Stripe It!

Who says you can’t hit it far and straight?



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On the PGA Tour, they call it “Total Driving.” That’s the stat that ranks players according to how far and straight they drive the ball. Currently, Bo Van Pelt is the Tour’s best all-around driver, but there are a number of top-ranked players on his heels, including Zach Johnson, K.J. Choi and this year’s Northern Trust Champ, Steve Stricker (see the sidebar at the end of this story for more on Stricker’s excellent driving). Each man loves to hit his second shot with a short club from the short grass. Then again, who doesn’t?

In this article, I’m passing on my 10 favorite distance and accuracy tips. Some are old stand-bys, others are ones never before published in Golf Tips, but each one is easy to do and yields immediate results. Practice them and I guarantee you’ll hit the ball the farthest and straightest ever.

Swing In Sequence
Long hitters transfer energy from their body to the clubhead in the proper sequence of actions. Short hitters move all the same body parts, but in the wrong order.

Good downswings unwind from the ground up, through your body: hips, shoulders, arms, hands and then finally the clubhead. Ben Hogan referred to this sequence as a chain reaction that multiplies your clubhead speed so it’s moving the fastest at the last possible moment.

Notice here how my hips already are starting to unwind, my shoulders still are turned back, and the clubhead remains where it was at the “top” of my swing. I’ve just started to unwind, but you can see that what I’m doing is athletic and utilizing all my power.

Zachary Allen’s Stats
Driver: 9° Cleveland Launcher DST
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana (stiff flex)
Clubhead Speed: 107 mph
Average Driving Distance: 289 yards
Golf Ball: Srixon Z-Star

Find Your Grip…Halfway Back
To drive it as far as possible, it’s vital to create and maintain lag in your downswing. Great drivers, from Ben Hogan to Sergio Garcia, have done this remarkably well. Still, most golfers don’t realize that to have a lot of lag, you first have to have the proper grip—one that’s in your fingers, not in your palms.

To find the proper grip, hold the club in your right hand and take it halfway back. Now, place your left hand on it, holding the club in your fingers, with a slight bend in your left wrist. This helps you feel the right amount of lag and leverage. Now you’re ready to release it into the back of the ball.
Now, just return the club to address with your hands on it the right way and start hitting shots.


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