Jor­dan Spi­eth’s Straight Dis­tance

How to drive it in the fair­way again and again BY JOR­DAN SPI­ETH

Golf Digest Middle East - - Contents - with max adler

Keys for hit­ting ev­ery fair­way—again and again.

You’re driv­ing it great, scor­ing well, then some­where in the mid­dle of the back nine you spray a cou­ple of tee shots. That’s all it takes to ruin a round. Were they men­tal er­rors from get­ting tight or ner­vous? Only you know the an­swer. More likely your body just got a lit­tle tired. That’s when ev­ery golfer’s un­de­sir­able ten­den­cies come out, mine in­cluded. Know­ing this, I per­form nearly all of my phys­i­cal-train­ing ex­er­cises from a golf stance. Hav­ing the strength in your legs and core to main­tain pos­ture through­out the swing is im­por­tant with ev­ery club, but ab­so­lutely crit­i­cal with the driver. It has the long­est shaft, and you swing it the fastest, so even small misses can travel 30 yards off line. ▶ In this ar­ti­cle, I’ll ex­plain my bad ten­den­cies and the swing thoughts I use to avoid them. Ad­di­tion­ally, to be a great driver, it’s im­por­tant to swing within your­self. It’s easy for play­ers on tour to know when they’re get­ting jumpy, be­cause there are more and more launch mon­i­tors on tour­na­ment tee boxes nowa­days—and you can’t help but look. My driver swing speed is 115 miles per hour, which gets me 293 yards of carry. I can swing harder, but then I can lose con­trol. Car­ry­ing the ball 300, but into trou­ble, isn’t worth much. I don’t of­fer this to brag—there are plenty of guys on tour who bomb it way past me—but I think all golfers, es­pe­cially am­a­teurs, suf­fer now and then from chas­ing those ex­tra cou­ple miles per hour of swing speed.

▶ And, as any suc­cess I’ve had has demon­strated, con­sis­tently driv­ing the ball in play is a weapon all it’s own. Here’s how to do it. ▶

lead with the hip

if i get a lit­tle tired, my right hip slides away from the tar­get on the take­away, then buck­les. The ideal po­si­tion is above. My right hip is piv­ot­ing—not sway­ing—so my back­swing feels like my up­per body turns over my lower body. You can tell I’ve made a deep shoul­der turn, be­cause you can’t see my right arm. That’s the di­rec­tive from my coach, Cameron McCormick: “Hide the right arm, Jor­dan.” But I don’t think about that arm or my up­per body dur­ing the back­swing. In­stead, if I can feel my right hip and glutes ac­ti­vated (you’ve prob­a­bly heard Tiger talk about this; it’s truly a use­ful con­cept), I know my up­per body will fol­low and find the right po­si­tion at the top of the swing.

tilt the shoul­ders

from this per­spec­tive ( left), you can see how my right hip re­ally turns be­hind and away. As I em­pha­sised, this move with the lower body is the trig­ger to my back­swing. But an­other point worth men­tion­ing is that you can see my left shoul­der is lower than my right. An image that some­times pops into my head for the top of the swing is, if my shoul­ders were the wings of an air­plane, the left wing would be an­gled down and the right wing up. And with my chest turned com­pletely away from the tar­get, I’ve cre­ated a lot of space to swing down and at­tack the ball from in­side the tar­get line and hit up on it. This path will pro­duce the high, draw­ing ball flight I pre­fer.

‘HOW DO YOU KNOW I MADE A FULL TURN? YOU CAN’T SEE MY RIGHT ARM IN THIS PHOTO.’

wing down

if you’re watch­ing a tour­na­ment and see me miss a tee shot way right, it’s likely my right shoul­der lifted in the down­swing. When that hap­pens, the club comes down steep and to the left, which is the clas­sic over-the-top move that makes the ball peel off to the right. Re­turn­ing to the air­plane-wing metaphor I used for the top of the back­swing, a great thought for the tran­si­tion is an early change in wing po­si­tions. To start the down­swing, let that right air­plane wing (your back shoul­der) an­gle down to­ward the ball as the left shoul­der moves up. As you see ( right), my right shoul­der is way lower than my left, which pro­motes the club­head to travel on a shal­low, in­side path. Again, that’s the recipe for a draw.

fol­low the flight

re­mem­ber when i said it’s all about keep­ing your pos­ture? The fin­ish po­si­tion is the big re­veal. If I don’t hold my fin­ish— poised and still like a fig­urine atop a tro­phy—I know it was a sloppy swing. The slight­est wob­ble means I got lazy or swung too hard. I love the image below. My right shoul­der and belt buckle are point­ing at the tar­get, which in­di­cates a full and com­mit­ted fol­low-through. And you can tell from my eyes that I’m fol­low­ing the shot. A great habit is to hold your fin­ish un­til the ball lands. If it’s dif­fi­cult to stay in bal­ance for these few sec­onds, you’ve got work to do on your core strength. But if your ball is track­ing cen­ter cut, ad­mire it for a mo­ment. OK, that’s long enough. Now pick up your tee.

‘HOLD YOUR FIN­ISH UN­TIL THE BALL LANDS. IF IT’S DIF­FI­CULT TO KEEP YOUR BAL­ANCE FOR THESE FEW SEC­ONDS, YOU SWUNG TOO HARD OR GOT LAZY.’

june 2018 golfdi­gestme. com

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