For left handed golfers to hit long drives they must develop an understanding of swing arc.
The swing arc is the circular path around the body taken by the club head during the swing. This arc is slightly different with each club, and each shot has a particular arc which will suit a player’s needs the best. The driver, for example, is best utilized with a swing arc which bottoms out just before the ball. This means the ball is struck with an upward blow; maximizing the amount of loft and launch transferred on to the ball.
Swing Arc – Irons vs. Woods
The best ball strikers with lofted irons understand that a slightly descending blow produces the correct amount of power and back spin. This slightly descending blow occurs when the swing arc bottoms out just after the ball. This is why the best players in world such as Phil Mickleson take divots after striking an iron shot. The main difference between an iron and wood swing is where the swing arc bottoms out.
The swing arc depends on a number of factors including club length and ball position. The wedges are the shortest clubs in the bag and have a swing arc which bottoms out just after the centre point of the stance; this is why the ball position with wedges on a full swing is at the centre of the stance so players can strike down and through the ball producing a divot. Drivers are the longest club in the bag and therefore have the widest and shallowest swing arc. The driver swing arc bottoms out towards the front of the stance before beginning to rise up when it passes the right heel. This is why players want the ball towards the front of the stance, so they can strike the ball with an upward blow.
How to Hit the Driver
1. Tee the ball high; at least half the ball should be showing above the top edge of the driver when settled behind the ball.
2. Take your stance and ensure the ball is positioned just inside the right heel or even slightly beyond (the long drive champions often tee the ball beyond the front foot and exceptionally high to really strike upward on the ball).
3. Bring the left foot back so the feet are beyond shoulder width apart. This will ensure a stable stance and moves the swing centre behind the ball.
4. Take the club away on a low takeaway turning fully during the back swing.
5. Swinging through, try to remain behind the ball, don’t let your weight drift too far forward on to the front foot.
6. Concentrate on swinging ‘up’ on the ball clipping it off the tee and striking it on an upward arc.
Every club has a slightly different arc which needs to be taken into account at set up or during the swing. With the driver, left handed golfers should try to ensure an upward strike to achieve the correct amount of launch and therefore distance.