Pipe Your Driver
I finished this year ranked fourth in a new stat called strokes gained from tee to green. It measures performance versus the field in everything but putting. For tour players, that really means driving and approach shots. Here's what I think about when I'm driving the ball well and hitting greens.
OFF THE TEE
The most important part of my driver swing is generating power from the connection between my feet and the ground. It starts with a good setup. I play the ball up in my stance—you need to catch it on the upswing with the driver if you want distance. I get into a good, athletic posture, and from there I start my swing.
The one-piece takeaway is a thing of the past. I think of it in pieces: the clubhead goes first, then the hands, then the arms. I turn into my right side, loading my right hip and engaging my glutes (above), similar to doing squats or deadlifts. That feeling of loading my right leg is a huge key for me.
Throughout the backswing, I'm thinking of the word develop. I'm not rushing to the top. I'm letting the swing develop in its own time. That helps me sync everything. At the top, when all my weight is loaded into my right side, I feel like my right big toe is pressing into the ground. I'm building as much leverage as possible from the ground up.
That sets up my move back to the ball. The key moment of my downswing is when I'm halfway down. There, I'm focused on storing power and maintaining my height. I keep up the pressure into the ground through my feet. With all that leverage, I can push off and release the club powerfully into the ball. If I've stayed "in the shot" and kept my connection to the ground, I'm ripping it down the middle.
Here's a drill I use for building power out of the ground. I drop my left foot back and put 90 percent of my weight on my right foot. Then I bring my arms to the top and practice swinging halfway down. My weight doesn't move off my right side, so my right leg is constantly engaged (right). Repeating this motion helps me feel explosive into the ball, just what I want with the driver.—with Keely Levins