Published: Tue, 02 Apr 2013 00:00:00 -0700
Published: Tue, 19 Mar 2013 00:00:00 -0700
Lean toward the ball from the hips, as opposed to stretching out the arms in an attempt to get wide.
From an upright setup, I'm likely to remain too upright throughout the golf swing.
Published: Tue, 26 Jun 2012 00:00:00 -0700
Published: Tue, 29 May 2012 00:00:00 -0700
Published: Tue, 01 May 2012 00:00:00 -0700
|Grip your left wrist with your right hand, from underneath. This will position your right elbow in the proper place during the golf swing.|
|Even though I'm just demonstrating here, this is the position where I really want to feel the flex of the shaft in my left arm.||Once I reach this point in my swing, the clubhead releases and flings into the back of the golf ball. Any sooner and I'll lose all my power!|
Published: Tue, 03 Apr 2012 00:00:00 -0700
Published: Tue, 08 Nov 2011 00:00:00 -0800
Published: Tue, 08 Nov 2011 00:00:00 -0800
Published: Tue, 08 Nov 2011 00:00:00 -0800
Seriously, we make a point in virtually every issue of Golf Tips and in our Golf Instruction Annual to reinforce the importance of wearing good golf shoes. Why? First, you need traction to leverage your body effectively against the turf. According to some of our instructors, many of their students ignore the importance of good footwear, and their feet move, slip and slide all over the place during the golf swing. When this happens, power leaks like a sieve, and so does any chance at hitting consistent, repeatable golf shots. So find a pair of golf shoes that have ample traction, and look for models with dual-pod soles. Dual-pod soles have two halves: the toe section and the heel section. By separating the two, weight can be transferred from heel to toe more effectively during the golf swing.
And finally, don't neglect comfort. You want a comfortable pair of golf shoes, but that doesn't always mean you need the softest, thickest layers of cushioning. In some cases, lower-profile, firmer soles with ample arch support are more comfortable than soft, mushy shoes with less stability. Shop around and see what works best for you. And don't dismiss the newer, spikeless golf-shoe trends. They too have great traction, stability and comfort.
Published: Tue, 17 May 2011 00:00:00 -0700
Published: Tue, 29 Mar 2011 00:00:00 -0700
Why do we wear spikes on our golf shoes? One, we don’t want to slip and fall walking all over the golf course. And two, we need traction and stability as we make golf swings. That isn’t to say the foot shouldn’t move during the swing—it does, but without traction, we would lose sight of how the foot should move.
So what do you do? Get a good pair of golf shoes. Pay attention to not only spike patterns for traction (almost all shoes have good traction now), but also what’s called “good torsional stability,” meaning they don’t twist like a common sneaker would. A good rule of thumb: The less your shoe twists, the more you can twist your body and make a fuller swing. Second, look for shoes that have “dual pod” sole configurations. This means the toe region and heel region of the shoes are actually separate pieces of the sole. This helps you better shift your weight from the back of your foot toward the front—again, a must-do if you’re looking for more distance in your swing. And finally, don’t neglect comfort. Just because a shoe is made with less twisting capabilities, doesn’t mean it can’t still be comfortable to wear and walk in. Look for shoes with adequate cushioning and shoes that lace up securely. Most blisters come not from stiff or new shoes, but from shoes that don’t fit right. Follow these guidelines, and your feet will thank you.
Jon Paupore, PGA, teaches at the Jim McLean Golf School at Red Ledges in Heber City, Utah. Visit redledges.com.
Published: Tue, 15 Mar 2011 00:00:00 -0700
Published: Wed, 02 Feb 2011 00:00:00 -0800
Published: Tue, 02 Nov 2010 00:00:00 -0700
Published: Tue, 05 Oct 2010 00:00:00 -0700
FOREARMS SHOULD TOUCH
DON’T CHICKEN WING
Published: Tue, 24 Aug 2010 00:00:00 -0700
|Zachary Allen’s Stats
Driver: 9° Cleveland Launcher DST
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana (stiff flex)
Clubhead Speed: 107 mph
Average Driving Distance: 289 yards
Golf Ball: Srixon Z-Star
Published: Tue, 16 Mar 2010 00:00:00 -0700
Published: Tue, 16 Mar 2010 00:00:00 -0700
|Just Right!||My Club’s On Plane|
|Too Tall!||My Arms And Shoulders Don’t Match|
Published: Tue, 19 Jan 2010 00:00:00 -0800
This is what Sadlowski tries to avoid. Any collapse at the top of the swing will cause the swing arc to shrink, resulting in a big loss of power. It also makes holding the right spine angle more difficult.
By extending his left arm, Sadlowski ensures a long, wide backswing. Now, it may not look wide because of the ample wrist cock, but don’t be fooled. Sadlowski has taken a huge backswing—as wide as he can, actually.
Practice using two tees placed behind the ball to encourage more width (as Sadlowski does). It will help you take a longer and lower backswing. But, don’t forget the followthrough. As Sadlowski demonstrates, a full extension after contact is equally important.
Published: Tue, 19 Jan 2010 00:00:00 -0800
Height: 6 feet, 3 inches
Weight: 180 pounds
Hometown: Bagdad, Florida
2009 PGA Tour Highlights:
Earnings: $1.43 million (53rd)
Driving distance: 311.4 (2nd)
Eagles (holes per): 77.3 (1st)
Putting average: 1.762 (54th)
Fastest clubhead speed on the PGA Tour in ’09: 123.24 mph, with a ball speed clocked at 194 mph
Longest drive: 398 yards (’06 Sony Open)
Self-taught; learned by hitting Wiffle balls around the house
Has never received a formal golf lesson
Attended same high school as Boo Weekley and Heath Slocum
Is an avid basketball fan (his wife played professionally)
Has developed a loyal fan base, thanks to his often irreverent yet impressive video Tweet Reel @bubbawatson
Published: Tue, 19 Jan 2010 00:00:00 -0800
Published: Tue, 19 Jan 2010 00:00:00 -0800
|The key here is to hit on the lower portion of the face. As shown by the top photo, hitting lower on the face will generate more backspin, helping the ball to lift higher and quicker. If you catch the ball more in the middle (lower photo), the ball is likely to travel on a lower trajectory out of the bunker.|
Published: Thu, 12 Nov 2009 00:00:00 -0800
Bubba Watson leads the PGA
Tour in driving distance this year, averaging 312 yards off the tee. In 1999, John Daly held the honor at 305.6; in 1989, it was Ed Humenik. He averaged 280.9 yards.
