Driving the golf ball farther is largely a function of maximizing clubhead speed through impact. If you want to add 25 yards or more to your drives, one of the most effective swing thoughts you can have is to focus on a wider swing rather than a taller swing.
The Ceiling-to-Floor Golf Swing
Imagine swinging your driver in a room of your house (no furniture, of course!). Most golfers waste club head speed with a swing that is too vertical – that is, their swing is focused on going from the floor to the ceiling to the floor again. The vertical golf swing is narrow and very up-and-down, and its shape resembles a “V.”
Because the clubhead cannot go through the ball into the floor, the vertical swing has to expend swing speed through a cast from the top or an early release. Whenever either of these symptoms happens, the clubhead reaches its maximum velocity before it ever contacts the golf ball.
The vertical golf swing can be caused by a number of factors:
- Picking the club up with the hands to start the backswing;
- hinging the wrists too early in the backswing;
- not turning the shoulders;
- reverse weight shift or spine angle change; or
- lack of a pivot or weight shift on the backswing.
Fundamentally, however, the vertical golf swing usually has a “hit the ball” focus rather than a “swing to the target” focus. It may be possible to address any swing flaws simply by changing the focus of your golf swing rather than trying to fix the swing flaws directly, because if the underlying focus does not change, the symptomatic flaws are not likely to go away.
The Wall-to-Wall Golf Swing
Contrast the vertical golf swing with the wide golf swing. With a wider golf swing the golfer feels like they are trying to reach the walls of the room rather than the ceiling and floor.
The golfer who tries to reach the walls of the room develops a “U” shaped swing rather than a “V” shaped swing. The U shape allows the club to accelerate through the ball all the way to the target, maximizing clubhead speed through the ball and therefore increasing distance.
With a focus on a wall-to-wall swing many swing “flaws” fix themselves. A U-shaped swing will help the shoulders turn, reduce or eliminate early wrist hinge, make the weight shift feel more comfortable and natural, and eliminate spine angle changes.
Address the Fundamental Issue: Swing to the Target, Not the Ball
More fundamentally, however, the wall-to-wall swing can help the golfer change the focus of the swing from hitting the ball to swinging to the target. It is far more effective to make a swing change by addressing the fundamental underlying cause than it is to treat the symptoms.
One caveat: the wall-to-wall swing requires maintaining your leverage position and making a good pivot. The hips should not move laterally. It is not unusual when changing to a wider swing to see golfers sway (the lateral hip motion) rather than turn. Therefore when making the change to a wall-to-wall swing, consider working in tandem on both the wider arc and a better, more leveraged pivot. Switch back and forth every 3 to 5 practice shots between the wider arc swing and the leveraged pivot swing until the two work seamlessly together.
A Wider Golf Swing Means More Distance
Widening your swing arc can improve your driving distance 25 to 50 yards. Thinking “wall-to-wall” rather than “ceiling-to-floor” will produce a “U” shaped golf swing that will increase clubhead speed through the ball and simultaneously address many common swing flaws. When done in tandem with an efficient, leveraged pivot, the result will be effortless power and consistently longer drives.