U.S. Open

Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (Course No. 2)


You Like to Rip It?

August 10, 2014

All right, tough guy. I know distance is your drug, but when you try to choke another 10 out of your driver, beware of two things: First, you might pop a rib; second, your odds of hitting it solid are like Phil Mickelson passing up a Five Guys burger joint.

The urge to swing out of your shoes throws everything out of sync, mostly on the way down. Your hands and arms think you're playing one of those carnival hammer games, so your body pulls up to head off a steep crash—hence the air you see me catching. Jump too soon, and you're lucky to even nip the ball; too late, and you're pounding a crater into the tee box. Been there.

How can you stay in sequence and still hit it with extra cheese? You gotta keep your arms and body working together. If your body isn't shifting toward the target, you're swinging all-arms. So turn, baby, turn! As long as you're moving forward, rip it all you want. You'll have rhythm, balance and a good two or three more yards.


1. Odd noises fly from your body as you jerk the club down.

2. The tee box looks like you just landed a triple toe loop.

3. You have a tendency to get more earth than ball at impact.

4. Your belt buckle always ends up around back.

5. More than once, someone has asked after a tee shot: "You OK?"

Tom Stickney II teaches at Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert, Calif., and The Promontory Club in Park City, Utah.