Every Monday, we tap GOLF’s Top 100 Teachers in America for their insights on what went down between the ropes over the weekend on the major tours, and more importantly, how you can use this information to improve your own game. Call it trickle-down tips—learn from the best to play your best.
In this special U.S. Open iteration of the MMSC, we’ve given the Top 100 a breather and went straight to the champ. Here’s what Brooks Koepka has to say on hitting perfect drives with tons of speed and the fairway-splitting keys you need to go low.
Dig Your Feet In
There’s a lot to worry about at address: your grip, aim, distance from the ball, etc. But nothing’s more important than what you do with your feet. The reason you take a stance is to create a swing foundation, so as you make those last few waggles, be sure to physically drive both feet into the ground. You want to feel rooted to the turf. It helps if you balance your weight over the balls of your feet and then use your glutes and quads to pressure the ground under each shoe.
The more you connect to the ground, the faster you can turn. Think of the opposite extreme: If you swung while standing on ice, sure, you could rotate, but you wouldn’t be able to coil because your lower body would have to turn along with your upper. Coil is key, and it all starts with your feet.
Load Your Glutes
Butt power is swing power. If you can’t effectively “load” your glutes as you swing to the top, you’re basically swinging on fumes.The trick is to rotate while keeping your knees flexed and your feet pressuring the ground. Avoid swaying and you’ll feel your right glute become tense as you near the top. I like it to feel so tense that a tackler coming from my right side couldn’t take me down. While gym work isn’t mandatory, any exercise that builds rear-end strength will pay off. Even simple squats in your home or hotel room will do your swing some good—no butts about it.
Point Your Back at the Target
The bigger your turn, the faster you’ll swing. It’s simple physics. There have been a lot of theories on how to make the biggest windup. What works? Turning my upper body as far to the right as my flexibility allows while keeping my feet dug firmly into the ground and my lower body stable. The secret is to turn your back, the hub of your upper body. Rotate it and everything—shoulders, chest and core—rotates with it. Picture a flashlight between your shoulder blades, and try to turn your back so far that the light shines on the target when you reach the top. This visual reminds you to use your big muscles, not your small ones.
Drive Your Right Knee
As you transition from backswing to downswing, drive your right knee toward the target while keeping your left knee flexed and stable. This knee action shifts your energy toward the target (good for any hitting activity) and helps put the club on the ideal path. It also stops the club from getting trapped behind you (leading to a push) or moving too far out in front of your body (a slice or a pull) as you approach impact. In order to drive your right knee effectively, your feet must keep pressuring the ground. (I told you that was important!) Without a grounded stance, you won’t be able to drive forward off your right foot, and your left foot won’t be stable enough to accept the weight shift.
Use Your Core
Through the hitting zone, your primary focus is to rotate your core as fast as possible. Picture a laser beam shooting out of your belly button: You want the beam to bisect the ball along its equator as you turn through the shot—and fast! When I really want to crank a drive, I imagine I’m hitting the ball with just my abdomen. Stronger abs mean a faster turn and longer drives. Sneak in a few sit-ups or crunches. Do it. Besides core power, it will help you maintain your posture through impact for squarer strikes and take pressure off your lower back.