Francesco Molinari put on a ball-striking clinic (literally) for Sky Sports during the British Masters last week. He talked about lots of things, but one of the things I found most interesting was his answer to a question about his recent distance gains.
It started with Molinari explaining how his lack of flexibility affects his golf swing. He spent years focusing on perfecting his technique, but over time, once the foundations for his swing were set, Molinari decided to take it to the next level.
While Molinari’s swing was consistent before, he said it was too hands and arms-orientated and he often lost distance because of it. Instead, he wanted to focus on turning his torso more behind the ball on his backswing to create more leverage, and then releasing it fully on the downswing.
So, he did two things:
Flare The Left Foot
First, at address, he flared his left foot out towards the target. Many golfers are taught to keep their toes turned-in more so their toes are pointed perpendicular to the target line. But by turning his left foot out more, Molinari said it created more speed by freeing-up his hips and allowing them to move more freely through the ball.
Lift The Heel
The other thing he did is something Golf Channel Analyst Brandel Chamblee preaches often: He lifts the left heel on his backswing. Molinari’s lack of flexibility means he struggles to make a full turn with both his upper and lower bodies on the backswing; lifting his left heel slightly lets him turn more freely going back, and creates more power because of it.
The was a lot of other hard work that Molinari put into his game, of course. He spent more time at the gym trying to improve the lack of flexibility, but these two swing techniques helped him gain the power he sought after, and the results speak for themselves: In 2013, his average driving distance was 278 yards. In 2018, he averaged 301 yards. Give these two things a try. You may not gain that much distance, but you could potentially tack on a few extra yards, too.