Fortinet Championship

Silverado Resort and Spa North



The Speed Pocket

How to put your power into the ball
By Jason Birnbaum Photos by Dom Furore
August 24, 2015

What if I told you creating more swing speed would be easy? That you've got it in you. That you just need to learn how to access it. Sound sweet? The issue is, most golfers try so hard to generate power--often at the wrong times--they actually sap their speed potential.

What you have to do is get the clubhead moving its fastest right at impact. I'd bet you're focused on other swing positions--and that's not helping your distance. Here are three common speed killers to watch out for: (1) You snatch the club away from the ball quickly. That's inefficient and adds no power to the hit. (2) You're so concerned with making a perfect backswing that you're taking the emphasis off impact. Again, no energy when you need it. (3) You flip the club at the ball. And let's face it, there's no leverage or power in that.

Distance is all about creating as much acceleration as possible in what I call the Speed Pocket. It starts when the clubhead gets to hip high coming down and ends when it reaches hip high going through. From your right pant pocket to your left pant pocket. Think, Pocket to pocket.

Now, here's how to add the speed. For many golfers, the worst tension spot in the setup is the front shoulder (the left shoulder for righties). A tight left shoulder sends tension down the lead arm, and that's a no-no for speed. Set up with your left shoulder low and relaxed, not jacked up by your left ear. Then feel your hands and arms staying soft as you swing. That will help you sling the club through, with the speed coming at the bottom.

As a drill, hit drives with an abbreviated finish, stopping at hip high. That sudden stop will help you position your fast point at the ball. Plus, you'll square the face easier. Longer and straighter drives? I think we'd all sign up for that. -- With Stephen Hennessey

Jason Birnbaum, 35, is the director of instruction at Alpine Country Club in Demarest, N.J.