Zephyr Melton

January 12, 2023

Rickie fowler is seeking his first PGA Tour win since 2019.


Welcome to Play Smart, a regular game-improvement column that will help you play smarter, better golf.

Rickie Fowler is showing a new swing and analysts are raving about it.

Fowler hasn’t played his best golf in years past, despite being a fan favorite on PGA Tour. He hasn’t finished in the top 90 of the FedEx Cup standings since 2019, and the last two seasons he’s been outside the all-important top 125. He hasn’t lost his card in that time, thanks to a variety of exemptions, but his performance on the course has been lacking.

It seems that losing yourself in the wilderness has prompted a swing change.

In a video posted by instructor Travis Fulton, Fowler’s move is much different from the one we are used to seeing. It’s more technically sound, and Fulton said it’s the “best [he’s] seen Rickie’s swing.”

Although the differences are obvious, the nuances are just so fascinating. And for help dissecting the finer points of Fowler’s new (and old) move, we enlisted the help of GOLF Top 100 Teacher Jonathan Yarwood.

Fowler’s old swing

Rickie Fowler’s swing in 2010.

Golf Channel

Fowler’s swing was incredibly laid off at the top when he first got on Tour. Fowler initiated the swing by placing his clubhead just outside his hands. He then dropped the club below the plane as he reached the top. This caused his hands to track outwards on the way down and created a steep angle at the moment of impact. This caused a hot-and–cold nature and a swing heavily dependent on timing.

“It’s a study in geometry, really,” Yarwood said. “It’s a study in hand track and geometry.”

Fowler’s clubhead had a bit of a “inverted D” shape, tracking straight up in the backswing and then looping back underneath during the downswing.

“Some players get it overly shallow,” Yarwood said. “And he was one of them. He did an over-shallowing move in the first part of the downswing. This forces the club to be extremely aggressive in the second part. It’s great for if you’re going to compress a short- or mid-iron, but it’s not so good as the clubs get longer because you cannot get the attack angle back up.”

Fowler’s new swing

Rickie Fowler swings 2023


The swing Fowler, which debuted in Hawaii this week, is very different. The loops that were the hallmark of his old move are gone. Instead, he’s much more on plane throughout the swing and relying far less on timing to square up the clubhead. This new swing has more of a “C” shape than the prior “inverted D” he used as a younger player.

“He’s getting the clubhead a bit more in and a bit more conventional at the start,” Yarwood said. “The clubhead is going more in and up. It makes the shaft slightly steeper on the way down, but still on plane, and then shallows coming into the ball in the bottom of the swing.”

Fowler’s clubhead is moving back and through on a comparable path. This allows him to create a higher angle and should result in more consistency when using his long irons.

“It’s by no means a finished product, but he’s made a lot of inroads,” Yarwood said. “And to change your swing that much takes a lot of guts.”

Sometimes, radical changes are necessary to get things on the right track. Fowler has already made those changes. We will all now wait to see the results.

Zephyr Melton Editor

Zephyr Melton works as an assistant editor at He blogs, produces and edits. Before joining the team, he attended the University of Texas. He also spent time with Team USA, Green Bay Packers, and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf.

Source link