Lesson TeeDecember 5, 2011

Squat For Power

Tiger's dip can add distance to your game

Nod of approval: Tiger's head dips as a result of squatting. Then he pushes up to create power.

Nod of approval: Tiger's head dips as a result of squatting. Then he pushes up to create power.

One of golf's oldest clichés is "maintain your posture" throughout the swing. The in-tent of the message is good: To help amateurs avoid rising out of the address position--either from a lack of hip flexibility or because they're trying to help the ball into the air. But keeping your head level might be robbing you of some distance.

What you want to do is squat as you swing into the ball. This move is similar to what any athlete would do before leaping. Many long-ball hitters drop several inches as they start the downswing. Tiger Woods has been doing it throughout his career, and it has served him well. You can see it here (above).

Essentially you're creating an explosive action by lowering and then pushing off the ground. It helps you swing into the ball with considerable force. If you were to maintain your posture, it would be impossible to get to the ideal low point of your swing, four or five inches in front of the ball.

If you want to understand the science behind squatting, here it is: Bending your knees lengthens your quadriceps (thigh muscles), and hip flexion lengthens your glutes (buttocks). You're now in a position to contract these muscles in an upward thrust and deliver a lot of energy into the shot.

So the next time you swing, pretend there's a banana lying lengthwise under your front foot. Your goal is to squash it as you swing down. Do this, and you'll really compress the ball.

Pay attention to your grip

Most golfers tighten their grip as an unconscious response to fear and doubt. In a heightened state of tension, blood leaves the capillaries in your hands and supports your vital organs and their functions. When this happens, you lose some feeling in your hands, and the natural reaction is to grip the club tighter to try to regain it. My advice is to constantly check your grip pressure because it changes all the time. The more aware you are of gripping the club too tightly, the better chance you'll have of making a good swing and releasing the club at a consistent point.

Foley Files

Sean Foley, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, works at the Core Golf Junior Academy, near Orlando.