Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Learn how to increase your clubhead speed from one of the game’s longest drivers
This Article Features Photo Zoom
Take a survey of golfers anywhere in the world, asking what they’d most like to improve about their game, and you’ll get the same overwhelming response: They want to hit the ball farther. The most obvious way to hit the ball farther is simply to swing harder (assuming the impact location remains somewhat constant). But deciding to swing harder and doing it can be two very different things—kind of like deciding to be rich and actually becoming rich. However, there are a few specific moves you can make that have proven over time to help increase clubhead speed.
For this month’s Prospective, I’ve analyzed Alvaro Quiros’ swing. One of the game’s longest drivers, Quiros ranked third in distance on the PGA Tour last year, averaging a whopping 309 yards off the tee. Study his swing, apply his moves and start knocking the cover off the ball.
To create maximum speed, it’s very important that your hips are free to turn on both the backswing and the downswing. How wide you place your feet apart at address has a direct effect on your ability to turn your hips—the wider the stance, the more difficult turning becomes. To promote the most effective hip turn, address the ball with your driver as Quiros does here, so that the inside of your feet are no farther apart than the outside of your shoulders. If you’re not very flexible in the hips, turning your toes out a bit (as he does here) and narrowing your stance will help promote turning.
2) BACKSWING SEQUENCE: Golf is no different than other athletic endeavors, in that the sequence of motion is vital to applying maximum force at the desired time. In golf, the backswing sequence isn’t as absolute as the downswing sequence in regards to the player’s ability to generate maximum speed; however, there is a backswing sequence that helps facilitate maximum speed. You should feel as though your backswing begins with the clubhead moving away from the ball. In other words, your body rotation should begin in response to the clubhead movement, not preceding it. This move will give you the best chance of combining the rotation of your body with the swinging of your arms and clubhead. Properly coordinating your backswing can definitely result in a more powerful downswing.
3) HIP TURN: A lot has been written about the role of the hips during a player’s backswing, but one thing is for sure: If you’re looking to increase your clubhead speed, let your hips turn like Quiros does in the upper left photo on the opposite page. A bigger hip turn on the backswing has two advantages. First, it increases the length of your backswing, and second, it encourages the proper weight shift, which is from the ball of the back foot toward the heel—not laterally toward the outside of the foot, which commonly occurs during a sway. Both these moves that Quiros makes will increase the potential energy stored up during your backswing, giving you the opportunity to generate more clubhead speed on your downswing. Lastly, note how Quiros has maintained some knee flex in his back leg while he has turned his hips. Locking the back leg can actually hinder the lower body from starting the downswing, resulting in a power-robbing, out-of-sequence downswing.
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