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|For more power, try this drill: Swing to the top of your swing and pump your arms down half way, so that your right elbow points away from your body. (Courtesy Karen Palacios-Jansen)|
You've heard that a golf-specific workout will help you get more distance, so you're pumping iron, jogging religiously, stretching - but you still haven't gained any distance off the tee. What's the deal?
Well, I will be the first to tell you that a golf-specific exercise program will help you gain distance, but you also need to have good swing technique to take advantage of your strength and flexibility.
If you are losing power in your golf swing, it may not be because you are not strong enough; there may be a flaw in your swing. You may need to examine your golf swing more carefully and figure out where the power leaks are occurring. I have assembled a list of seven factors that may be causing power loss, with tips on how to get more distance.
1. You may not be making solid contact with the sweet spot, or center of the clubface. For every quarter-inch you hit the ball outside of the sweet spot, you lose 12 yards of distance. If you hit the ball off the toe of the clubface, which is three-quarters of an inch outside the sweet spot, you'll lose 36 yards of distance.
Concentrate on hitting the ball on the sweet spot. Buy special clubface tape available at the pro shop that will mark your strike point when you make contact with the ball. Work until you can make solid contact with the ball right in the middle of the sweet spot.
2. You may be coming over the top on the downswing. Specifically, your arms are swung away from your body on the downswing, resulting in an "out to in" clubface path. This produces very weak shots. To fix this problem, concentrate on your right elbow (or left elbow if you are left-handed) on the downswing. Try this drill: Swing to the top of your swing and pump your arms down half way, so that your right elbow points away from your body. This will make your arms come closer to your side and make the clubhead stay behind your hands so that you can hit the inside of the ball for solid contact.
3. You may be turning your shoulder incorrectly on the downswing. If you throw your right shoulder (left shoulder if you are left-handed) toward the target as you start your downswing, the result is an over the top motion with the club. To fix this problem, concentrate on making your right shoulder rock down instead of out on the start of the downswing. This will help the arms stay closer to the body and initiate an "in to out" swing instead of over the top.
4. You may be hitting the outside of the ball at impact, imparting left to right spin. To correct this, you need to hit the inside of the ball at impact instead. To help you achieve this position, have the butt end of the club pointing inside the ball-target line as you swing your arms down. This will help you hit the inside of the ball.
5. You may be initiating your downswing with your upper body instead of your lower body from the top of the swing. This will cause your arms to swing away from your body, creating a power loss. To correct this, you must initiate the downswing with your lower body first and let the upper body follow to the finish. Concentrate on leading your downswing with your legs instead of your upper body.
6. You may be making contact with the ball at the wrong point. If your clubhead makes contact with the ground before the ball, you will lose power and hit the ball fat or thin. To make correct contact, play the ball farther back in your stance. This will help you achieve a downward blow and give you more power. Usually the ball is placed in the middle of the stance for a mid iron, but to improve contact at impact, move the ball back of center. This will help you make better contact. As you gain confidence, you can move the ball back to the center of your stance.
7. You may be pushing the ball down the fairway with your arms instead of swinging the clubhead. If your left or lead arm looks like a chicken wing on the follow-through, the club is cutting across the ball, resulting in a power loss.
To adjust, you'll need to release your forearms. Try the split grip drill to get the proper feeling. Without a ball, slide your right hand down until your index finger is on the shaft. This will make your right arm longer on the club. Take practice swings and you will feel how the right arm folds over the left one on the follow-through. Practice this until it becomes automatic and then practice hitting shots with your regular grip.
January 22, 2008
While live lessons from a good golf professional are always better, if you're going to learn to play or improve your game on your own, the "Butch Harmon About Golf presented by Titleist" series is about as good as it gets. The two-DVD set, which costs $79.95, is broken down into six sections and is very well organized, Mike Bailey writes.
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