The Easy Way to Add 20 Yards to Your Drive

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The Easy Way to Add 20 Yards These four power factors are so potent that each one alone can boost your everyday drive by up to five yards. By Charlie King with David DeNunzio Power Factor 1: A Flatter Approach WHAT IT IS: The clubhead travels beneath the plane your shoulders rest on at address. WHAT IT DOES: Stops you from making a steep, over-the-top downswing — the one that usually results in a high slice or a pull. YES! Halfway down, the butt of your driver should point at or slightly outside your target line. • Sergio Garcia's Four Driving Secrets
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THE DRILL HOW TO GET IT: Make practice swings from an uphill lie (back foot lower than the front). When you swing uphill, gravity keeps you over your right side longer in your downswing and stops you from moving in front of the ball. Almost automatically, the uphill lie gives you the upward angle you need to hit powerful drives. When you move to flatter ground, resist moving forward — use your left side as a post that your club can sling up and past. Practicing on an uphill slope helps you lean away from the target the correct amount so you catch the ball on the upswing.
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Power Factor 4: Ascending Strike WHAT IT IS: The bottom of your swing arc occurs before the ball, and you catch the ball at the very start of the upswing. WHAT IT DOES: Gives you a ton more carry and, since you'll be landing the ball in the fairway, more roll, too. Research by swing analyzers like TrackMan (www.trackmangolf.com) and TaylorMade's MATT (Motion Analysis Technology by TaylorMade) system back this up. Check the data at right. NO! Downward strikes result in more backspin and a loss of distance.
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POWER DRILL HOW TO GET IT: Grip your driver with just your left hand and take the club back like you're making a regular full swing. Make sure you turn your torso slightly away from the target and hinge your wrist fully. Stop when your hand reaches belt height and check that the toe of your driver is pointing up. If you've done it right, your left elbow should point down the target line. Now, swing your club to impact position and stop. If you've simply swung your left arm down, you'll see that your left elbow still points down the target line and the face is open. The trick is to swing your arm down while also rotating it so that at impact your left elbow points slightly behind you. Check the face — it'll be square. When you're waiting to hit on the tee box, make waist-high-to-waist-high swings. On each effort, get the toe of your driver pointing up in your backswing and in your follow-through. That's the rotation action you need to square the face at impact. ...but points behind you at impact.
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Power Factor 3: Square Clubface WHAT IT IS: The clubface is aimed directly at your target at impact. WHAT IT DOES: Makes sure your new, longer drives stay in the fairway. Left elbow points at the target here...
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Gripping the club in your fingers adds speed.
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POWER DRILL HOW TO GET IT: It's all about timing. You want the fastest part of your downswing to occur near the bottom of your swing arc. Grip the shaft of your driver near the clubhead end and make a few practice swings. Notice the "whoosh" sound. The whoosh is loudest when the shaft is moving its fastest. Set up in your address position, take the club back with a full hinge of your wrists and unhinge them very early in your downswing. Notice how the whoosh occurs way before the ball. Do the same thing but this time hold off unhinging your wrists for as long as you can. The whoosh should have occurred way after the ball. This shows how releasing the club too early — or not at all — robs you of speed. Continue the drill, but now focus on making the loudest whoosh where the ball would be. It helps if you grip the club in your fingers instead of imbedding it in your palm (copy the grip above). A finger grip gives your wrists more freedom to hinge and unhinge. When you time the unhinging of your wrists perfectly, the whoosh sound your club makes will occur near the low point of your swing arc.
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Your swing's momentum should cause your wrists to rehinge after impact. If they don't, it means you held on too long and drained your swing of power and speed.
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When you unhinge your wrists at the right time, all of that energy goes into your strike.
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Power Factor 2: Wrist Hinge WHAT IT IS: A secret power lever — your wrist joints are among the fastest in your body. WHAT IT DOES: When you hinge your wrists on your backswing, you store potential energy. When you unhinge them at the proper moment on your downswing, your clubhead speed explodes. Hinging your wrists fully gives your swing greater energy.
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...and stays flat so you can't come over the top and hit a slice.
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POWER DRILL HOW TO GET IT: Make practice swings on a sidehill lie with an imaginary ball above your feet. You can do this next to any elevated tee box while waiting for your turn to hit. Swinging from this lie combats a steep downswing, because if you swing over the top your club will slam into the hill. Focus on swinging around your body rather than up and down, and try to brush the grass where the ball would be in your stance. If you can't find a sidehill, make baseball swings by moving the club back and through at waist-height. Your swing plane automatically flattens when the ball is above your feet...
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NO! If the butt of your club points inside your target line or at the ground, your downswing is too steep — you'll hit either a pull, pull-slice or pop up.
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TESTED: ANGLE OF ATTACK Swing studies involving hundreds of professional and amateur swings prove that catching the ball at the start of your upswing increases carry distance and total distance for all clubhead speeds. Only by attacking the ball at a 5-degree up angle will you producethe right combination of vertical launch angle and backspin. "Get fit for a driver using a launch monitor. The right specs will add serious yards to your drives. I did this myself last year at our TaylorMade Performance lab (www.tmplabs.com) and picked up 10 to 20 yards of carry. I would never have believed it had I not gone through the process and saw the data — and results — that proved technology works." • Sergio Garcia's Four Driving Secrets