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How would you like to reach each par 5 on your
home course in just two shots? What if you could hit
a 5 iron instead of a 3-iron into a long par 4? Odds
are, your game would improve. Here is a list of what I
consider the five essentials to focus on if you want to
hit the ball farther.
- Widen Your Swing Arc
Tiger Woods and Davis Love are good models of long
hitters with wide take-aways and big arcs. To achieve
this, extend your arms as much as possible on the backswing. If you can keep
your arc wide, you'll be able to create good clubhead speed without swinging any
- Lighten Your Grip Pressure
You don't have to swing hard to hit the ball a long way. In fact, this is often
counterproductive and causes muscle tension, ultimately leading to less clubhead
speed. After relaxing your upper body, the next key in attaining additional power is
proper grip pressure. Think of your grip pressure as about a 7 on a scale from 1 to
10. Maintain this pressure throughout the swing to create good clubhead speed
and still maintain control. If you have access to a clubhead speed analyzer, put
your swing on it. While using it, note the differences in your clubhead speed when
applying tight- and relaxed-grip pressure. You'll quickly discover that the less
tension you have in your body and grip pressure, the more your clubhead speed
- Make a Big Shoulder Turn
Jim McLean, one of the PGA' s best teachers, calls shoulder turn the "X" factor.
He took scientific measurements of many long hitters and found that they all have
a greater shoulder than hip turn. This means that a big hip turn can actually
diminish your ability to create power and clubhead speed, because there is less
torque created. Keep the lower body (the foundation) steady while the shoulder
gets behind the ball, and you'll be in good shape.
- Tuck Your Elbow
The best way to feel the proper position is to keep
the right elbow tucked against your side on the
downswing (left elbow for left-handed players). By
doing this, you'll avoid the common error of swinging
across the ball, which diminishes power. Also, when
the right elbow stays in, it delays the hit with your
hands--an essential in creating power and a properly
timed release. When you do the tuck correctly, the
right arm (for right-handed players) is straight and
your hands are not behind the ball.
- Keep Your Knees Firm and Flexed
Think of your legs as the foundation of your swing. If your foundation is shaky and
moving around too much, you'll have a power leak and less ability to coil properly.
Keep a firm feeling with the right knee at the top of the backswing (left knee for
left-handed players) and a feeling of your weight staying on the inside of the foot. If
the knee and weight move outside the foot, a sway can occur, resulting in
numerous mechanical problems. The left knee should stay fairly quiet as well and
not move laterally too much so that you maintain some width between the knees.
A tip we published earlier suggested that you imagine keeping a basketball
between your knees.
NOTE: If you have trouble hitting your clubs correctly there is a good chance that your clubs don't suit you properly.
The reason for not improving your game may well be is due to badly fitted clubs. Think about it: people come in all different shapes and sizes, but most golfers simply buy their clubs off the rack in the golf shop.
Unless you are completely 'standard' and 'average' you should consider custom fitting for your next clubs. This can be done online, and it is free, quick and easy (and doesn't hurt a bit). Visit these two sites for free online club fitting, just follow the instructions given there:
'Club Fitting Wizard' at Pinemeadow Golf
'e-fit System' at GigaGolf
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