Published: Tue, 01 Sep 2009 00:00:00 -0700
|You don’t have to be 6’4” or 250 lbs to hit it long, as Jamie Sadlowski proves with his 400-yard blasts.|
Published: Wed, 29 Apr 2009 17:00:00 -0700
Notice how my back is turned completely away from the target at the top of the swing. This move helps get
To avoid a power -sapping reverse-pivot, make an effort to keep your right knee flexed as you reach the top of the backswing.
Published: Tue, 03 Mar 2009 17:00:00 -0800
With today’s enormous drivers, it has become easier to hit the ball a long way. But if you slice the ball, you’re probably not getting the type of distance you deserve, since sliced shots not only miss the fairway, but also rob you of powerful distance.
A sliced shot is caused by two factors: the shaft swinging down on too steep a plane and a clubface that’s open at impact. For a quick fix, address the ball with your normal posture. From this position, elevate your driver head approximately one foot above the ground. From here, make a few full swings from above the ball (as shown). It’s important to keep the arms and hands soft to encourage an aggressive release and a “turning over” of the hands through the impact area. This drill will help you feel your hands and arms rotating as they pass the center of your body.
Furthermore, this drill motion is vital in allowing the clubface to square itself through impact. By swinging above the ball, you’re effectively swinging on a shallower plane, which helps speed up the hands through the impact zone in order to do so. Give this drill a few tries (even mid-round if you find yourself flailing tee shots to the right), and in no time, you’ll see and feel your tee shots drift less to the right and more toward the middle of the fairway or green.
John Stahlschmidt, PGA, is the Head Instructor at the TOUR Academy at the TPC of Scottsdale in Arizona. For more information, visit www.pgatourexperiences.com.
Published: Tue, 02 Sep 2008 17:00:00 -0700
In this illustration, you can see that I’m standing in the middle of railroad tracks. Well, I’m not really standing on the tracks; I’m using the image to help aim and align myself to my target. Picturing the tracks’ parallel lines helps me identify my primary target (and intermediate target) and keep my body lines parallel to one another. All too oftenI see golfers address the ball with contradictory body lines (their feet aim to the right, but their shoulders aim to the left, for example). Not only do these “crossed lines”minimize a golfer’s chance of making solid contact, but they force him or her to make awkward adjustments inthe swing just to get the club on path. Notice how my feet, knees, hips, shoulders and clubhead are all parallel to the tracks. That’s how you want them (unless you’re purposefully trying to cut or draw a shot). The next time you play, bring this railroad tracks image with you. Set up parallel to your target line and swing away.
Â•David Christenson is GM of Lyman Orchards Golf Club in Middlefield, Conn.
Use the image of a railroad track to align yourself for each shot. It will help you keep your body lines parallel and your stance perfect for each shot.
Published: Mon, 28 Jul 2008 17:00:00 -0700
Lag For Power
Casting the club from the top of the swing (arms straightening prematurely) is one of the most common power leaks for the amateur player. This move results from a downswing that’s initiated by the muscles in the arms and upper body, and makes it almost impossible to store energy during the downswing. In contrast, the downswing I’m making here was initiated with the core of my body and my feet. Notice how deep my right elbow is and the relatively extreme angle that’s created between the clubshaft and my right forearm. This “lag” stores a ton of power. To learn this move, try letting your arms stay loose and initiating your downswing by shifting your weight to your left heel and rotating your stomach and hip in a counterclockwise direction.
The grip you use can have a definite effect on your ability to create lag, depending on the flexibility of your wrists and forearms. For most players, the interlocking grip can interfere with flexibility, so try the overlap or the 10-finger grip you see here.
Kevin Scheller works with a wide array of students, including PGA Tour rising star Anthony Kim.
Published: Mon, 30 Jun 2008 17:00:00 -0700
Published: Sat, 31 May 2008 17:00:00 -0700
The hardest shot in golf is the one that flies in a straight line. It’s so difficult that even the best players in the world rarely try to hit it, mainly since this shot requires the utmost in timing and precision. Draws and fades are a lot easier to repeat, however, considering each has varying degrees from which one can produce a good result. Some fades and draws are more pronounced than others, but with the proper mechanics, any type of fade or draw can work to your benefit and can be much more repeatable than a shot that flies straight. The key is in knowing the difference between hitting a draw vs. a fade. And despite what you may have learned, the difference isn’t in how the club is taken back on the backswing, but instead how the club is initiated from the top of the swing, through the hitting area and into the finish. The backswing won’t be covered here; instead, we’re focusing on how the body initiates the downswing and what differences in positions and mechanics are made in hitting a fade and a draw with the driver. And although the differences may appear subtle, the effects on the golf ball actually are quite substantial. With these simple tips, you’ll never want to hit it straight again.
Fade: At the top of the backswing, the hands need to be high above my head, the gloved hand cupped and the left elbow flared out. All these positions indicate a steeper plane, which helps to hold the face slightly open at impact.
Draw: Hitting a draw means lower hands, a flat left wrist and a more rounded plane. As for the lower body, both swings should have the same turn and weight shift. The secret is the position of the upper body at the top.
Fade: If you’re in the right position at the top, it’s critical that you maintain a more upright plane midway through the downswing. Don’t get stuck dropping the club behind you or else snap hooks and big blocked shots will happen. In a mirror, the shaft should bisect your left arm, ensuring a steeper angle into the golf ball.
Draw: Hitting a draw means swinging the club from the inside, so it’s important you get it there. Leave the clubhead behind you to produce a flat angle, and let the shaft bisect your right shoulder (as shown). This means you’ll swing from the inside and start the ball to the right and draw it back toward the fairway.
Fade: Now is when the body needs to rev up! Since the upright angle is what’s used to get to the ball, it’s critical that the body rotate fully to help square up the clubface. You can’t hit it left to right if you never get to your left first! A strong lower-body rotation is key to avoid hitting blocked shots and instead hit those beloved baby fades!
