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Golf Article - Power Over Easy

Average size players like Sergio Garcia and Annika Sorenstam prove that you don't have to be a giant to hit the ball long. To hit the ball long like Sergio and Annika, you'll probably have to change your mind-set a little and make some minor adjustments to your every day routine. Making these changes can add 20 or even 30 yards to your shots and help you chop strokes off your golf handicap—without spending hours at the range. We call it power over easy.

The hardest thing for weekend players to accept is that they don't have to swing hard to hit the ball long. I see students in my golf lessons swing harder all the time. Professional golfers seldom swing harder than 85 percent on any shot. More often, they're swinging at 70 percent. They've learned to swing easily and smoothly and let leverage and clubhead speed work for them. To gain extra yardage, work on things like rhythm, tempo, and technique.

Upgrading Your Fitness Level
Fitness level is another key to power. Many weekend golfers do little to maintain their fitness levels. You can gain extra yardage to your shots just by upgrading your fitness level. Doing cardio, Pilates, Yoga, and/or light weightlifting can transform your body. Improving your fitness level may not directly translate into more distance on your shots, but the improved endurance that comes with upgrading your fitness level will help you hit the ball as far on the 17th tee as on the first.

Another golf tip on generating more yards from your shots is to take advantage of today's advancements in golf technology. New drivers, shafts, and balls are great, but players don't benefit from them completely unless they work together. For example, some balls spin less and launch higher than others. These balls enable you to use higher-lofted drivers, which provide more carry. More carry translates into longer shots, especially when playing on firm fairways.

Plug The Power Leaks
In addition to modern technology, plug the power leaks in your swing. For example, among the biggest power leaks is the tendency to take the club back with your hands and arms not in sync with your body. When the hands get too far from you, your body sucks the club inside and the player "lays-off" at the top. In other words, he points the club left of the target at the top. Once this happens you must correct this power leak with your hands. This is a leading cause of inconsistency. Golf instruction sessions can help you plug the power leaks in your swing.

Finally, learn to release the club properly. When weekend golfers feel like they need to hit the ball a long way, they tense up—almost as if they were going to get punched. They clench their muscles and hold the club really tight. That tension restricts the player's ability to cock his wrists and reduces his turn, as I've mentioned in my golf tips newsletter. That, in turn, leads to shorter shots. Keep your hands loose and soft and you'll add distance to your shots.

Also, learn to feel the clubhead releasing. When you've released the clubhead properly, you should feel like your left side is bringing the club back and right side is bringing it forward. To reinforce this feeling, hold a heavy club—like a sand wedge— in your right hand (left for left-handers) and take small swings, holding the club lightly in your fingers. Use the right hand, arm, shoulder, and hip to swing the club through, and feel the weight of the club itself promoting a good release. With a good release, there's no holding on or manipulation to try to square the clubface at impact.

You don't need to attend dozens of golf instruction sessions or hit hundreds of golf balls at the range to generate more power. There are easier ways. Work on rhythm, tempo, and technique, upgrade your fitness level, plug the power leaks in your swing, and learn to release the club correctly and you'll see yourself hitting longer shots. Longer shots can help you hit your targets more often. Hitting your targets in turn can help you chop strokes off your golf handicap.


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