Copying a Tour player’s move can be dangerous. Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson are great players. But copying Watson’s hip turn or Johnson’s body separation is a bad idea. These moves are unique to these players and their bodies. On the other hand, copying a Tour player’s move that helps you execute a proven fundamental better is a good idea. It’s like taking a golf lesson for free, if you do it correctly. Even golfers with low golf handicaps can benefit from doing this.
Nick Watney is among the better young players on the PGA Tour. Watney turned professional in 2003 after a stellar career at Fresno State University. Since then, he’s won the Zurich Classic Open of New Orleans in 2007, the WGC-Cadillac Championship in 2011, and the A&T National in 2011, beating K.J. Choi by two strokes. Below are golf tips on five proven fundamentals Watney recently worked on with swing coach Butch Harmon to pump up his drives. Feel free to copy these golf tips.
1. Square Up Your Setup
If you’re not aimed properly, you probably won’t hit the clubface’s center. Squaring up your setup guarantees that you’re aimed properly. Make sure your bodylines—feet, knees, hips, and shoulders—parallel the target line. Keep your back straight. And flex your knees slightly. Once you’re setup, have a friend lay a club along your toe line. It will help determine if everything is lined up.
2. Widen Your Takeaway
A simple way to pump up power is to widen your takeaway. That lengthens your swing arc. The longer the arc, the faster your club moves to keep pace with your hands, increasing clubhead speed. The increase doesn’t require you to swing any faster or harder than normally. When widening your swing arc like this, make sure you keep your weight on the inside of a back foot. It should feel as if you’re swinging the clubhead away from you as far as possible.
3. Tighten Your Backswing
There’s more power in a shorter, tighter backswing than in a longer, looser one. Some golfers swing their arms past the point where the shoulders stop turning. This robs you of power, as we tell students in golf instruction sessions. Instead, stop your backswing when you’re no longer able to turn your shoulders. A drill to tighten your coil is to make three quarters swings while moving your arms and turning your shoulders together and at the same speed.
4. Move Forward On Your Downswing
Moving forward on your downswing allows you to drain your swings of all the energy stored in it. You want to end your swing with about 85 percent of your weight on your front foot. If done correctly, you should feel as if your chest is on top of the ball. In addition to transferring energy, moving forward prevents you from making a power-killing move popular in golf instruction sessions—hanging back. This flaw short-circuits power and kills accuracy.
5. Extend To The Right
To finish driving the ball with power, you must extend out to the right slightly as you move through impact. It should feel as if you’re hitting a baseball to right center field. This move creates a solid inside-out path through the hitting zone. It also gives you the best chance of contacting this ball on the clubface’s center. You can get away with swinging toward center field, but not toward left field. This right field swing really extends your arms to their limits, adding yardage to your drives.
The moves discussed above support proven swing fundamentals. They added yards to Nick Watney’s drives. Work on them separately at first. Then incorporate them in your full swing. You want to make them part of a unified motion. Once you’ve done this, you’ll have a power-laden swing that will help you break 80 and chop strokes off your golf handicap.