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Hunter Mahan: 6 Easy Ways to Crush It Down the Fairway

Hunter Mahan, Driving Tip 1
Angus Murray
A smoother backswing leads to a faster downswing.

I love driving. My caddie had better have a very good reason for handing me a 3-wood or hybrid on the tee box, because unless it makes zero sense to hit driver, I'm hitting driver. It's my favorite club -- the one I can count on in the clutch and lean on when other parts of my game are a little off.

This love affair is no accident. I've worked hard to not only improve my driver swing but also to understand it. I've gotten to the point where I instantly know why I'm driving well on good days and, more importantly, why I'm not driving it well on bad days. It boils down to hitting six key positions that almost automatically deliver speed and accuracy. Use my position-by-position checklist and you'll realize -- maybe for the first time -- that driving is fun and easy.

Your swing is equal parts backswing and downswing, but the two parts couldn't be more different. The first one is about creating energy and the second is about expending it. My goal on every swing is to marry the two, but to create enough separation between them so that they don't blur together. I make my backswing, pause, and then start down. I can't do this if I whip the club back at 100 mph like a lot of players do.

I'm a big baseball guy. I love the way batters point the bat toward center field as they settle into their stance, slowly bring the bat back as the pitcher starts his windup, and then wait for the pitch. That's the perfect image of the smoothness you need in your backswing. To get it, swing the club back with your arms and hands in near-slow motion during the first three feet of your swing, and then slowly add your shoulder and hip turn. Try to get your club, arms, shoulders and hips to stop at the same time at the top. This lets you start them at the same time on the way back down so your body doesn't get too far in front or lag too far behind the clubhead.

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