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Weekend golfers often equate “muscle power’ with length off the tee. I see it all the time in my golf lessons. The player swings his or her driver as hard as he or she can, hoping to hit a monster drive. They never do. In fact, swinging the driver harder, as I tell these players, shortens your drives because it tightens your muscles, decreasing their ability to producing power.
The secret to more distance off the tee is generating more clubhead speed. Mechanically, you generate more clubhead speed one of three ways, as I point out in my golf tips:
o By widening your swing arc
o By lengthening your swing arc
o By adding speed in the hitting area
Widening your swing arc increases the distance the clubhead travels, giving it more time and room in which to build up speed. The same thing happens by lengthening your swing arc. This makes the swing arc longer, and again, gives the club more time and room to accumulate speed. Adding speed in the hitting area increases the clubhead’s momentum through the impact area, generating more power.
Below are three drills I use in my golf lessons to teach how to generate more clubhead speed. The key with the drills is learning the feeling of what it is like swinging the clubhead faster, then incorporating that feeling in your swing. Practice the drills faithfully. You will see results fairly quickly.
Widening Your Arc: Right Hand Drill
If you swing arc is narrow, the club has less time and room to build up speed. If your left arms (for right-handers) bends too much during your back swing or is scrunched against your body during your backswing, as I often explain in my golf tips, your swing radius diminishes. This, in turn, narrows your swing arc. To generate more distance, you must keep your arms extended, which isn’t easy if you have too much tension at address. Watch golfers with a low golf handicaps. They are always loose at address.
Ideally, you should feel your left arm extending on the backswing and downswing, with the sensation that you’re swinging the club’s butt away from your body. To achieve this feeling, practice hitting balls with your left hand holding the club and your right hand gripping your left wrist. Stretch the left arm out as you swing back. Use the right hand and arm to move the club farther from your body. The muscles at the top of your left arm should feel stretched as you complete your backswing. Swing slowly to keep club-ball contact solid.
Lengthening Your Arc: Right Foot Drill
Here’s another golf tip: The farther away from the ball the clubhead travels on the backswing, the more potential it has to generate speed on the downswing. Short swing arcs result from a lack of body turn on the backswing. A full turn pushes the club back farther, so it has farther to go –and more time and room to generate speed–coming down. To set the stage for a steeper turn, try the right foot drill. I use it frequently in my golf lessons
At address, draw your right foot back about 10 inches (like taking a small step backwards, away from the ball- so as to set your stance as closed) and turn the toe of your left foot out at a 45-degree angle to your target. Keep your shoulders and body pointed toward the target. Define the target line by laying two clubs on the ground, pointing toward the target. Now hit some balls. You’ll feel the sensation of your hips and shoulders turning more fully. Remember that feeling. Go back to your normal set-up but incorporate that feeling in your swing.
Adding Speed Through Impact: The Listening Drill
Next time you play a golfer with a low golf handicap, listen closely when he drives his ball. You’ll hear a loud “whoosh.” That’s the sound of clubhead traveling through impact at an enormous speed. That’s the sound of a good ball striker.
This drill teaches you what it feels like to swing a club with incredible speed as it passes in front of your body. You need a driver length shaft, with a grip on it and no clubhead attached. Swing the shaft back and through as in a normal practice swing, listening closely for the “whoosh” as it tears thought impact on the downswing. Try to make the whoosh loudest from a point even with your right leg to about midway into the follow-through. If you don’t have a spare shaft, simply turn your driver upside down and grip it on the neck just above the clubhead and the grip of the club will be where the clubhead would normally be.
As you swing, be aware of what body parts move the fastest during the drill. This sensation varies from player to player, then incorporate it in your swing. If it feels like your hands give you the greatest increase in speed, for example, concentrate on using them more actively when you go back to your normal swing.
These three drills generate more clubhead speed. Practice them from 25 to 50 times at a session. Make them a daily golf instruction routine. Doing so will improve your mechanics and ingrain the feeling of adding clubhead speed. Once you’ve ingrained this feeling in your mind, take it with you to the practice range and hit some balls. Keep at it. You should find yourself producing more distance off the tee without swinging harder and, probably, cutting strokes off your golf handicap.
write by Olwen