Despite the USGA’s recent proposal to limit the distance elite players can hit the ball, power is still very much in demand for most recreational players.
Gaining distance off the tee can give a player a significant advantage. But what’s the best way to do it?
At GOLF’s recent Top 100 Teacher Summit, I asked instructor Christy Longfield for her best advice on how to gain more power off the tee, and she suggested working on two things: improving your range of motion and learning how to use the ground more effectively.
“Really learning how to load the ground — and have the ground push you back — is huge,” Longfield said. “And you want to make your swing as big as it can be, so that’s where range of motion comes in.”
Range of motion
Improving your range of motion is all about increasing the length and depth of your swing, Longfield said, and then moving it as fast as you can.
“It’s also understanding your body and what your limitations are,” she said. “If you’re not as active — maybe you have a sedentary office job — you can get tight pretty quickly. So then it’s all about increasing flexibility, and getting big and broad in your swing to create the speed you need to generate more power and distance.”
Swinging back and forth with a fluid motion and flow is one way to get started. You want to avoid being rigid and stiff when seeking positions, Longfield said.
“Obviously you want to have control of the clubface, but you need to be moving,” she said. “Try feeling a little bit out of control when you swing.”
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Using the ground
What does using the ground really feel like? Longfield said it can be helpful to tap into other areas where you do this naturally to try to replicate the feeling in the swing.
“Think about throwing a medicine ball against the wall,” Longfield said. “It’s not just your hands and arms swinging. You really have to tap into your feet. That’s what’s helpful in the golf swing, and identifying the proper footwork will help you load and explode.”
Wondering if you’re doing it correctly? Longfield says it should feel like rotating, loading and powering out of the swing, all while staying in balance.
“That’s when you’re maximizing the force,” she said.
Christy Longfield is the Director of Instruction at Spanish Oaks Golf Club in Austin, Texas. For more tips from GOLF’s top teachers, click here.
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