Martin's Blog: Drive the ball with accuracy and power

By Martin HallOctober 24, 2012, 11:30 pm

CHAPTER 30:
Drive For Show:

• To be considered a great driver, you need to have a motion that’s both efficient and effective. Efficient means there’s no wasted motion, that you’re getting all your potential energy into the ball, and you’re not leaking any oil down the home stretch. Effective means the ball goes where you want it to. So basically, efficient is power and effective is accuracy. Here are some drills for each:

Efficient (power):

1. Put a driver across your back and practice coiling in the backswing until you feel some stretch and then uncoil from the ground up. That will teach you a proper body movement for the swing and not just a flailing of the arms.

2. Clip a rope to the bill of your cap and tie a whiffle ball hanging about two feet down to the other end. This will look goofy but it will teach you to keep your head stable as you swing. Don’t let the ball wobble as you coil and uncoil.

3. Place a shaft sticking out of the ground just off your right hip and practice shifting away from it in the downswing. That puts tremendous load into the swing, which is great for power.

Effective (accuracy):

1. Use a dry eraser marker, spray or impact tape on the face of your driver to get good feedback that you’re hitting in the center of the clubface.

2. Try hovering the club at address and before the takeaway. Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman both used this technique and it’s great for getting your takeaway more on plane.

3. Split your grip slightly and practice taking swings making sure the toe of the club is pointed up a 9 o’clock (shaft parallel to ground in backswing) and 3 o’clock (shaft parallel to ground in follow through). It won’t go far but it’ll go straight and slowly start to build to a full swing.



• World No. 1 Rory McIlroy drives the ball well over 300 yards despite being only 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds. How does he do it? It’s all about the acceleration and deceleration of his hips. McIlroy’s hips rotate and accelerate in the downswing at 719 degrees per second. That’s more than double the average amateur, who averages 350 degrees per second. The key is once they’ve accelerated, they stop quickly, allowing the rest of the upper body and clubhead to catch up. Think about snapping a towel; you flick it then pull back quickly to achieve maximum speed. A great drill to put this into your golf game is imagine a paint brush sticking out of your belt buckle and facing the target. You need to speed up the hips in the downswing and stop them quickly to throw the paint off the brush. Throw the paint off the brush and rip the ball!


Popular golf instruction tips:  Driving Full SwingAccuracy Long Game


Martin’s Library: “Winning Golf” by Byron Nelson

In an effort to help you improve your ball-striking, and especially your work with the driver, Martin has four great tips for you from Byron Nelsons book Winning Golf. Watch Video

Next week’s show: Chapter 31: Develop a Go-To Shot, Wednesday 7PM ET

• I’ll discuss the importance of having a go-to shot, teach you the three most common ones and help you find the right one for your game. I’ll also induct six-time major champion Nick Faldo into the Martin Hall of Fame and share four drills for playing like one of the game's all-time great ball-strikers. And Holly Sonders will help answer viewer questions and assist with the instruction.

For more School of Golf content visit the showpage.



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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.