[PAGEBREAK]WHY DO YOU NEED POWER?
Ask yourself why you play golf. Ask yourself which shots you talk about most after the round. It’s not that lay-up on 16. It’s not that chip to three feet on the fourth. No.
It’s the 300-yard drive that carried the corner and left you a 9-iron in. We all love a big hit – it’s the reason we play. And it also gives us the best chance of shooting low scores.
The source of power is simple – the faster your clubhead is travelling as it makes contact with the ball – the further the ball will fly. Increasing that magical clubhead speed will increase your power off the tee. All the tips and advice in this piece will crank up that clubhead speed.
[PAGEBREAK]INSTANT TIP ONE: The Basics
Shorter drives, like many problems in the golf swing, can originate from faulty basics. Here are two tips that you should pay particular attention to, especially if you’ve been losing yards.
As soon as many amateurs decide to unleash a big one the first thing they do is grip the club tighter. Throttling the club actually decreases your chances of hitting a powerful drive as it tenses up your muscles, making them more rigid and less fluid. Relax your grip and you will relax your muscles, so they’ll work quicker and more powerfully.
When you make a powerful swing, you want to catch the ball in the up-part of the swing, as though you are launching it high and handsome into orbit. By taking an address position that mirrors this point at impact, you increase your chances of making a powerful strike.
Angle your spine away from the target at address, so it is behind the ball. This will make your right shoulder sit lower than your left – the average touring professional has around 30 degree angle between right and left shoulder.
[PAGEBREAK]INSTANT TIP TWO: The Classic mistake
If your muscles are tensed and rigid, you will restrict your swing. Here, I am squeezing the club hard, in a mis-guided attempt to swing more powerfully. I have tensed my forearms, back and shoulders, resulting in this restricted, ugly backswing. There is no fluidity – it is like trying to hit a golf ball with a statue.
Here I am relaxed – I hold the club gently, my arms, shoulders and back are primed but fluid. If you look at a 100m sprinter, you will see they have bulging muscles but are completely relaxed, with their arms moving smoothly and powerfully. This is what you need in a golf swing.
[PAGEBREAK]INSTANT TIP THREE: The swing
Don’t stop moving
To stay relaxed yet poised before you pull the trigger, add waggles in your pre-shot routine. You don’t see tennis players standing completely still before returning serve, they are on their toes. Golfers need to add this to their game, keeping loose and relaxed through waggles and movement, hovering the club above the ball before swinging.
Left foot up
None of us are as flexible as the best golfers. Flexibility is the key for power and the reason small people can hit it miles. The more you can turn your shoulders while keeping your bottom half still, the further you will hit the ball.
To help with this turn, don’t be afraid to let your left heel come off the ground at the top of the backswing, it will increase your shoulder turn, which multiplies that clubhead speed.
[PAGEBREAK]INSTANT TIP FOUR: Power drill 1
Stand a foot away from the ball as illustrated, with your feet together. Take your grip, relax and waggle the club in preparation for a powerful swing through the ball.
Now swing to the top of your backswing and as you start down, move your left foot into the ball as thought you are having a mini run-up through the shot. Plant your foot where it would be were you making an orthodox swing.
Swing powerfully through impact, the movement with your left foot automatically drives your weight onto your left side through the ball and the momentum created forces a powerful release. When you nail one, it feels great.
[PAGEBREAK]INSTANT TIP FIVE: Power drill 2
Hear the Swoosh
A great way to develop the feeling of a powerful swing is to turn the club round the wrong way, so you are holding the neck. This makes the “head” much lighter so it is easier to swing quickly. Now make some practice swings with the club like this.
Concentrate on hearing that “whoosh” as the grip rips through the air. Work at making that whoosh louder and louder – until the person in the bay next to you tells you to be quiet. Return to the ball and replicate this “whoosh” as you strike – you’ll hit it miles further.