The Loop

Weekend Tip: Free your arm swing to find more distance

I was talking to my friend and longtime personal teacher, Jim Flick, yesterday. He was telling me how his star junior pupil, Beau Hossler, qualified again for the U.S. Open, being played next week at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. (Hossler also qualified for the Open last year, at age 16.) Then Flick mentioned that another pupil, the veteran Bob Estes, also qualified for the Open.

Jim told me how both of these players have found success recently by learning to feel the clubhead, getting a sense of where it is throughout the swing, and thereby freeing up their motions. In Estes' case, he claims he's hitting the ball longer and more accurately than he has in years. Jim, in essence, was able to free up his swing.

If you feel like you're guiding your shots and are not able to "let it go" on the course, you can benefit from one of Flick's drills that he often uses with his students. Here's Jim to explain:

"Take an alignment rod (or one of those sticks they sell in the hardware store to mark your driveway before the snowplow comes) and place it firmly under your left armpit. Get into your normal address position, and turn back as if you were making a backswing. Now turn through as fast as you can. Not much speed there. Next, hold the rod with your normal grip and whip it through using your hands and arms. Not only will you see the difference, you'll hear it. and the more relaxed you keep your hands and arms, the faster you can swing the rod. The same is true for your golf club. Tension destroys speed."

The point Jim is making is a great one. Relax your hands and arms, and you'll generate more clubhead speed. And you know what? Your shots will probably go straighter as well because you're not interfering with the natural squaring of the club through impact.

Good luck with your game this weekend. I hope this advice from Jim Flick helps.

*Roger Schiffman

Managing Editor

Golf Digest

Twitter @RogerSchiffman*