Friday, May 6, 2011

Maximize your distance

As an instructor, one of my most frequently asked question is how can I hit it longer? I think most golfers would prefer hitting it longer as opposed to shooting lower scores. Well, it’s not one or two things but a list of things you must do to maximize how far you are capable of hitting the golf ball. Everyone is different when it comes to hitting it long off the tee. Age, strength, build and flexibility are some of the determining factors. Here are my three most important swing tips to help you hit it longer.
1. Back swing- I’m sure you have been taught to have your stance shoulder width apart, that should apply to your irons but not your driver. In order to create club head speed you must have a wide swing plane. Widen your stance so that your feet are just outside your shoulders. When you start your backswing keep the club low to the ground and rotate your left shoulder towards the center of your body while making sure your right knee stays flexed and does not change position. (Opposite shoulder and knee for lefties) To help create the proper shoulder turn it should feel like your back is facing the target at the top of your swing. We want to create tension from our lower body and upper body, so visualize holding the bottom of a spring, twisting the top and letting go.

2. Down swing- As I talked about earlier, there is a list of things you must do to hit it long, but if you asked me to pick the most important here it is. Have you ever heard of lag, do you know what it means? Lag is the retaining of the right wrist position (left wrist for lefties) late into the downswing. Most golfers do the opposite.

Releasing the wrist angle too early in the downswing robs them of power and causes errors like hitting behind the ball, slices, and even thin shots. Your body has a tendency to rise up to compensate for the early wrist release. A good practice drill is to stick a tee in the end of your grip, when you start your downswing maintain your right wrist position until the tee points at the golf ball, this drill will give you the proper feel when you should release the club and help you generate faster club head speed at impact.

3. Follow through- In my opinion, the follow through is one of the most important parts of the golf swing, even though the ball is well on its way to the target by the time the follow through occurs. In order to swing the club faster and finish in the correct position you must uncoil your upper body swinging against a straightened left leg which clears your left hip (right leg and hip for lefties). 

The faster your hips clear, the faster your shoulders will uncoil from the powerful position you created in steps one and two.  This maintains club head speed through the impact position. After impact, let your hips continue to rotate until your belt buckle faces the target. Your head should have come up and your body should be standing tall, facing the target, with all of your weight on your straightened left leg in a balanced position staring at a 270 to 300 yard drive right down the middle. 

I hope these tips help you hit it longer. Good luck and have a great golf season.

Bobby Ashton PGA
Head Golf Professional
Hampshire Greens Golf Club

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