Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Hit It Big
Crush your drives with these fifteen tips
Grips are usually classified as neutral, weak or strong. A weak grip, where your hands are rotated to the left, adds loft at impact and makes your club of choice play a bit weaker. The result? Loss of distance. On the other hand, a strong grip (one where your hands are rotated to the right) de-lofts the club through impact, effectively strengthening the hit, adding more yards to your shot. Strong grip equals strong hit—it’s as simple as that!
To hit it deep, you need to generate some serious power, and a rock-solid, stable base is the best foundation from which to hit. Think of your driver base not as a stance, but rather as a “launching pad.” Much like the Space Shuttle needs a solid foundation to rocket out of the atmosphere, your footwork provides the foundation for balance and stability for a big, fast-moving swing. Little shots go narrow; big shots go wide!
Speed is a key component to generating power, but all too often, golfers try to manufacture it in the wrong way (usually by overusing their big muscles and forgetting the simple zip you can get from quality hand action). To create an efficient lever system, make a backswing where your right arm and corresponding wrist fold to create a “square” between your bicep, forearm and club shaft. On the follow through, re-create the same square with the opposite hand and arm. The faster you can move from square to square, the more speed you’ll have in your hit.
Bubba Watson leads the PGA
Tour in driving distance this year, averaging 312 yards off the tee. In 1999, John Daly held the honor at 305.6; in 1989, it was Ed Humenik. He averaged 280.9 yards.
Ben Hogan believed so much in the power of his dominant arm that he used to say that he wished he had three right arms at impact. Makes sense. Your dominant arm is naturally going to be the stronger of your two arms. To develop more arm strength in your dominant arm, practice hitting shots on a regular basis with only that arm. At first, it’s a bit difficult, but soon you’ll be amazed at just how far you can hit it. When you place your other hand on the handle, you’ll feel exactly what Hogan was talking about—the ability even in golf to deliver a “knock-out” punch!
Instructors talk a lot about the hands, arms and body when generating power, but we can’t forget about the simple power you get from just being able to consistently hit the sweet spot. Solid hits are all about swinging your club on plane.
To get a feel for your proper swing shape, address the ball with two clubs, one in each hand, side by side. With the first club, make a backswing, so that the shaft angle at the top matches the shaft at the bottom. Then return to impact, and swing the other shaft into the followthrough, again matching your original shaft angle. A little work with this drill will show you just how to swing your club on a perfect plane for solid hits.
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