My Golf Instructor

Power Drives
The 4 Key Elements to Hitting it Huge

4 Key Elements to Hitting Big DrivesKnow the Key Components to Big Drives

Power Drives. The most popular topic in golf. Everyone wants to hit it huge. There is almost no feeling of satisfaction quite like punishing a drive down the middle of the fairway. Power is intriguing in all sports. Everyone loves a home run hitter, a 3 point shot, a 70 yard touchdown pass. But power is even more intriguing in the game of golf.

How can someone 120 lbs hit the ball 245 yards if the 250 lb gorilla next to them can only hit it 180? It is a question asked time and time again. Of course it has to do with strength, but there's a lot more to it than that. When students come to the lesson tee requesting more distance, I evalutate the 4 components that I believe to determine a player's ability to hit it far: strength and flexibility, technique, kinematic sequence and equipment

4 Key Components to Hitting Power Drives

Strength and Flexibility

I'm not going to lie to you. You can't generate speed without strength and flexibility. Tight, tense muscles are slow muscles. Flexibility can go a long way to help you generate a wide swing arc and rotational speed even if you aren't muscle bound. Men are constantly surprised to see good lady players who are smaller than them hit it farther. Get on a good daily stretching routine even if it's just 10 minutes a day right before you go to bed.

Technique

Note: See my article "Positioning for Driving Success" to get your set up primed for power.

Release: Release the club head as late as possible. You want to pull the club, not push it to the ball. The club head will get there merely because of centrifugal force. You don't need to help it! Store your power and let it unleash at the very last minute.

Swing Arc: To generate a lot of rotational force and thus club head speed keep a wide arc in the backswing. Everyone has heard the old wives tale of "keep your left arm straight". The right arm is really the culprit here. Your left arm wants to stay straight and function as a lever, but when the right arm pulls in, it forces the left arm to break at the top of the swing. Try pushing your right arm out away from your body as you swing to the top of the backswing.

Swing Path: Setting up and staying behind the ball with your head and upper spine will help achieve an inside/out swing path coming into the ball. This will produce a high launch with a bit of a draw and top spin allowing the ball to release and roll a bit. Tons of students come to me hitting down on their tee shots from the outside causing the ball to cut or slice with backspin and robbing themselves of 30-50 yards.

Kinematic Sequence

Your kinematic sequence is the order in which your body parts fire. To achieve maximum distance you want your hips to fire first and as they slow your shoulders with then accelerate. As your shoulders start to slow, your arms hands will take over and fire causing the club head to release. Having these body parts firing out of order can slow things down and cause a huge loss of distance.

Equipment

I have to laugh when some of my students show up with a driver that even I couldn't hit 200 yards. Technology has come so far and it makes a huge jump with drivers it seems every 3-5 years. Do yourself a favor and if you want to knock the ball out there where you are in a position to score, get a good driver and make sure it is custom fit on a launch monitor. It will make a huge difference!

Maria Palozola

Maria Palozola is a member of the LPGA and has participated in multiple LPGA Tour events. She has provided instruction to thousands of students in the past 20+ years and has won multiple teaching awards from the LPGA, Golf Digest, and Golf Magazine including being ranked as one of the top 50 female instructors in the world.

Who is Maria Palozola?
- Top 50 LPGA Instructors in the World
- A Golf Digest Top 10 Teacher in Illinois
- A Golf Magazine Top Teacher in the Midwest
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