Draw: Unlike the fade, the draw is an arms-driven swing, as long as you remember to swing from the inside. If so, the bottom of the arc is highlighted by less body movement and a more active rolling of the hands through impact. A draw never draws with an open clubface, so making sure that the face is square and the arms release is crucial.
Fade: A good swing thought to have when trying to hit a fade is to remember to keep the clubhead high through impact. Here, you can see my weight has transferred to my forward side and I’ve retained the same plane angle I had at the top of my backswing. As for my lower half, it’s in the same position for both swings.
Draw: The strong overlap of my hands tells me I had no problem closing the face through impact. When this happens, the swing plane flattens, and like the fade, it mimics the position I was in at the top and midway through the backswing. Just remember that a draw is an arms-dominated swing and the fade is more of a body-rotational move.
Fade: The finish position for a fade is what you might expect. The hands are high, the torso is fully rotated and the head is facing the target. If you want to adjust the degree of fade that you put on the ball, all you need to do is make a few simple adjustments to the clubface position at address. For more fade, open the clubface more. Just remember not to overmanipulate the body. The last thing you want is to get too upright and too steep into the ball. That will cause slicing and eventually make it difficult to hit the golf ball with any consistency. Also, remember that fades typically don’t travel as far as draws due to the ball’s added backspin. Nevertheless, more backspin means it’s likely the ball will stay in the fairway rather than roll off it.
Draw: Check out my arms in the photo (above, right). They’re lower and my finish is more rounded. This is because my upper body outrotated my lower body through impact. Unlike a fade, where my whole body rotates, my arms have led the move. Now, look at my left elbow. It’s behind me, as opposed to at my side after I’ve hit a fade. This proves I’ve turned the club and my arms/hands have released and rotated through impact. If you want to adjust how much your ball draws, all you have to do is close the face more. Still, the key is that a draw must be executed from the inside-out. Any other way will produce pulls and severe hooks. Remember, draws go farther than fades, so be sure to expect some added roll to the left.
Derek Nannen, PGA, is the Director of Instruction at the Eagle Mountain Golf Academy in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Published: Thu, 01 May 2008 09:20:27 -0700
|Setup Is Key I always tee the ball well forward in my stance. This allows me to hit it with an ascending blow.||No Roll Allowed Notice how my right wrist hasn’t broken down in the takeaway. This is a strong position.||A Wide Arc My arms are fully extended, which creates a wide arc for the club to travel along.||Turn, Turn, Turn I’m not the most flexible person, but my shoulders are clearly working around my body.|
|Shift Your Weight A lot of players place too much weight on their front side. Here it’s moved to my right leg.||Go Long The club is well past parallel, but that’s okay with me. This makes my swing longer and more powerful.||Squatting Rights Notice how both knees are bent in a squatting position. Tiger Woods makes this same move.||In Storage I’ve retained the angle between the shaft and my left arm well. This stores energy until I release it.|
|Post Up A lot of players let their front leg buckle, which is a big mistake. Here my left leg is posted up nicely.||Stay Behind It You can clearly see that my head is behind where the ball was at impact. This creates leverage.||Knockout Punch My right side has powered all the way through the shot, like a boxer’s knockout blow.||Balance Is Key You don’t want to fall down after impact. It looks bad and actually drains your transfer of energy.|
Published: Wed, 30 Apr 2008 17:00:00 -0700
|watch the video »|
There’s at least one basic certainty in golf and that is that good, solid contact produces quality shots. Every player, even those who compete on the PGA Tour, knows this and strives to perfect the moment of impact. Unfortunately, many recreational golfers don’t make high-quality contact as often as they should, in part because they simply don’t know the key elements necessary to do so. Knowing and practicing the key elements of impact is critical to producing consistently well-struck shots, so you must be aware of the basics, as well as the fact that there are significant differences between properly striking a ball with an iron and doing so with a driver off a tee. Study the keys that I provide and practice them, and I guarantee your ballstriking will improve in no time.
All good players are good ballstrikers. That’s the basic secret to producing shots that have a solid sound and feel and travel a long way. To strike the ball properly, you must learn the key differences between iron and driver impact.
Published: Thu, 01 Nov 2007 15:08:53 -0700
The Eyes Have It
Jacobson’s eye line is parallel to the target line. This is a critical alignment to facilitate the club’s correct path approaching impact. If the eyes point to the right of the target, the club will likely come excessively from the inside. If the eyes point to the left, the club will be excessively steep. Matching the eye line to the target line is a great way to get the club on the correct path.
The right forearm and clubshaft are perfectly in-line before impact. This is the test for an on-plane delivery position. If the shaft is below the arm, the club is too flat, and if it’s above the arm, it’s too steep. When the shaft lines up correctly, the likelihood of solid contact increases significantly.
Regardless of whether the clubface was open or closed during the backswing, or if the left wrist was bowed or cupped at the top, it’s the alignment of the two in the delivery position that really counts. Jacobson’s left wrist is flat, and the leading edge of the clubface is parallel to it. This square position is all that matters, and Jacobson does it perfectly.Elbow Glued To The Hip
The correct sequence of motion beginning the downswing creates the proper tilt of the right side. This allows the right arm to bend, creating a powerful position while ensuring an on-plane attack. Keeping the right arm close to the hip encourages the body to drive the arms and club through impact, minimizing the role of the hands during contact.
There’s no question that getting into the front of the shoes on the downswing will promote a more active lower body. While this is great for the right foot, it can be problematic if the weight moves excessively into the front of the left foot. This can block the proper release of the club and is something Jacobson should improve upon to produce more consistency.
Jacobson’s downswing is unfolding in the perfect order. His feet, knees and hips have begun the motion and are now more open to the target than his shoulders. This proper sequence of motion not only produces maximum power, but also creates tilt in the right side that gets the club attacking on plane.
Published: Sun, 16 Sep 2007 17:00:00 -0700
Like all members of the PGA Tour, I play a lot of rounds with recreational golfers in various pro-ams and charity tournaments. If there’s one thing I notice during these rounds, it’s how inconsistent most weekend players are off the tee. Obviously, the driver is the most difficult club in the bag to hit consistently, due to its long length (most off-the-rack drivers measure about 45 inches) and low degree of loft.
However, most recreational players make the driver even more difficult to hit accurately by taking a home-run swing every time they tee it up, which tends to result in one or two relatively long drives in the fairway, and countless others that don’t fly very far and wind up all over the place, including on the wrong side of the OB stakes.
