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.