Create a powerful turn and you'll blast it past your friends without looking like you're even trying
By Adam Scott, with Michael Walker Jr.
Ben Hogan said that any golfer could break 80 if he set his mind to it. I don't know about that, but I think every golfer is capable of breaking 90. To max out your scoring potential, you'll need to max out your distance off the tee. Many amateurs try to get there by swinging as fast they can, but all that does is upset your rhythm. When you watch Tour events, the guys never look like they're swinging hard, yet many regularly blast it 300-plus yards. How do they do that? The key to effortless power is your rotation around your spine. What that means is you want a small hip turn and a big shoulder turn to store power during your backswing. Then maintain a stable core so you can release all that energy at impact.
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KEY 1 SETUP
Create a Stable Base for Power
My setup is the basis of my whole swing. You want to get into a comfortable position where you feel confident about hitting the ball. For me, it's a matter of getting into the right posture, setting my hands correctly on the grip and teeing the ball at the height that allows me to contact the ball in the center of the sweet spot.
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To find the address posture that's right for you, follow my routine. It's the one I use for every swing I make, whether I'm on the range or competing in a PGA Tour event.
1. Stand up straight with the club out in front of you...
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2. ...flex your knees until you feel comfortable and athletic...
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3. ...then bend at your hips down to the ball.
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I recommend a more neutral grip than the strong one that many amateurs play. See how the Vs formed by my thumbs and forefingers point just slightly to the right of the center of my chest? While a stronger grip (one where the Vs point to your right shoulder) can help fight a slice, a neutral grip avoids the need to make compensations.
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I tee the ball so that the center of the ball is just below the top of the clubhead. At impact, this allows me to connect on the sweet spot, just above the center of the clubface.
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KEY 2 BACKSWING
Get Wide in Your Takeaway
Rotation plays a big part in how I create power in my swing. In fact, when I want to improve my swing, I go to the gym as much as the driving range because it's so important for me to maintain my strength and flexibility. When I start my backswing, I focus on taking the club away by turning my shoulders while keeping my hips still. Strive for a smooth, one-piece takeaway, and feel like you're turning into the inside of your right leg (you should see wrinkles in your right pants pocket).
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A good swing thought is to keep it low and slow, so you don't pick the club up too quickly or sway onto your right side.
Don't lift the club.
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Keep the club low to the ground.
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KEY 3 AT THE TOP
Feel the Clubhead
Starting down too fast from the top is the worst kind of power leak. You want to build up speed in your downswing so you're approaching your maximum clubhead speed as you approach impact. If you start too fast, you'll be slowing down into impact.
Your smooth, one-piece backswing should allow you to feel exactly where your clubhead is at the top. Think about making a big shoulder turn and a small arm turn, and keep your hands as far away from your head as possible to store maximum power in your turn.
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1. Keep your hands as far away from your head as possible. The key is to turn your shoulders more and swing your arms less.
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2. You'll know you've made a proper power turn when you feel that your back is facing the target at the end of your backswing.
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KEY 4 IMPACT
Lock Down Your Core
You won't consistently drive the ball far unless you can maintain your posture throughout your swing. The most common mistake people make is to straighten up when they swing down. You create effortless power with the clubhead speed you generate when you unwind the coil you created in your backswing around your spine, and to do this, you need to stay in the same posture you had at address. The focus of your whole swing is to turn around your spine. Lots of people get confused when golf instructors start talking about "spine angle." What it means is that your core needs to remain stable throughout your swing. If you stay in your posture, you'll maintain your angles and let your arms swing freely, which will allow you to unleash a powerful strike on the ball.
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Starting down slowly means I'm building up speed for the moment of impact.
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To get the feeling of locking down your core, try sucking in your stomach and making practice swings. Turn back and through, and try to maintain your stability.
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KEY 5 FOLLOW-THROUGH AND FINISH
Finish with Authority
Try to end your swing really hard on your left side, with your eyes looking at the target and your left leg straight. This means that you've been able to rotate fully around your spine and make a complete body turn. Your goal at the end of your swing should be to feel balanced, just like you were at address. This is easy to do when you swing within yourself.
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A straight left leg after impact means you've fully rotated around your spine.
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