It’s easy for me to tell when golfers are swinging too hard for their own good, even before I see the result of the swing. All I have to do is watch the body in the finish, and I can tell by the way they fall over, or backward or sideways, after the swing, that they don’t have control over their body or the golf club. Overswinging is one of the biggest and most common mistakes in golf, and believe it or not, it doesn’t just reduce accuracy, it also can minimize distance.
Anyone who regularly watches PGA Tour events knows how comfortable and balanced most of the players look as they hold their finish on the tee and watch their shots fly down the fairway. This “posing” isn’t just for looks; it shows that the player has made a well-balanced, controlled swing. Recreational golfers, on the other hand, can’t pose because their bodies are out of control, which makes squaring the clubface at impact (for accuracy) and making solid contact (for distance) extremely difficult. To get your motion, and your shots, in better control, I suggest concentrating on balance more than speed in your swing.
To improve your balance and hit consistently straighter drives, try to make some swings with your driver while keeping the sole of your right shoe in contact with the ground through impact. Make these swings at about 70 percent of your maximum speed and be sure to make a full turn of your shoulders through the ball. Try not to let your foot come off the ground until it’s pulled up by the rotation of your body, and concentrate on maintaining your balance as you pose in the finish. I know this sounds like a simple technique, but if you can learn to swing and finish under control, you’ll hit the ball a lot straighter, and probably longer, than you ever have before. Just keep the urge to overswing in check, and your driving will improve almost immediately.
"A lot of weekend players think of the driver as a club made just for distance, and simply choose the one they think they hit the longest. But finding the right clubhead and shaft combination can improve your accuracy, especially if you’re currently playing a club that has too little loft, or a shaft that’s too stiff. In general, most recreational golfers are better off using a driver that has more loft, and a shaft with more flex, because that combination provides a lot more forgiveness. On days when the swing and timing aren’t working as well, a more forgiving club can be a big help."
In The Bag
Slocum currently is playing the new PING G2 driver with 7 degrees of loft and an extra-stiff shaft. At 460cc, the G2 is the largest driver PING has ever introduced and also is the easiest to hit. Features of the G2 include an innovative, precision-milled variable face thickness, which is designed to transfer more energy at impact for greater distance, as well as variable sole thickness, which places more weight low and toward the back of the clubhead for lower spin rates and higher, more optimal launch angles. Slocum also carries a mixture of PING S59 Tour irons and G2 irons, as well as a hybrid iron that has the loft of a 2-iron, but is easier to hit.
Heath Slocum earned his first PGA Tour victory at the 2004 Chrysler Classic of Tucson. As of April 5, 2005, Slocum ranks 19th in driving accuracy and 28th in the total driving category on Tour.
Published: Tue, 15 May 2007 11:35:19 -0700
Published: Tue, 01 May 2007 14:34:15 -0700
So you think you’re a big hitter? Well, consider this. Today’s top long drivers don’t bunt the ball a measly 250 yards off the tee. Heck, a mediocre wallop drops somewhere around the 320-yard range. Frankly, these guys aren’t satisfied with anything under 400 yards when it comes time to winning a paycheck. Now that’s long!
Lucky for you, the longest hitters in the world are actually pretty keen on knowing and talking about what it takes to produce Hulk-like power off the tee, and they’re here with a special expanded feature just for Golf Tips readers. With the help of 13 competitors, we took a few snapshots at the latest RE/MAX World Long Drive Championships in Mesquite, Nev. (where Jason Zuback won his unprecedented fifth championship with a 412-yard bomb), and let each long driver describe in his own words what his ingredients are for more pop. (Honestly, we somewhat expected to hear guys talk about hitting the gym and pumping weights, but not a single barbell was mentioned. Instead, what you’ll find may surprise you.) Read on.
Golfzilla Jason Zuback
5-time RE/MAX World Long Drive Champion
If you want to add some serious power, you have to first learn how to generate “effortless power.” What’s effortless power? It’s the feeling of having the body in sync and the swing feeling simple, as if you put little effort into hitting the ball. To achieve effortless power, try keeping your hands soft throughout the swing and leaving the club at the top of your backswing for as long as possible. By soft hands, I mean keeping your muscles supple from your elbows through your fingers. Doing this helps promote a quicker, snappier release through impact. By leaving the club at the top, here’s what I mean: Once you get your body set at the top of your backswing, keeping your club at the top allows you to begin the downswing not with your hands, but with your larger, more powerful trunk and leg muscles. By driving the downswing with the body and then with the hands, you can achieve some serious lag that’s going to release when your clubhead meets the ball. Stick with these two swing thoughts, and you’ll find that effortless swings are the secret to more distance.
2005 & 2006 World Long Drive Champion, Senior Division
To get the most distance out of any club (not just the driver) you have to be flexible, and the only way to get flexible is to stretch. Ever hold your club over your shoulders and simulate the golf swing? Well, sorry to say, that’s not the way to stretch. The proper way to stretch your golf muscles is to hold the arms over the shaft as I’m doing below. Trust me, you’ll feel it when you rotate back and through.
2003 LDA Tour Leading Money Winner
Want a quick tip for more power? Try this. Instead of teeing the ball in your normal ball position, move it forward in your stance between four-to-six inches. This encourages you to swing down and through and fully transfer your weight down the target line. Also, since you’ll be reaching farther, you’ll find that you need to extend the arms to make really solid contact. The greater the extension, the more speed that follows. After a few tries, return back to your original position and notice how much more effective your weight shift and arm extension is. Oh, and by the way, check out the extra distance I just helped you get!
The Beast Sean Fister
3-Time World Champ
To hit some bombs off the tee, I concentrate on swinging around my right knee. I first do this by remembering to get my left shoulder above my right knee at the top of my backswing. Then, as I initiate my downswing, I concentrate on rotating around my right leg and allowing my right shoulder to come under my left and turn into the ball. By swinging around my right leg, I not only activate my strong side, I also encourage an upward blow into the ball by maintaining a spine angle that tilts away from it. Hey, you’ll never be a long driver if your body outraces the clubhead, so make sure you swing around your right leg and let your bigger, stronger muscles fire down the target line and into the golf ball. Stay behind it and release the hands at impact!
