By Gerina Piller
I hear a lot of people say to shift all your weight away from the target when you take the driver back and then shift it back to your front side on the way through. I'm sure that works for some, but my swing doesn't have a lot of lateral movement. Mine's more about rotation. I think it's because I grew up playing baseball, where you start your swing with your weight already on the back foot and then you just step and turn, getting the bat to move its fastest as it strikes the ball. I took what I learned in baseball and applied it to my golf swing.
The benefit, I've found, is that it makes it easier to find the sweet spot on the clubface and create effortless power. If you tend to sway too much and/or swing too hard, you've got to rely on really good timing to have the same consistency. So if you're struggling to hit your driver solid and far, try copying the way I swing. Here I'm going to walk you through how I do it.
Address and backswing: Stay Centered
At address my weight is pretty neutral, meaning equally supported by both feet. Still, I like to be aware of the weight on the inside of my right foot. When I sense it there, I know I can swing back and create some leverage for the hit. Essentially, I'm loading my weight before I start swinging. But as I take the club back, my body doesn't drift off the ball the way you see it move for a lot of golfers. My weight stays pretty centered (left). I'm rotating instead of moving laterally. It feels like my upper body is twisting away from the target while my lower body braces against it. When you try this, you'll feel a lot of torque building in your core muscles. That's good. You'll need to release that tension when you swing down. That's what creates the power you need to hit it farther.
Where's the whoosh in your swing?
Downswing and followthrough: Let's build speed
The mistake I see amateurs make is trying to generate as much speed as they can with their hands. If you hit it worse when you're swinging your hardest, this is probably the reason. Instead, let the speed gather so the clubhead is at its fastest as it strikes the ball—that's how you get effortless power. If you think of your swing as moving along a clock face, you want it at its quickest from 7 o'clock to 4 o'clock. To get a feel for this, hold your club upside down and swing it trying to make that whoosh sound loudest when the grip end is closest to the ground. This will teach you what it feels like to put your energy in that 7-to-4 zone. Now flip the club around and re-create that same feeling—and speed—when you hit shots. You might be surprised how much power you can generate without having to sway off the ball or swing like a maniac.
Gerina Piller, a three-time member of the U.S. Solheim Cup team, had a fairway accuracy of 75.6 percent on the LPGA Tour in 2017.