Who Is He?
If you ask any PGA Tour player whose tee shots would they like to swap theirs for, many would answer that Hunter Mahan is the player they would swap with. Having finished in the top three for total driving statistics in both of the last two years, Mahan has a great combination of distance and accuracy with the big stick.
What He Does?
Working with Sean Foley, Tiger Woods' swing coach, Mahan has always had great fundamentals and a solid swing. His driving accuracy and consistency is maintained through a slightly downwards angle of attack at the impact position. This goes against popular convention for hitting big tee shots. Mahan is now starting to understand that to hit the ball higher and further with the longer clubs, he needs to try and sweep the ball off the tee with a slightly ascending angle of attack. Working with Foley, he is trying to position the golf ball further towards his left instep at set up and trying to tilt his spine more behind the ball in his address position. If he can then maintain this leant back feeling throughout his swing, the club head will be ascending through impact, launching the ball higher with a lower amount of backspin. This is essential for Mahan to increase his driver distance in order to compete on a number of the longer PGA Tour golf courses.
What Can You Learn?
In order to hit your tee shots as far as possible, you do not necessarily need to hit harder, you need to hit it smarter. Set up to your driver with a golf ball positioned opposite your left instep. Allow your hands to settle in the centre of your body so the shaft of the golf club points more to your belt buckle and allow 60 percent of your body weight to fall onto your rear foot. During the backswing phase, load your body weight more towards your right side so you feel coiled up well behind the ball. Trying to maintain this tilted back sensation throughout impact, you should notice how the club reaches the lowest point of it's arc before it hits the golf ball and then strikes the ball on the rise. This is only appropriate when the ball is teed up on a high tee peg and is only really encouraged when using the driver.
What Should You Avoid?
Any sensation of sweeping or hitting up on the golf ball is not appropriate for your iron play at all. If the ball is on the ground, you need to strike the ball with a descending angle of attack, so that you can hit the ball first and the turf second. This is one fundamental difference between hitting irons off the ground and woods off a tee.