Published: Tue, 01 May 2007 10:14:42 -0700
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Published: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 14:26:49 -0800
There are many keys to a powerful swing, and my number-one focus is to establish a powerful backswing coil. Notice how my left arm is parallel to the ground while the shaft is perpendicular to it. This position indicates a massive turn away from the ball and not a simple lifting of the club to the top (you can see my entire body stretching and straining to get turned). The coil is further enhanced by my left foot, which is firmly on the ground. This limits the amount I can turn my hips while still allowing me to rotate my shoulders as much as possible. Some other keys:
1. I move the club with the body, not the hands.
2. The legs solidly support the upper body.
3. I combine a huge body turn with a short arm swing.
4. A great combo: wide on the back, narrow on the way down.
Professional long driver Trez Simmons is an active member of the LDA Tour.
The new SMT O2 is a scaled-down version of the companys 455 Deep Bore driver, a legend on the long drive circuits.
Published: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 14:17:23 -0800
Many amateurs are so consumed with anxiety about the incremental parts of the golf swing (grip, alignment, posture, setup, etc.) that they lose sight of the overall objective, which is to strike the ball squarely and forcefully. Let me suggest a method to alleviate this anxiety: Focus on the finish.
If you take the time to study, analyze and critique your finish position, youll develop an idea of where your swing needs to go—not to mention increase the likelihood of actually making it happen.
Heres a drill that ingrains the feeling of a good finish position. Start with the club at address and swing it forward to the finish. Hold that pose for several seconds and then repeat the address-to-finish move. Let your natural tempo dictate how slowly or quickly you swing the club. As you pose, check that the finish elements at right are in place.
A golf swing without a finish position in mind is like a car trip without a destination. Youll wind up going around in circles.
Some of the benchmarks of the proper finish are:
Â• Being in good balance
Â• Weight forward on your left side
Â• Knees touching
Â• Belt buckle facing the target
Â• Club to the left of the left shoulder
Â• Right arm extended and right wrist flat
Art Sellinger is a two-time National Long Drive champion and creator of the popular Power Guarantee training program, available at www.artoflongdriving.com.
Published: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 14:11:28 -0800
Squat For Power
To begin the downswing, I squat to create leverage. The squat disappears as my left leg straightens, however. This move creates tremendous power and speed. My extra-long swing length results from bending my left arm and cupping the left wrist. It's all okay if I return to a squared potition at impact. To start my downswing, I employ a classic power lifter's squat position. To some, it appears I'm having a tug-of-war with the weight of the clubhead. this is very similar to pictures of the legendary Sam Snead at the same point in the swing. It's important to note that my body drops slightly due to the increase in knee flex as I yank on the handle of the club with my legs, stomach and trunk, not my hands. By primarily using my body, I can explode into the golf ball with everything I've got without any undue hand action.
Brian Pavlet catured the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship in 1993.
Power Tools: Brian Pavlet competes with the Cobra 454 Comp driver, a top choice for pro long drivers and recreational big hitters who need accurate distance. The Comp design incorporates both titanium and graphite components.
Published: Wed, 01 Nov 2006 13:44:14 -0800
Published: Mon, 01 May 2006 13:47:12 -0700
The three components for proper hip movement—a critical component of a fundamentally solid downswing—are weight shift, a slight lateral slide and hip whip (the explosive rotation just before impact that generates power). Good players know how to mix these components in the proper proportion to achieve both maximum power and outstanding accuracy. A lot of golfers, however, including some better players, are susceptible to two common hip movement mistakes: sliding laterally past the ball without enough rotation and spinning the hips too early without a proper weight transfer. Both of these mistakes cause power leaks as well as a loss of accuracy.
Knowing the truth about what constitutes correct hip action, however, can hurt you if you’re not careful. In the half a second it takes to make a downswing, there’s no time for separating out a lateral move from a rotational move. Consciously trying to perform three major actions—a shift, a slide and then a turn—all in sequence is asking for trouble.
A Shortcut To Perfect Hip Action
To achieve proper hip action, simply take your setup and, in slow motion, swing into impact and pose. Then, take a club and lay it across your hips—it should point at a 45-degree angle (most poor golfers create only a 10-degree hip angle at impact). This 45-degree impact angle is critical, and you can get there correctly by simply making your hips shuttle diagonally to the 45-degree position—a shortcut I call “oblique left” for righties, or “oblique right” for lefties. The shortcut works because of the way the body coils in the backswing. Studies show that at the top of the swing, the hips should have rotated 45 degrees, and from this position, all you have to do is simply move over to the impact position, and the shift, the slide and the pivot will take care of themselves.
Unlock Your Hips
In a good downswing, there’s a “hip switch,” where the weight transfers from the rear hip to the front hip, setting it up as the rotational center for the release. This can only occur if you “unlock” the hips at address so that your abdomen is retracted upward and inward, causing your backside to protrude so it acts as a counterweight to keep you in balance. Maintaining your address posture while you swing prevents your lower spine from thrusting toward the ball and ruining your hip whip.
Hips Are Made For Turning
Your hips are encased in a casket of tissue that keep them firmly in place. Due to the tight wrap of tissue, your hip joint has a restricted range of motion. Basically, the hips are designed to rotate rather than slide, although there’s some leeway built in that allows a small amount of sideways slide, so long as the lower spine contributes. To take advantage of the whipping power of the hips in the golf swing, the spine must never move toward the ball, since that ruins the ability of the hips to rotate—the key element in generating power.
On Line And On Time
Here’s a drill that will keep your shuttle on line and on time. Put the ball on a tee and assume your address position with two clubs—a 6- and a 7-iron. Lay the butt end of the 6-iron against your right hip, just inside your hip line. The head of the club should rest on the ground inside your back foot. Hit a shot with the 7-iron, keeping your right hip back as you start down. Since the hip is supposed to slide before it rotates, the club should stay propped up. If the hip spins prematurely, the 6-iron will fall to the ground.
PGA professional and Senior Instruction Editor Dr. T.J. Tomasi is the director of instruction at Lyman Orchards GC in Middlefield, Conn., and is a member of the GT Teaching Professional Network.
