Power Tips & Drills

Learn to hit it big with my 10 simple drills and tips

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9. Power Setup. When I’m going for a few extra yards, there are a couple key setup fundamentals I incorporate to help reach that extra distance.

My stance is slightly wider than my shoulders. (I want to make sure I don’t overdo it and have poor balance.) I have just as much balance with a driver as I do with a 7-iron. Since my right hand is lower on the club than my left, my body must fit in the same way. That’s why my spine has a slight tilt back. My right shoulder is lower than my left shoulder, and my right hip is slightly lower than my left hip. This setup allows me to get into a great loaded position in my backswing. And the last and most important aspect of my setup is that my arms are relaxed so they can swing and generate speed with the clubhead. Remember this—tight muscles are slow muscles—so we want to be relaxed to generate maximum clubhead speed.

BONUS TIP: The driver is the biggest and longest club in our bag. You’d think that it would also be the heaviest, but it’s actually the lightest. If your grip pressure gets a little tight, it’s difficult to feel and swing the clubhead. (Remember, you want to have some speed in your swing.)

To get a feel for the clubhead and relaxed arms, turn your driver upside down, hold it just below the clubhead and make some swings while keeping your arms relaxed, so you can hear the club make a swooshing sound in the impact area. (Try holding it too tight and see if it makes a swoosh. Betcha it doesn’t.) Now hold the club normally. It should be much easier to feel the clubhead and should feel heavier than normal. That’s okay. It makes it very easy to feel the clubhead through the swing.

Now, try to make the swoosh sound again, and if you can, it means your arms are relaxed and you have the speed to hit some long drives.

10. Preturn! If you’re struggling to make a full turn, give yourself a little “preturn” that kick-starts your swing.

Take a look at what I’m doing here. Ideally, I want to turn my shoulders 90° and my hips 45°, so I can get loaded in the backswing and in the right position to swing the club to the inside of my target line. To swing from the inside, my body has to “react” to my arms in the backswing. It needs to turn and unwind. When it does this, there’s room for the club to drop to the inside. If it doesn’t, and I start the downswing with my arms and upper body, the club gets too upright, and I’ll cut across the ball and either slice or pull it.

Getting loaded at the top of the swing isn’t easy for a lot of golfers—it takes a lot of flexibility—but there’s a way to pull it off. Simply drop your right foot back about three or four inches at address. This allows your hips to turn a little more because they’ve already started a slight preturn at address. By making this preturn, you’ll have to do less to get your body turned and loaded. You’re not closing your stance, just moving the right foot to make it easier on your body to make a full turn.

Nick Kumpis, PGA, teaches golf in Southern California.

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