Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Front Page - BY JUSTIN ROSE

Last year I ranked fourth on the PGA Tour in a new stat called strokes gained from tee to green. It mea­sures per­for­mance ver­sus the field in ev­ery­thing but putting. For tour play­ers, that re­ally means driv­ing and ap­proach shots. Here’s what I think about when I’m driv­ing the ball well and hit­ting greens.

off the tee

The most im­por­tant part of my driver swing is gen­er­at­ing power from the con­nec­tion be­tween my feet and the ground. It starts with a good setup. I play the ball up in my stance – you need to catch it on the up­swing with the driver if you want dis­tance. I get into a good, ath­letic pos­ture, and from there I start my swing.

The one-piece take­away is a thing of the past. I think of it in pieces: the club­head goes first, then the hands, then the arms. I turn into my right side, load­ing my right hip and en­gag­ing my glutes ( left), sim­i­lar to do­ing squats or dead­lifts. That feel­ing of load­ing my right leg is a huge key for me.

Through­out the back­swing, I’m think­ing of the word de­velop. I’m not rush­ing to the top. I’m let­ting the swing de­velop in its own time. That helps me sync ev­ery­thing. At the top, when all my weight is loaded into my right side, I feel like my right big toe is press­ing into the ground. I’m build­ing as much lever­age as pos­si­ble from the ground up.

That sets up my move back to the ball. The key mo­ment of my down­swing is when I’m half­way down. There, I’m fo­cused on stor­ing power and main­tain­ing my height. I keep up the pres­sure into the ground through my feet. With all that lever­age, I can push off and re­lease the club pow­er­fully into the ball. If I’ve stayed “in the shot” and kept my con­nec­tion to the ground, I’m rip­ping it down the mid­dle.

driver prac­tice

Here’s a drill I use for build­ing power out of the ground. I drop my left foot back and put 90 per­cent of my weight on my right foot. Then I bring my arms to the top and prac­tise swing­ing half­way down. My weight doesn’t move off my right side, so my right leg is con­stantly en­gaged ( right). Re­peat­ing this mo­tion helps me feel ex­plo­sive into the ball, just what I want with the driver.

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