Flashback Jack: Jack Nicklaus reveals the surprising secret to hitting longer drives

March 24, 2020

Of all golf pursuits, perhaps the noblest is that of more swing speed. The easiest way to get better is to hit the ball farther consistently (and sure, hitting it straighter helps too). But pursuing speed can come at the expense of many of the fundamental elements of our game. Suddenly, we’ve developed a hook, a slice, we’re early extending, or crowding over the ball.

In this week’s Flashback Jack, Nicklaus shares his surprising key for getting faster swing speed without sacrificing your fundamentals: focus on a faster club, but a slower body.

“There are times when we all want to hit the ball farther,” Nicklaus says. “Well there’s only one thing I know, and that’s to make this, the clubhead, move faster. Not my arms, not my hand, not my legs, not everything else. Just the clubhead.”

But isn’t it counterintuitive to view a faster clubhead as separate from a faster swing? Nicklaus says no.

“The natural tendency when you want to hit the ball hard is to swing faster,” he says. “I make a very conscious effort to swing more slowly so that I give myself all the time in the world for all those elements to happen, so the clubhead moves faster and the ball goes farther.”

Once you’ve focused on swinging slowly, Nicklaus points to a few key areas of the swing that can help you start seeing results.

“I want to make sure my legs are driving to create as much leverage so when I release the clubhead, the clubhead is coming into the ball faster,” Jack says. “I want to make sure I make a long finish to keep that clubhead moving so I don’t ever stop the clubhead in the hitting area.”

If your swing thought is “slow” and your motion is good, Nicklaus says you’ll find your drives soaring longer (and straighter).

“If you do that, I think you’re going to find that you’re not only going to hit the ball farther, but you’re also going to control it better than you would if you were to just take a wild swing at it.”