Power Shots

Shape Your Long Ball

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THE KEY TO HITTING the golf ball a long way is to generate significant clubhead speed and make solid contact. If you’re hitting the ball in the center of the clubface and maximizing your power sources, then it’s time you add some variety to your shot shapes and conquer some of the different situations you may find yourself in.

Fred Couples isn’t just one of the game’s best-loved golfers, he’s also one of its biggest hitters. Even now, at 51, he bombs it an average of 295.7 yards off the tee.

How does he do it? Well, Freddy might look like he’s swinging smooth and slow, but in reality, all his easygoing relaxation helps him eliminate tension so he can swing the club incredibly fast at just the right time—in the impact zone just before and after impact.

Although Freddy can draw the ball, the shot he’s famous for is the power fade. His fade gives him the best chance of keeping the ball in play while still smashing it. To hit the Fred Couples Fade, set up with your body lines aiming left like you see in the above left photo. This setup position promotes making a big turn and then coming into the ball from the inside. This is key. When many of us think “fade,” we think of an outside-to-inside swing path. But Freddy drops his club to the inside on the downswing and hits the ball hard from the inside, all the while making sure he releases and keeps the clubface from turning over through impact.

Power can be applied to all shot shapes. Consider the setups you see me in here. In the photo above, I’m setting up to launch my drive high. In the photo below, I’m setting up to bust it low. Let’s walk through them both.

To hit it high and launch your golf ball, tee the ball high and just inside your left foot, angle your shoulders away from the target and place about 60% of your weight on your right foot. This “lean-back” setup creates the perfect conditions for you to hit the ball on a slightly ascending angle so you catch the ball on the top of your club’s face. When you’re playing a shot downwind or are playing a soft golf course, a higher trajectory will help you maximize your distance. Learn to launch it high and you’ll see huge dividends.

On the other hand, if you’re playing a shot into the wind or the golf course is firm, a lower-trajectory shot might give you the best chance to maximize your distance. To “sting” it low, tee the ball down and set up so it’s a little farther back in your stance. Distribute your weight more on the left side, which will help your shoulders feel more level at address. Throughout the swing, try to keep your weight on the left side. This helps the club swing more downward into impact, and your ball will launch on a lower angle than normal.

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