can simply pin your arms to your chest and spin, think again. Arm speed and sequence are a must!

5. Impact
Copy the “vertical” look in Rafa’s left side and the way he’s pushing off the ground. These are the keys to modern power.

6. Finish
A classic, balanced finish. Look how far around his right side has rotated and how much weight is over his front foot. It doesn’t get better than this.

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