Lets keep trying to hit it far… then we will straighten it out!
Everyone wants more distance, especially off the Tee, this is where solid golf coaching comes into play.
There are so many different tips and articles written to try and achieve the above that most people are left confused and often worse off than when they started, which is why your golf lessons are so important.
Let’s sift through some of the advice and see if we can help you gain just a few extra meters and try to lower that golf handicap.
Firstly, setup. Our basic setup is the same, however because the Driver shaft is longer our posture is a little more upright, also as the clubs get longer, the loft decreases, this combined with the fact the ball is just inside my lead foot means the shaft lean also decreases, at address the Driver shaft almost looks as though it is leaning slightly backwards. The butt of the grip should be just in front of the trouser zip.
As with most longer clubs at address, I need to have my head slightly behind the ball, this usually occurs naturally, if, (for right handed player) the right hand is lower than the left on the grip, my right shoulder is naturally lower than my left, this creates a good spine angle to pivot the body correctly throughout the swing.
That part was fairly easy, now the confusion starts.
Now I am told to have wide arc and turn as much as I can.
Both pieces of advice are technically correct but if they are not interpreted or explained correctly, they can lead to shorter and definitely not longer or straighter drives.
With the addition of quality Launch Monitors, such as Trackman, coupled with a myriad of other swing measuring devices like K-Vest and Balance measuring devices, Coaches now have so much more data at their disposal to assist players of all levels.
One of the main points that needs a mention is Ground Reaction Force, (GRF). This is overly technical, but the main point we need to be aware of especially with the longer clubs, is the reason we have spikes on our shoes is not so we don’t slip over on the steep slopes, they are there for a reason, and a lot of Golf professionals on the main tours still use metal spikes because they understand the need to create a good coil on the back swing, and the only way to do that is to be “connected” to the ground.
Average players swing their hands, arms and shoulders around as far as they can with no thought of what is happening below the waist, the knees have straightened and twisted, lateral movement off the ball, the weight is now on the outside of the trail (back) foot.
So now there is zero stored power, it is all up to the hands now to generate speed… and they can’t.
A great “feel” drill, is to setup as if you are hitting and as take your back swing try and feel at least 70% of your weight on the inside of the trail foot, (right for right hander), we are coiling against the right leg….
You will now feel your whole body coiling efficiently, you now have power storing in the “big” muscles. Power equals distance.
Next step is the arc, the golf swing has a few arcs, but in our back swing confusion is caused by being told to take a wide arc.
We have 2 main arcs, a club head arc and a hand arc.
By trying to make the club head arc wide, again my body moves laterally away from the target, my balance is upset I am out of position.
If I focus on taking my “Hand arc” wide my lead arm is already straight enough, my lead shoulder is turning naturally, and I can maintain my balance and coil efficiently.
Now comes the wrist hinge, or “set” which creates confusion.
Higher handicappers using the wide club head arc get to the top of the back swing, are off balance and then hinge at the top creating an over swing, now the hands have to “flick”the club from the top creating a casting motion, not only losing power but causing a now out to in swing path making the ball go either right or left depending on the club face at impact, anywhere but straight.
Better players have their club setting earlier so it is parallel at the top of the swing.
OK, we are at the top of the swing, coiled efficiently, with the club set properly.
So now the transition from up to down, as mentioned before, the feeling of weight should be on the inside of the trail (back) foot… the first move is getting the weight now to the outside of the lead foot!
Easier said than done? Not really…
Bio-mechanically this is how the body reacts to efficient coiling, think tennis forehand shot, throwing a ball, skipping a stone, the body coils then the weight goes forward the hips clear and the trunk and arms follow…
However, golfers are so fixated on hitting a little white sphere so from the top of the swing the hands throw the club head out towards the ball and the weight usually goes backwards, recipe for disaster, the natural body unwind has gone out the door… along with the golf ball!
Next time you are at the range, use Phil Mickelson’s transition thought, from the TOP of the back swing he imagines he is stomping on a sponge under his front foot, trying to force the water out, too do that he pushes slightly from his back foot, (when higher handicappers try to push the “upper body” goes forward first, creating a descending blow, popping the ball straight up into the Stratosphere).
This initiates a sequence of unwinding that starts from the ground up not the other way around.
With this action you should find that the hands and body release more smoothly and naturally without needing to flip the hands through impact.
When this happens the speed through impact has increased thus giving us longer shots.
Remember the old adage “Tee it high and let it fly, there are no bunkers in the sky”!
Hope this helps, happy golfing…