Published: Sun, 15 May 2005 09:46:19 -0700
Published: Sun, 01 May 2005 13:56:54 -0700
Like a high-performance engine that stalls when it leaks oil, water or fuel, a golf swing comes to an idling stop when the potential energy created in the backswing is emptied well before impact. Here are three tips to help keep power from leaking out of your game and also add horsepower to your motion.
Make A “Differential” Impact
When you watch long-hitting players on the PGA Tour, pay attention to the relationship of their hips and shoulders at impact. The secret formula here is what I like to call 30/5. At impact, the hips should be open about 30 degrees, and the shoulders open somewhere between zero and five degrees. Practice a few golf swings with a mirror and hold your impact position. If your hips are square and shoulders are open, keep making practice swings until you get a feel for the 30/5 ratio.
Find Your Slot
Often, golfers will try to increase their swing speed by overpowering the downswing with their arms and shoulders, regrettably resulting in the dreaded over-the-top move and slice-induced blow to the ball. Real power comes from delivering the club on the correct angle. Midway through the downswing, the clubshaft should bisect the right forearm (left for left-handers). Make a practice swing with a mirror to your right and, at 3⁄4 of the way down, stop and verify that the clubhead passes over your right elbow in the mirror. Perform this drill in slow motion first until you get a feel for correctly “slotting” the club. Once you do, you can kiss the over-the-top, smothered shot goodbye.
Release And Rotate
A proper release through impact guarantees the maximum release of energy into the ball. A fundamentally solid release features extended arms following contact, with the right forearm positioned above the left forearm. In addition, the forearms should be touching. To make sure you’re fully extended through impact, place a sweatband, watch or towel (attached with a rubber band) on your left forearm. Following impact, you should feel your right forearm touch the worn item. Practice this move until you no longer need a reminder and you’ll soon find yourself a few extra yards down the fairway.
PGA teaching professional Dan Campbell is the director of instruction at Whisper Rock Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Published: Mon, 14 Feb 2005 13:48:49 -0800
If your driving suffers from inconsistency and a lack of distance, you may be tied up with too many thoughts about swing mechanics.
Free your mind at address and focus on a specific target in the fairway where you want the ball to land. Then let your natural instincts take over. Swing the clubhead to that target, making an athletic move through the ball.
Such a focused, target-oriented approach should get you through any round of golf without major hiccups.
In practice sessions, work on these three keys for driving, which together will produce more consistency and distance when you go to the golf course.
1. Stay on plane. Work on building the proper path for your golf swing, one that doesn’t travel outside the line on the backswing or, as is more commonly the case for amateurs, one that doesn’t get tugged inside the line. On the downswing, work on directing the club slightly to the inside of the backswing plane. This path into the ball will produce optimal results.
2. Hit the sweet spot. Sounds simple, but most golfers fail to make contact with the golf ball in the center of the clubface. One of the major causes for off-center contact is overswinging. My advice is to gear down your swing until you begin making contact dead-center on the face of the driver. This is more important than an extra 10 mph of clubhead speed. Once you can hit balls flush, gradually begin adding speed to your swing, but not at the expense of poor contact.
3. Finish in balance. Take practice swings at half speed and concentrate on making a full finish that’s in balance, with the torso rotated toward the target and the weight on the front side. If necessary, make practice swings without a golf ball and simply rehearse this finish position. (Hint: If you can’t hold the finish position for several seconds, you’re not in balance.)
These three keys—staying on plane, hitting the sweet spot and finishing in balance—are cornerstones for solid drives. Incorporating them into your driving will lead to immediate improvement both in average distance and number of fairways hit.
Two-time national long drive champion Art Sellinger is the owner and CEO of Long Drivers of America (LDA), which conducts the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship and the Pinnacle LDA Tour. He represents Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas, Texas, and Cobra Golf.
Published: Sun, 01 Aug 2004 10:11:27 -0700
Golfers who possess the ability to hammer 300-yard drives like clockwork often talk about the importance of “firing the right side” through impact. That’s all well and good, but it’s also somewhat misleading. The right side doesn’t serve as an initiator in the downswing; it’s a reactor. The right side of the body doesn’t “fire” as such; it responds to a proper sequence of motion initiated by the left side.
A pronounced weight shift from the inside of the right leg to the heel of the left foot is the move that initiates a powerful downswing. Accompanying the weight shift forward is an unwinding of the left hip and left shoulder, which opens the upper body to the target line before the club enters the impact area.
Without a forceful, dramatic clearing of the left side, the right side has nowhere to go during the downswing except over the top, which promotes either pull hooks or slices. Both those mis-hits diminish maximum distance.
When I go to the practice range, I like to spend a few minutes rehearsing ideal positions at impact: my lead (left) hip is open maybe 35 to 40 degrees to the target line, my lead (left) shoulder is open 20 to 25 degrees, and my head is behind the ball. When I’m at home, I try to rehearse those same positions using an impact bag, which provides resistance and serves to create muscle memory.
From the ideal impact position, created by leading with the left side, I can launch my longest drives, the ones that travel 350 yards and more. Yes, the right side explodes down the line during those optimum swings; but again, that’s only a consequence, not a trigger.
Think of the boxing adage: Lead with the left, cross with the right. It’s the weight shift to the left (leading) side that allows a boxer to snap off a jab before following in behind it with the haymaker.
Golfers will be able to deliver knockout punches of their own by making sure the left side takes the lead in the downswing, creating the momentum and energy—and space—needed to deliver the clubhead through the hitting zone with maximum speed and power.
Two-time national Long Drive champion Art Sellinger is the chief executive officer of Long Drivers of America (LDA), which conducts the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship, the Pinnacle Distance Challenge and the LDA Tour. He represents the Four Seasons Resort and Club at Las Colinas, Texas, and Cobra Golf.
Published: Thu, 01 Jul 2004 12:10:35 -0700
Davis Love III is that rare breed of golfer who enters every tournament with a great chance to win. One of the reasons for this is his prowess with the driver. Last year, Love averaged 299 yards off the tee and notched a Total Driving ranking (accuracy plus distance) of 26, which fueled four wins and paychecks totaling $6 million. With such length off the tee, hitting greens in regulation—the most important scoring indicator—becomes a less daunting task. Love has already posted a Top-30 GIR rank in ’04. Pair that with a solid short game and it’s easy to see why Love is such a formidable opponent. If you want to hit longer, straighter drives and set up easier approach shots and better birdie opportunities, mimic Love’s impeccable driving technique—one of the best of all time.
