By Paul Myers
In a hurry to hit the ball as far as they can, some golfers rush through their driver swing. While it might feel like you are swinging harder by putting in more effort, that can actually slow the swing down and also rob you of accuracy. Most of the time, you will have more success building speed in your driver swing if take your time and use a sub-maximum tempo (maybe 90-95% or less) that keeps all of your moving parts in proper sequence to lead the club into impact just perfectly. If you have been swinging your driver “quick” up to this point, the change might take some time – but you may be very impressed with the results.
It Starts in the Takeaway
A slower not-overdoing-it driver swing starts by moving the club away a bit slower from the ball. In fact, this can be a key moment in the driver swing that sets up your tempo. When you pull the club back quickly through the first foot or so of the swing, you may be set on a path for an overly quick swing and may not be much you can do to change it at that point. A subtly slower takeaway can do you plenty of favors, including helping you stay on balance and also softly engaging your core muscles to be used through the rest of the driver swing. A fast takeaway can create a tendency to lift you up and out of your posture, making it difficult to hit a solid shot in the end. Work on a slightly slower takeaway (not sure slow, just slow enough to stay in control) and you may quickly see how much it can benefit your game.
Time at the Top
The only point in the driver swing where the club needs to be moving fast is through impact – other than that, you are free to take your time and let it build naturally. Nowhere is this more true than during the transition from backswing to downswing. This is a relatively common ‘rush’ spot in the driver swing where many amateurs see things go awry. Take your time during the transition part of your swing to make sure that you are on balance and that your lower body is leading the move down toward impact. You probably don’t want your arms and hands to lead the way – in fact, you may want them to be the last thing that comes through the zone. Feel like there is a short subtle pause at the top of your driver swing for everything to gather, and then start down with your lower body pulling the club into position.
Golf can be a paradox in a lot of ways, and hitting long drives is one of those things that may seem a little backwards. You feel like you should swing as fast and hard as possible to generate speed, but overdoing it can be counterproductive. If you can make a smooth, easy driver swing that only gets fast right through impact, you will likely be more consistent with your power. It might take some time to get the proper feeling for how to generate easy power, but it is an amazing ability to possess once you get comfortable and put in the practice time.
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