We all know that powerful drivers of the golf ball have great extension of the arms past the golf ball. After impact, both arms extend toward the target as the body continues to uncoil and rotate toward your forward side (left side for right-handers). Postimpact, a long-hitter’s body weight has already pushed off their right side and into their left leg, which effectively serves as a post for the body to continue rotating around, up and through to the finish.
Only thing is, many amateurs don’t quite do what longer hitters (both on and off the PGA Tour) do so well. Often, I see my students lose a lot of power because they tend to collapse the arms after impact, creating the classic “chicken wing” with the left arm. So what, you ask? What’s it matter what the arms do after impact? Well, the goal with any powerful swing is to create width in the backswing and the early followthrough, which is the “extension” I’m referring to here. If you collapse after impact, it means you were trying to hit into the ball instead of through the ball, causing you to lose a ton of power. If you change your thinking, and try to extend all the way through and after contact, you’ll likely keep accelerating the club well through impact, helping you hit longer tee shots.
A great drill for this is to start with the golf club in a great extension position, as I’m doing in the above picture. Then, swing back from this position and, as you make a downswing, try to get to the same position you started from. It’s good to do this with a couple of practice swings first, and then try to do it with a golf ball. In no time, this drill will help you achieve a better extended position after impact, causing you to hit longer and straighter drives.
Justin Klemballa, PGA, is a Master Instructor at the Jim McLean Golf School at SunRidge Canyon in Fountain Hills, Ariz. Visit sunridgecanyongolf.com for information.