Power Shots

Shape Your Long Ball

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Sometimes you just get stymied. Here, I’ve got a tall ponderosa pine tree between the green and me. I could knock it up the right-hand side, but I’ll still be in the rough, or I could pitch it out straight left, but then I’d still have a good 175 yards to the green. Instead, I’m going to take a risk and hit a quick, powerful rope hook around the tree so I can reach the green.


Here’s how I do it: First, I aim the clubface where I want the ball to end up. Next, I aim my body lines toward where I want the ball to start. Then I swing along my body lines—not in the clubface’s direction! Just before impact, I make sure I release the club aggressively through the shot and try to finish with the clubhead swinging left and closed. It’s the easiest, fastest way to hit a snap hook, and with a powerful swing, you’ll be amazed at how quickly it whips right around that tree.

We’ve all hit a shot that feels really good at impact, only to look up to see that it has traveled well left of the target. It probably also went a long way because a pull is a very powerful shot. With that in mind, why not use it to your advantage. That’s right, pull it on purpose!

To purposefully hit a powerful pull, set up with your body aiming down the right side of the hole in a “closed” position. This promotes a backswing that travels inside and to the top of your swing.


The trick to hitting a controlled pull happens in the downswing. From the top of your swing, come over the top a little as you turn your chest through the shot. This starts the ball left of your body lines. Make sure to release the club through impact and swing all the way to a full finish. The ball should come out on a little lower than normal trajectory with maybe just a touch of movement based on your release conditions. By shifting your weight forward through the shot, your whole body should be moving through the shot which should help maximize your power.

Steve Dahlby, PGA, is the director of instruction at Forest Highlands Golf Club. He has taught numerous Tour players.


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