1. Stay Behind
Davis Love is a tall player (6’3”) who generates power with an upright swing and a wide, high arc. Love’s swing is characterized by a smooth motion that explodes at impact, producing some of the longest hits in golf. At the moment in time captured here, Love’s head is still behind the ball but remains in the middle of his shoulders to provide balance. Notice how his right shoulder is back (just inside his right foot) and lower than his left. This is a must for staying on plane.
2. Body Release
Note how Love retains the angle of his right elbow and wrist even though he has released the angle formed by his left arm and club. This means he can release the clubhead without fear of shutting the face. Holding this angle is often called the “late hit,” but there’s nothing late about it—it’s right on time. Remember, with Love’s clubhead speed, even a slightly closed face can cause a very nasty hook.
3. Accuracy Line
Love’s body is tilted in a position I call the “long left leg,” giving the impression that his left leg is a continuation of his spine. This is a common pre-impact position for skilled players and it comes from starting the downswing correctly. Love’s move back toward the ball begins with a shift of weight to his left hip. In so doing, the hips move laterally out from under the head, creating the “long left leg” look.
4. The Big Picture
The signature move of Love’s swing is the formation of the left wall. The wall assembles when the left hip, knee and ankle align to provide a resistance across which the clubhead slings. Like all great players, Love doesn’t “do” a release, he “has” one, because he sets up his wall, and his arms and hands don’t release until they reach it. Proof that the wall is in place? Check out how the left pant leg flutters—his leg stopped inside his left pant leg, but the fabric kept moving.
5. Stay Planted
Love’s weight resides on the inside rim of his right foot, with his heel still pointing toward the ground and the right knee canted in toward the left. This assures that he has accomplished two prerequisites for solid contact: 1) his weight has shifted to his left side without his right knee popping upward and outward (which would destroy his posture); and 2) his right hip has remained behind his right elbow, giving his arms an unobstructed route to the ball.
Davis Love plays the Titleist Titanium 983E driver. For more information on the 983E and larger 983K, visit www.titleist.com.
Senior Instruction Editor Dr. T.J. Tomasi is recognized as one of the Top 100 teachers in America.
Published: Tue, 01 Jun 2004 14:37:40 -0700
There are many different ways to generate extra power in the golf swing, and here’s one of the best: create maximum extension of the arms at the top.
Too often, amateurs allow their arms to drop or sag at the top of the backswing. As a result, they resemble comedian Steve Martin circa 1979—they look like they have a shaft going through their head. Typical results from this position are “wild and crazy,” like the comic himself.
At the top of the backswing, the arms and hands require serious separation from the head. Exactly how much separation depends on each individual and the length of his or her arms, but every golfer interested in going deep needs to create that gap. You can’t afford to accidentally stick your right thumb in your right ear.
Here’s a good drill to use on the practice tee to develop the necessary separation. Swing the club with only the left hand (the right for left-handers). Make a slight forward press to establish momentum for the takeaway, and then extend the left arm its full length as you take back the club. While performing this drill, you’ll invariably widen the arc of your swing, which ultimately translates into extra distance and power.
Notice with your left-arm-only swing that the right wrist hinges in response to the weight of the clubhead as the club passes the waist-high position. That, incidentally, is all the wrist hinge any golf swing requires; it happens naturally and, as such, doesn’t have to be a conscious thought or worry.
Have someone check your position at the top to see that the shaft points down the target line. More importantly, have him or her check the amount of separation between the hands (as well as the arms and shaft) and your head. Your position at the top should mimic that of a waiter carrying a tray of food in a crowded restaurant. The ability to carry that tray high and away from the head separates the real service pros from the others. Similarly, golfers who can swing the golf club to full extension at the top with exacting control generally are those who hit the biggest drives, shoot the lowest numbers and collect the most bets at the end of the day.
Two-time National Long Drive champion Art Sellinger is chief executive officer of Long Drivers of America (LDA), which conducts the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship, the Pinnacle Distance Challenge and the LDA Tour. He represents Four Seasons Resort and Club at Las Colinas, in Irving, Texas, and Cobra Golf.
Published: Tue, 01 Jun 2004 14:23:19 -0700
Published: Tue, 01 Jun 2004 11:39:41 -0700
The higher the handicap, the more pivotal the tee ball becomes. Driving the ball into water, rough, bunkers, trees and other hazards is what causes high-handicappers to rack up strokes. As players become more proficient, they develop skills to execute trouble shots and hit pitches from the rough and sand, putting less pressure on hitting fairways. It’s almost as if good players expect to miss every now and then, feeling confident in knowing that they have the tools to recover from an errant drive. High-handicappers, unfortunately, don’t have that luxury.
Fact: Everybody wants to hit more fairways. Even the best players in the world occasionally misfire and wish they hit more. That’s somewhat encouraging, because it proves that great golf is attainable without always finding the short grass. The most common flaw among golfers who struggle with driving is a clubhead that travels on too steep an angle and far too much to the left of the target line as it approaches the golf ball (for right-handed golfers). This is what’s called an outside-in swing. The typical results from such a motion are cuts, pop-ups, topped shots, big slices and smothered hooks—basically, the gamut of poor shots. What’s confusing is that the steep, outside-in swing manages to work from time to time (especially with the mid- to short irons), leaving high-handicappers in a quandary over why they can hit their irons but not their driver.
If you fall into this category, here comes the bad news. The key to better golf is developing a swing that works well with the driver all the way down to the sand wedge. The swing to which I’m referring moves the clubhead from slightly inside the target line to slightly outside the target line on the downswing. Because short irons have shorter shafts, they require a steeper angle of descent, which is why every now and then a steep swing works well. However, it’s too difficult for the body and mind to cogitate two swings in one round. For the high-handicappers who really need to hit more fairways, it’s time to dump that steep and to-the-left swing (often indicated by marks on the high toe) and trade it in for a repeatable, inside-out swing motion that works well with every club in the bag. The good news: All you need are a few changes to your setup and swing.
