RICKIE’S DRIVER TIPS

How to chan­nel your in­ner tour pro and hit it fur­ther than ever.

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents - By Rickie Fowler

You can hit it far. You’re prob­a­bly not lim­ited by your size or fit­ness as much as you think. I work out for a lot of rea­sons, and pack­ing a few ex­tra me­tres is just one. I’m 68kg, never been much more, but I’ve al­ways been pretty long. The se­cret is not leak­ing any en­ergy, not a sin­gle drop, at the top of the back­swing. If one lit­tle part is loose or out of place, all the good ten­sion you’ve cre­ated is un­done. This feel­ing at the top of the back­swing, I’ve heard other golfers call “coiled.” Sounds about right to me.

1 the back knee stays bent

If my right leg straight­ens at any point in the back­swing, I give up a ton of lever­age. I’ll end up swing­ing the club back fur­ther, but what I lose is a strong con­nec­tion to the ground with my right foot. With­out sta­ble foot­ing, it’s im­pos­si­ble to hit the ball any­where near your po­ten­tial. You want to turn your weight on top of that knee, like a screw.

2 the arms ride on the ch­est

See how my left shoul­der is snug across my ch­est? If I were to let my up­per arms stray any fur­ther from my body, so they’re flap­ping around, I’d have a hard time sync­ing things up again on the down­swing. Don’t be overly strict about this, be­cause you want to stay re­laxed, but it’s kind of like you keep your armpits more closed.

3 the left wrist sets flat

Butch Har­mon and I have worked on get­ting my hands a lit­tle higher at the top of the back­swing so my arm plane is less flat – I want my hands higher than my shoul­ders. I re­ally like how my left wrist is per­fectly flat in this photo. It mir­rors the club­face, which is square. From here, the chances of hit­ting the ball square go way up. You don’t have to worry about sav­ing the swing on the way down. You can just un­coil.

bonus tip Hit­ting driver off the fair­way takes pre­ci­sion, but it’s not im­pos­si­ble. In fact, the shot is a lit­tle eas­ier than it was five years ago be­cause a lot of the new driver heads have a lower cen­tre of grav­ity. I’d say most sin­gle-fig­ure handicaps should at least mess around with hit­ting it off the deck. Even if you don’t have the con­fi­dence to do it in com­pe­ti­tion, just prac­tis­ing this shot does won­ders for your swing by train­ing your shoul­ders to be level through im­pact. If you tip back and try to help the ball up, you’ll top it. Come in too steep, and you’ll drive it into the ground.

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