Golf Digest (South Africa) - - The Golf Life - THOMAS PI­ETERS BY

Every­one wants to hit the ball fur­ther. That’s easy to un­der­stand. Length makes it eas­ier to score. But if you’re look­ing at pure club­head speed as your in­di­ca­tor for how far – and how well – you’re hit­ting shots, you’re miss­ing an im­por­tant part of the story.

I’ve been lucky enough to have the same great coach since I was 13.That’s when Pete Cowen came to Bel­gium to run a pro­gramme for up-and-com­ing ju­nior play­ers. Pete told me from the be­gin­ning the goal was to have a swing that would hold up un­der the most stress­ful sit­u­a­tions; one that con­sis­tently put pres­sure on the ball and didn’t re­quire lots of ma­nip­u­la­tion with the hands. So that’s what we prac­tised.

I spent years learn­ing how to cre­ate pres­sure with my shoul­ders, and then trans­mit it through my arms into the club and ball.The work’s been done. Now it’s about get­ting in con­tention and com­ing through in the clutch, and I’ve been able to do that a few times.

This idea of pres­sure is why peo­ple love watch­ing Hen­rik Sten­son hit iron shots so much. Hen­rik learned it from Pete as well, and he com­presses the ball bet­ter than any­body.

When you do it cor­rectly, you’ll trans­fer more of the en­ergy you gen­er­ate with your swing into dis­tance – and ac­cu­racy. You’re hit­ting the ball ush, in­stead of with a glanc­ing blow.

I’m 6-foot-5 with long arms, and I train to be flex­i­ble and strong. My club­head speed with the driver, about 190 kilo­me­tres per hour, re ects that. But no mat­ter how fast you swing, you can get bet­ter results by fo­cus­ing more on pres­sure than speed. I’ll show you a cou­ple of ways to do that.

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