Pump It Up!

Learn to crank your next drive in seconds

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Everyone loves big, booming drives. In fact, I challenge you to find any golfer who's willing to give up even an inch of that precious driving yardage. And while today's equipment manufacturers market the heck out of why their stuff is the longest, the obsession golfers have with hitting it farther is nothing new. I imagine even Old Tom Morris spent day and night looking for new ways to crush it farther down the fairway.

The question, then, becomes, what if you really want to crank one? I don't advise going all out on every drive you hit, but what if you come up against a drivable par-4 or reachable par-5? What are you going to do, lay up? C'mon, you've worked hard all week following the boss' rules and now you have two days to do things your way. I say let the lead out and mash a few.

Whether you're looking to knock the socks off your opponent or set a personal tee ball record, here are a handful of quick tips that will help you nuke it when you want it the most.


HANDS
GRIP IT AND RIP IT
You may have heard the terms "weak" and "strong" related to the position of your hands on the grip. The image on the left is an example of a grip with the hands facing as if they're clapping, with the handle of the club settled down in the palms. This position is considered "weak," as the hand placement adversely affects the components of clubface and speed related to power. In essence, a weak grip creates a weak hit. Conversely, in the opposite image, the grip cradles the handle more in the fingers, with both hands rotated on the shaft to the right or away from the target. Coaching terminology would consider this to be a "stronger" grip than the previous example. A stronger grip puts the clubface in a better position to deliver a powerful strike, while placement more in the fingers helps to produce more speed or snap through the downswing.

Keep in mind that "weak" and "strong" are terms related to position, not pressure. When gearing up to bust it, avoid the common tendency to tense up. In fact, consider your grip pressure not only to be in your hands, but also extending throughout your entire upper body. I like to tell my clients to feel as if the connection between their hands and clubs is "secure," with soft and flexible wrists, arms and shoulders. Get these basic gripping components in line, and you can check one item off your list for crushing it.


FEET
SQUARE TO FLARE
For some reason, the majority of golfers who show up on my lesson tee do so with foot placement that's simply not good for hitting it big. If you want to pound it, you have to be able to really store up energy and then transfer it to the golf ball. For your swinging action, this means you need to wind up your body effectively in the backswing and then apply pressure to the ground as you transition powerfully into the downswing and follow through.

To do this, drop the "square" and go for some "flare." In the top image, this square foot placement inhibits a free release of the hips into the backswing, killing your ability to create a full shoulder turn. In addition, the square position of the front foot inhibits your ability to press hard into the ground and then turn through the hit. It also puts the lead ankle in prime position to produce too much roll, which can lead to injury. Keep in mind, I'm referring to foot position, not alignment. Flare your toes out about 20 degrees to each side, and you can check off item number two on your "mash it" list.


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