Simple Power: Jason Day's 4 Keys To Distance
Don't make anything harder than it is. That's basically how I go about living my life, and it's also my philosophy when it comes to hitting a golf ball. I think you can hit your biggest drives ever without frying your brain with too many mechanical thoughts. First tip: Swinging harder is not the best way to drive it farther. Instead, focus on the fundamentals, such as grip, setup and making solid contact, and you'll be in a much better position to crank the ball. Here's how I do it.
SETTING UP RIGHT
My grip and setup are my first power keys. Notice that my spine is angled away from the target, with my left shoulder higher than my right. This puts me in position to sweep the ball off the tee for more carry. It also encourages me to drive my weight toward the ball at impact. I have a neutral grip, which means I see only two knuckles on my left hand at address, and on my right hand the crease formed by my thumb and forefinger points halfway between my chin and right shoulder. These positions allow me to rip it without worrying about a hook.
Day keeps his tee shots in the air longer than any other tour player—a whopping 6.7 seconds.
GETTING THINGS GOING
'You can't fire a cannon from a canoe, as the saying goes. your lower body has to stay stable as you try to generate power.'
As I start my backswing, I visualize the clubhead on the outside rail of a set of railroad tracks and my hands above the inside rail. I trace a path along those tracks as long as I can, keeping my right arm straight. This creates a wide swing arc. The wider the arc, the more power I can generate. I also try to keep my lower body stable, so I can create a nice, tight body coil. I don't want my right knee and hip to drift away from the target; that ruins the coil. As a drill, I put the grip end of a club under my right foot (inset) and make backswings. It teaches me not to sway.
Day's clubhead is moving more than 120 miles per hour when he blasts a tee shot.
MOVING BACK TO THE BALL
'Draw it or fade it off the tee? I do both, but what I really want to do is drive the ball as straight as possible.'
I like hitting draws and fades because it helps me understand how to hit it straight—you have to know both sides to learn the middle. A straight shot will give you extra distance, because it stays in the short grass. One key to hitting a straight drive is to keep the clubhead from lagging too far behind your body as you swing down. Feel as if your body, arms and club are moving to the ball together. That's why my arms are so close to my body here: They're working as a unit, and that helps me square the clubface to my target and hit it straight.
No one on tour hits it higher than Day. The average apex of his tee shots is nearly 132 feet.
FINISHING IT OFF
Remember that wide swing arc I created in the backswing by keeping my right arm straight for as long as I could? Now look at my right arm in the follow-through. Same thing, right? It's fully extending toward the target. My neutral grip allows me to freely release the club as I swing through the ball. I think it's a great feeling for you to copy. I've seen way too many amateurs quitting on the swing as soon as the club contacts the ball. You've got to keep it going, keep your speed up to the finish, if you want to really smash the ball.
Day's average drive goes 295 yards—on the fly! He ranks 11th in driving distance on tour.
ABOUT JASON DAY:
At 6 feet, 195 pounds, the 25-year-old PGA Tour winner from Queensland, Australia, averages 300.9 yards off the tee.
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