Saturday, February 1, 2003
Tension-Free DrivingDriving the golf ball consistently can lower your scores and increase your enjoyment faster than any other area of the game. Likewise, nothing is more frustrating than having your driver go sour in the middle of a round. When it comes to driving, one of the most common problems for amateurs and pros alike is too much tension. Overly tense muscles not only rob you of distance, but also make accurate driving, and long driving for that matter, extremely difficult. Plus, tension saps your body of energy, making it that much more difficult to play your best. To help get your driver back on track when you need it most, try this quick tip for greater relaxation and better swings.
Grip the club as hard as possible and take a few practice swings—consider this pressure a 10. Now, grip the club and swing hard with only the thumbs and forefingers of both hands—consider this pressure a one. Then, take your normal grip and concentrate on keeping the pressure at four or less. Once you’ve determined what the correct pressure feels like, make your only goal during the swing to concentrate on maintaining that exact grip pressure from setup to finish.
By concentrating solely on maintaining the correct grip pressure throughout your driver swing, you’ll not only alleviate overall body tension, but you should find you’re more able to swing freely without being encumbered by too many swing thoughts. In addition, you’ll be more aware of what’s going on with your body and your swing due to the lack of tightness in your hands and arms.
Make swings with the last three fingers on both hands off the grip. Swinging the driver with just your thumb and forefinger not only will alleviate tension, but also will help ingrain a feeling of effortlessness all the way through impact. Because you don’t have enough strength with a four-finger grip to manipulate the club, it forces you to swing simply by turning back and through using only your body turn and the force of gravity. After making a number of swings in this manner, you should find that this feeling carries over into your regular swing, improving both your tempo and timing.
PGA professional Todd Yoshitake is Director of Golf at Riviera C.C. in Pacific Palisades, Calif.