Sunday, May 1, 2005
Drive With Control & Power
Serious advice and drills for big, big hits
Lack Of Flexibility
Power hitters have incredible flexibility that allows them to rotate their shoulders and torso behind the ball for a full, coiled backswing. Most recreational players lack needed flexibility, and when flexibility is missing, the tendency is to make up for it with quick motions that produce shots that wind up in the most peculiar positions on the course.
Stretching is something that, if done daily for just a few minutes, will give you the physical ability to generate a more powerful and fundamentally sound golf swing. Heres a great, five-minute routine that we use at our academy.
Hamstring stretch. While sitting, stretch your legs as far apart as possible, then slowly lower your upper body without hunching your back. Hold for five seconds.
Torso rotation. Remain sitting and place a broom or even a golf shaft across your shoulder blades. Turn to the left, then right, holding for five seconds at each position.
Rotator cuff stretch. Place a pole or golf shaft under your tricep and hold in place with a finger grip. Pull the pole forward with your opposite hand and stretch.
Calf stretch. A powerful swing needs a steady platform, so your legs must be ready. A great way to warm up your calves and hamstrings is to prop your foot against a cart wheel, then lean forward until you feel the pull.
When swinging a baseball bat or throwing a ball, the natural tendency is to create leverage against the ground. This is key for hitting long drives as well.
Creating leverage against the ground starts with your feet. Begin by widening your stance to shoulder width, measuring from the inside of your heels. Flare your back foot in slightly to build a coiling post for your backswing and to support your torso rotation and weight transfer. Contrary to how it feels, this arrangement wont restrict your ability to rotate, but it will stop you from over-twisting your hips and producing the dreaded reverse pivot.
Make a few backswings in this new setup and you should soon sense a tighter coil. More important, you should develop an almost automatic trigger to start your forward motion. If we go back to the feeling of swinging a bat or throwing a ball, notice how the forward foot plants with your toe pointing toward the target. This open-foot position offers the best leverage into the forward swing and will naturally encourage your weight to shift and allow your rotation to powerfully unwind the hips, shoulders, arms and hands with full acceleration. For this reason alone, I advocate addressing the golf ball with the front foot flared slightly open. On the way back down to the ball, the key is to use leverage to create the dynamic weight transfer and acceleration that produces power. This is a simple flow of motion, employing the same coordination seen in everyday motions, such as walking, skipping a stone, tossing a ball or even closing the door of your car.
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