IN­STRUC­TION

If drives of 270 me­tres are not within your com­pass, fear not. You can hit it fur­ther us­ing these four power prin­ci­ples

Golf Asia - - CONTENTS - PIC­TURES BOB ATKINS

• Dis­tance For The Rest Of Us

Pro­fes­sional golf’s long­est hit­ters av­er­age around 280 me­tres. World Long drive cham­pi­ons like Joe Miller reg­u­larly swipe the ball well over 365m. Im­pres­sive fig­ures for sure, but for folks like us, liv­ing in the real world, they are the stuff of dreams. Yet there’s noth­ing to stop you tak­ing the prin­ci­ples on which those power swings are based and adapt­ing them to your level and abil­ity. In this ar­ti­cle we set out four power pil­lars used by the bombers and show you how you can ex­ploit them. Miller lite it may be, but these proven tech­niques can make an im­me­di­ate and valu­able dif­fer­ence to your own driv­ing dis­tance.

Shot at the beau­ti­ful Palmeraie re­sort, Mar­rakech, Morocco. For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.palm­golf­club­mar­rakech.com

1 Pro­mote launch through pos­ture

Take your reg­u­lar driver stance, the ball an inch or two in­side your lead heel. Face both palms down to­wards the ground; they should be at equal heights.

Cre­ate spine lean

Push down with your trail hand till it’s just above your knee, al­low­ing your gloved hand to rise. Your torso now leans away from the tar­get, set­ting up an up­ward sweep through im­pact.

2 Match pos­ture and ball po­si­tion

Blend the new pos­ture into your full set-up. Feel your shirt but­tons are fur­ther be­hind the ball than nor­mal with the shaft up­right or slightly lean­ing back.

3 In­crease an­gles through im­pact

Power hit­ters gain launch by in­creas­ing spine lean at im­pact. The lead shoul­der rises while the head and chest ef­fec­tively ‘back up’ as they de­liver the club.

4 Tee the ball higher

For a nor­mal drive, the driver’s crown bi­sects its equa­tor. But a more up­ward at­tack needs a higher tee. ‘Base of the ball op­po­site club crown’ is a good guide, and en­cour­ages a strong up­ward sweep.

Higher launch

Work on the feel­ing of your head and chest mov­ing away from the tar­get through the ball – even as your weight drives for­ward. It’ll add both power and launch.

Widen your stance

Pull your trail foot a lit­tle fur­ther back. This cre­ates a more solid plat­form for a power swing and sets your ster­num a lit­tle fur­ther be­hind the ball… help­ing an up­ward at­tack.

Pocket power

Build­ing width has much to do with cre­at­ing free­dom to turn. To find this free­dom, fo­cus on mak­ing a full and free hip ro­ta­tion. To feel this, grip your driver with your gloved hand only and grasp your trail pocket with the other hand.

Lead heel can rise

If your lead heel wants to rise in re­sponse to the fuller hip ro­ta­tion, let it. Un­less you’re very flex­i­ble, any at­tempt to keep it down will curb turn, width and lever­age.

Full hip ro­ta­tion

Start your back­swing by pulling back­wards on the pocket, as if to­wards some­one stand­ing be­hind you. It pro­motes a deeper and fuller hip ro­ta­tion with­out lat­eral sway.

Stronger turn

As you try this drill, feel how a fuller hip turn makes it eas­ier for you to turn your up­per body pow­er­fully be­hind the ball. This will help you cre­ate a pow­er­ful, wide arc.

Lead shoul­der over trail hip

That fuller hip turn en­cour­ages shoul­der ro­ta­tion and con­trolled lat­eral mo­tion. To feel a more pow­er­ful turn, pin your driver across your shoul­ders, take your stance and turn un­til the grip points past your trail foot. If you can get your lead shoul­der over your trail hip, you’ll have found a wide and pow­er­ful coil.

Feel trail arm ex­ten­sion

Width also comes through ex­ten­sion in your trail arm. To feel this ex­ten­sion, stick a tee peg in the butt of your driver, grip the club in your trail hand only and swing to the top. Try to get the peg as far from the ball as pos­si­ble; you can also try to cre­ate a 90º an­gle in the arm. These thoughts will get the peg point­ing away from the tar­get, help­ing you find a longer arc and a more pow­er­ful swing.

Club feels ‘high’

Ex­tra width also makes the club feel higher than nor­mal, thanks to the ex­tra ex­ten­sion cre­ated through your arms tak­ing your hands fur­ther from the ball.

Back to tar­get

Build width into your turn and you will feel coiled and set be­hind the ball. You should feel pres­sure along the in­side of your trail foot, your back turned to face past the tar­get.

Strong hit­ters cre­ate mas­sive down­swing thrust by work­ing their legs and feet against the re­sis­tance of the ground to start the down­swing. We see this as a squat­ting mo­tion. To help you de­velop your own power squat, think ‘knees to tar­get’. From the top of the back­swing, make it your swing thought to drive both knees ag­gres­sively to­wards the tar­get. This ac­tion will take some work to make com­fort­able, but it gives your ac­tion power in three ways:

1 Lat­eral bend

It helps you cre­ate the spine lean we spoke about in Prin­ci­ple #1, the up­per body re­act­ing to those driv­ing knees by lean­ing back with the lead shoul­der ris­ing up­ward.

It helps flight the typ­i­cal out-to-in at­tack path of the club golfer – usu­ally re­sult­ing in a weak slice – by drop­ping the hands and arms in be­hind your ro­tat­ing core.

2 Bet­ter path 3 Bet­ter se­quenc­ing

It helps your lower body to lead the down­swing – the key com­po­nent of the ground-up move­ment se­quence that al­lows the body to build force.

Why late equals a pull

Pic­ture the swing as a per­fect in­clined cir­cle. The club only trav­els down the tar­get line at the base of its arc. On the way down it moves in-to-out, and as it rises it moves back to the in­side. To achieve high launch we catch the ball well af­ter the base of the arc, the club swing­ing back to the left.

Ad­just your aim

When­ever you choose to go for the big drive – ball fur­ther for­ward and teed higher – close your stance slightly to al­low for this later hit. Aim feet, hips and shoul­ders around 10 yards right of your tar­get (right-han­ders). The later, out-to-in im­pact will can­cel out this new align­ment.

Keep the at­tack shal­low

Pic­ture a line par­al­lel to the driver’s shaft six inches or so above it. This line broadly rep­re­sents the plane of your swing. Aim to de­liver the club to the ball with its shaft be­low the line. Keep­ing your at­tack shal­low like this guards against com­ing over the top and pulling the ball.

Tar­get the in­ner quad­rant

Be­fore the round starts, draw crosshairs on your ball. When you’re go­ing for the big one, aim the cross square to your tar­get line, tilted up so you can see it. Aim to strike the in­ner, lower quad­rant. This sim­ple in­ten­tion helps you keep the club be­hind you for longer, coun­ter­ing the pull.

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