Getting More Power Off The Tee

By Jim McleanJanuary 21, 2002, 5:00 pm
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Most top players agree that driving long and straight may be the most important aspect of the game. Just think about Tiger Woods. The advantage he has when he smokes a drive 30 yards past his opponent and straight down the middle is almost incalculable. Its the big D work in golf domination.
 
For sure driving the golf ball solid is the most fun part of the game. Nothing in golf gives a player more satisfaction than consistent, long and pure drives.
 
Ive spent many years studying and writing about power golf. I wrote The X Factor articles in 1992 and later wrote a book on The X Factor, and also produced a best selling videotape. Working with The Golf Channel, I helped produce a 10 part series on The X Factor which focused on body angles, body positioning, and body notion to improve distance.
 
At our golf schools we run 2-day sessions on Power Golf and Id like to share with you some of the things Ive learned.
 
Everybody can learn to hit it longer, however, not everyone can be a super long hitter. Speed is for the most part God-given. Its in your genes and everyone has their own maximum potential.
 
To realize your best, you must apply the fundamentals of great driving; so lets start first with some life factors. By this I mean your strength and flexibility. Obviously you need the ability to swing the club. So I always look first at the golfers best attempt to swing hard. If they cannot, I will suggest an array of improvement ideas.
 
This might include some strength training and flexibility work. As most know every TOUR player is working out and improving their conditioning. Amateurs will benefit just as much, or more, by doing the same.

Next we move into the golf swing itself. We start with the power set-up. I position the golfer in an address position that is often the opposite of what they are accustomed. The stance is wide, wider than shoulder width. The front toe is flared out toward the target (20-30 degrees open). Weight is balanced off the insides of the feet and is 50/50. If you were standing on two separate weight scales they would be even. Your spine tilts away from the target approximately 10 degrees. Your back shoulder is lower than the front shoulder with the tilt about 15 degrees. Your chin is up off the chest and the center of your head is 5/6 inches behind the ball (which is teed high) and is positioned off the front heel. Your grip pressure is light, never tight and the shoulders, elbows, and wrists feel relaxed. The upper torso dominates your take away and the club is swung back with the hands, arms and shoulders in a one piece action. No quick moves. The upper body coils over a braced lower body in the backswing. You might do well to think of the body as two halves. The upper dominates the backswing, while the lower half resists, and then initiates the forward swing. In The X Factor I wrote and showed how the longest hitters created a large gap in the backswing. The gap was the difference between the shoulder turn and the hip turn. The shoulders far out turn the hips. The bigger the gap, the more power potential.

Another great swing thought is to create the most speed past the ball. Dont dissipate your speed prior to contact with an early throw. You must instead sequence the hitting motion. From the top of the backswing the power hitter starts with a forward shift of the lower body. Then the body core unwinds. Finally the arms and hands release the club through the impact zone and into a full and complete finish.
 
A good thought is to have the shaft hit your neck in the finish. This keeps your swing moving and encourages relaxed armsboth increasing your speed potential.
 
To hit longer drives you need to practice all sorts of speed drills. We try to get our students to understand where the speed must come from and how to produce that speed at the correct time.
 
I worked with Tom Kite all of 1992 through 1994 when he greatly increased his driving distance and, of course, won the US Open.In 1981 Tom averaged 282 yards.
 
Although 30 years older, Kite did this by improving his technique, improving his conditioning, and lastly improving his equipment.
 
By matching your best swing speed to the proper driver and proper golf ball you too can buy some distance. Club fitters are able to suggest drivers that have the correct shaft flex, the correct length, and correct weight for individual students. So my very best suggestion is to take the time to carefully choose the best power club for your swing.
 
I wish you all the best of luck. Tee it high and let it fly!
 
Jim McLean visits the set of Academy Live to help you tune up your game ' Wednesday, January 23rd at 6:30 PM/ET.
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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.


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In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.