Show of hands: Who wants to add a few yards to their drives? Basically every single golfer would love a little more juice off the tee, from the weekend hacker to Tiger Woods. That’s why every February or March we rush out to Dick’s Sporting Goods and buy the latest, greatest, biggest, 460cc ultra light graphite shaft super huge sweet spot driver from all those golf companies out there. While a new driver can definitely help a little (while hurting our wallets), it’s usually the Indian, not the arrow.
It’s already costing more and more money to play golf. It’s practically as expensive to fill up your gas tank and drive to the course as it is to actually play. So how can we add a few yards to the big stick without breaking the bank? Just apply some simple physics!
Alright, you’re probably thinking “come on, golf is hard enough; I can barely break 100 these days. I have to do physics, too?!” But this is pretty simple. Imagine a taut but flexible wire. If you grab one end and pull it to the side, making the wire curved, what happens when you let go? It snaps back to its natural, straight position. And, the farther you curve it, the faster it snaps back. The same principle can be applied to the human body and the golf swing.
Get to the driving range…a good local one is All-American Sports Center in North Ridgeville. Take a practice swing with your driver. When you get to the top of your backswing, freeze. Now, without moving your upper body, twist your hips as much as you can towards the target. Hold this position for a moment and take note of how uncomfortable it is. It’s uncomfortable because this is not the natural resting position of the hips and torso. The hips and torso should line up straight, like when you stand up naturally. Since this is an awkward and twisted position for the body, it will want to correct itself by snapping the upper body back in line with the hips. That’s where the downswing comes in.
On most golfers’ downswings, the hips and torso are pretty closely aligned. But not with this new swing you’re trying. Since you’ve already twisted your hips around and your belt buckle is facing the target (hopefully!), you’re upper body wants to catch up…FAST.
Now that you’re standing on the driving range, at the top of your backswing, feeling horrible discomfort in your waist, go ahead and finish your swing. Notice how your upper body whips through the swing and catches up to your lower half. That speed generated transfers directly to your club head, which means: more distance! When you find your ball in the fairway a solid 300 yards away, don’t forget to check it for cracks or bruises from the assault you laid upon it.
Oh, and there’s another added benefit to this technique. Since your upper body is whipping through so quickly, the face of the club is much easier to square up with the ball. Now, don’t take this as a cure for the old banana ball, but it certainly helps alleviate it a little bit; and for you lucky folks who already hit it fairly straight, don’t be surprised to see a little draw on that drive.
Last tip here: be sure to practice this at the range quite a bit before debuting it on the first tee at the country club. You can probably just tell from imagining it that it’s a very awkward and uncomfortable thing to do. It’s definitely not for everybody. But try it out, practice it for a while, and try to get used to it. Once it becomes second nature and you don’t have to think about it anymore, it’s a great little weapon to have in your arsenal.
For now, friends…catch ya at the 19th hole.