A reader of mine once asked what are the keys to consistency and power? He told me that when he focused on consistency off the tee, he lost power. But when he concentrated on power, he lost consistency. He was after what many players consider the Holy Grail of golf: consistency and power off the tee.
Combining these two things isn’t? always easy. In fact, some golfers would probably say that they’re mutually exclusive. I might agree if I had seen players either while I was playing or giving golf lessons combine both at the same time. So what were their secrets?
I’ve distilled it down to some simple steps. Below are five keys to achieving consistency and power from the tee.
1. Eliminate tension on the tee
A common mistake on the tee is tightening up grip pressure and then trying to swing the club faster with the hands and forearms. Tightening your hands and forearms creates tension. Tension slows clubhead speed. Slow clubhead speed drains power from your swing. To hit a ball with consistency and power, you must swing freely and effortlessly. Eliminate as much tension from your hands and body as possible.
Some suggestions for staying relaxed while hitting off the tee are taking deep breaths to relax your body and heart, making mini swings in slow motion before addressing the ball, and recalling the feeling of your most solid shot. Remember if your hands are relaxed your body will be relaxed, and vice versa.
2. Assume a proper grip
Major power loses result from a faulty grip. In particular is a grip in which the left-hand-thumb (for right-hand people) is fully extended at the top of the grip. This fault causes a chain reaction of faults in other area a too-weak left-handed grip, a faulty wrist hinge, and a shaft that swings beyond parallel at the top of the swing.
The best way to practice the feel of a short thumb is with a rubber band. Point your index finger forward and pinch the gap between your thumb and index finger closed. Place the rubber band around the thumb and index finger, connecting them together. Now grip the club. Practice repeatedly. You will get used to the feeling and will take it with you to the golf course.
3. Maintain swing radius
Radius is the distance from your left shoulder (for right hand people) to the end of the club shaft. In other words, it is the distance from the center of your golf swing to the outer-edge. Your lead arm must be in line with or trailing your other arm at impact, known as maintaining radius. Maintaining radius enables you to strike the ball solidly and with power.
Many recreational players taking my golf lessons try to force the shaft of the club past the lead arm prior to impact. This effort causes the club face to travel up not down, resulting in a fat or thin shot. In addition to limiting distance, a loss of radius causes a hook, slice, and wide assortment of other poor shots. You can maintain your radius by taking the club away low and slow using a one-piece takeaway.
4. Generate Leverage
One key to hitting longer, straighter drives is generating leverage. When swinging a baseball bat or throwing a ball, the natural tendency is to create leverage before you do either by using the ground. This adds power to the swing or throw. Unfortunately recreational golfers don’t always generate leverage when swinging a club, sapping power and cutting distances.
Your set up determines how powerfully you swing a club in a controlled manner. First, widen your stance for stability and power. The insteps of your feet should be in line with your shoulders. Second, turn your back foot in slightly (toward the target) to create a coiling post for your back swing and to support your torso rotation and weight transfer. Third, flare the front foot out (toward the target) also to facilitate downswing rotation.
5. Release the club properly
Players know they have to release the club correctly, but they’re not sure how or when to do it. Some of these players try all sorts of techniques but with no result. Trying these techniques sometimes creates havoc with your swing. Releasing the club properly is not a position you can just put yourself into at impact. It happens naturally as a result of your swing. You have to arrive at it as the result of a proper swing sequence.
Ideally, you want to square the club face to the ball at impact by rotating your right forearm over the left (for right hand people). The result is a flat left wrist and a club face square to the ball. After impact, your hands and arms should extend fully and your body rotates to the left as your club remains on the target line. If you wear a glove, your glove hand should be underneath your without glove hand. This position is the result of proper swing sequence. You have to let it happen automatically.
These five key eliminate tension, assume the proper grip, maintain swing radius, generate leverage and releasing the club properly will help you achieve both consistency and power off the tee. And consistency and power will help you produce lower scores, decreasing your golf handicap.