Tidy Up Your Grip
How you position your hands on the handle often dictates whether or not you’re going to have a consistent swing. First and always, grip with the handle more in the fingers, and make sure the V-shapes formed between your thumb and index finger on each hand are pointing at your right shoulder. This assures the proper hand position at address. It also serves as a governor as to how far your hands release, turn and roll through impact. In addition, it’ll prevent you from collapsing your wrists and over-rotating or under-rotating the handle.
Set Up Right
Like skiing, golf often requires players to make certain moves that, on the surface, may seem counterintuitive. For instance, when you want to slow down on skis, you’re actually supposed to lean downhill. In golf, when you want to avoid hitting the ball to the right, the correct adjustment is to—you guessed it—set up to the right. Many talented players have adopted a slightly closed stance because it practically eliminates an outside-in swing and promotes a steady right-to-left spin on virtually every shot. Often, when amateurs struggle with slicing, they intuitively aim more to the left, which actually enhances the cutting-across motion. Try experimenting with a slightly closed stance, with the ball positioned opposite your left armpit at address. This will encourage a fuller turn through the ball from the inside out and, most likely, will result in a hook or draw spin.
Published: Sat, 01 May 2004 14:32:40 -0700
My standard response to a question I frequently field at clinics and exhibitions about the proper feeling at address is: “It’s like cement and spaghetti.”
That strange combination of metaphors raises a few eyebrows until I explain what I mean.
By “cement,” I’m referring to the feeling in my torso and legs. I want to establish a strong foundation for the golf swing, with my weight balanced over the balls of my feet, my posterior extended, my spine tilted at an angle created by a slight bend forward at the hips and my knees slightly flexed. I want to feel the sensation that my legs have been anchored in cement and nothing—not even a gale-force wind—can push me off of that solid base.
By “spaghetti,” I’m referring to the feeling in my arms, hands and wrists. My arms, hanging loosely in front of me, are relaxed—almost as limp as a noodle. I’m not squeezing the club or clutching it with my shoulders, knotting myself into a ball. Spaghetti also implies that there’s no tension in my arms or shoulders. This absence of tension allows me to whip the clubhead through the ball, generating maximum speed. Speed creates distance.
While it’s true many amateurs address the golf ball with cement- and spaghetti-like features, they do so in reverse fashion. They’re too tense or rigid at address, with their arms, hands and wrists looking like they’re set in cement. They clutch the club too tightly, and the resulting case of “frozen shoulders” makes it virtually impossible for them to swing with athleticism and grace.
Similarly, many amateurs set up with their torso and legs as limp as spaghetti noodles. This leads to overactive feet, knees, hips and legs during the backswing and causes a myriad of problems. Instead of establishing a strong base, they have a weak foundation that makes staying in balance something of a crapshoot.
Work on a feeling at address that combines cement and spaghetti—but applied to the proper body parts.
Two-time National Long Drive champion Art Sellinger is the owner and CEO of Long Drivers of America, which conducts the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship and the professional Pinnacle LDA Tour. He represents the Four Seasons Resort and Club at Las Colinas, Texas, and Cobra Golf.
Published: Sat, 01 May 2004 12:54:13 -0700
Recreational golfers, top amateurs and pros have at least one thing in common—they all want to drive it long. It’s a desire all golfers have, which is why driving ranges are full of people swinging out of their shoes in the attempt to hit it higher, longer and farther. The guys who compete on the LDA (Long Drivers of America) Tour also want to hit it long, which, to them, is anything over 350 yards. Granted, most of the LDA competitors are significantly bigger and stronger than the average golfer, and can produce high swing speeds through the use of brute force. However, long drivers can’t make it through the many tiers of competition on strength alone. To hit it as far as they do, they need to employ solid, power-producing techniques. These moves are proven to work, and can be used by PGA Tour players and weekend duffers alike. And while the majority of LDA competitors have never played in a Tour event, or even tried to get through Q-School, they’re experts at producing distance. Take a close look at the “positions of power” they employ, and you, too, might learn to go deep.
David Mobley: Maximum Impact
Deep into the downswing, David Mobley retains a large amount of the angle formed between his left arm and the shaft. This allows the clubhead to accelerate all the way through the golf ball, maximizing clubhead speed. He does this by maintaining the bend in his right wrist as long as possible, which keeps his hands leading the clubhead throughout his swing. Also notice that the left leg is straightening during impact, a move that helps create the greatest distance possible between the left shoulder and the clubhead. This is a huge source of power!
1. The significant shaft bend results from the clubhead resisting the change of direction from backswing to downswing.
2. Mobley doesn’t allow any power to escape from his swing. All levers are still intact without a hint of club throwaway.
3. This is deep! His left hand is over the ball, yet the 90° angle between the shaft and his left arm remains.
4. The left wrist remains flat—the perfect power delivery position for long drivers and casual golfers alike.
Considering the growth in driver head size, and a corresponding rise in face height and sweet spot location, you need a longer tee. Check out Pride’s collection of 2 3⁄4- and 3 1⁄4-inch pegs ($2.99/50).
Published: Sat, 01 May 2004 09:49:09 -0700
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Published: Tue, 01 Jan 2002 09:13:53 -0800
Today's drivers have maxed out in terms of volume. The USGA has capped total cc's for a club at 460cc, and most of the new drivers you can buy hover around the 460cc size limit. With such size behind the golf ball, how do you really know how high you should tee the golf ball? And where on the face should you make contact?
Arguably, the average player should always try to hit the sweet spot, no matter what the pros do. (Some pros hit above the sweet spot for a dead hit with a higher launch angle, but with less ball speed and spin.) Finding the optimal tee heights is actually a personal task. Conventional wisdom may tell you that the bigger the clubhead, the taller you tee the ball. Well, that may be true for some.
A better starting place for finding your ideal tee height is to first evaluate what type of tee shots you tend to hit. Fades? Draws? If you fade the ball, a lower tee height will help you. If you draw it, a higher tee height will make it easier to hit shots from right to left.
Conversely, if you struggle with slicing, consider a higher tee height to promote a swing that's more from inside the target line on the downswing. And if you tend to hook, a lower tee height will help. The key? Make sure you adjust your ball position accordingly. For a draw, play the ball higher, more away from you and farther forward in your stance. For fades, tee it lower, put it closer to you and play it farther back in your stance. For you straight shooters, follow Mark's tip right here and watch that ball fly straighter and longer than before! —Staff Report
Published: Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 -0800