Sorry, diminutive golfers, but taller players tend to have the prettiest swings. Think Davis Love III, Ernie Els and Tom Weiskopf, to name a few.
Height has another advantage: It engenders a wider swing arc, which translates to greater power with less effort. Being tall, though, doesn’t automatically give you a wide arc. Certain methods must be used to put the clubhead on the proper path.
Naturally, it starts at setup. The left arm (for a right-hander) and shaft should be unified in a straight line from shoulder to ball. It’s critical to maintain this line for the initial stages of the swing by performing a low and slow takeaway.
This practice drill will ingrain a takeaway that takes advantage of your height by creating that big, fluid arc:
- Tee up a ball for the driver and place a small, light object (clubhead cover, empty golf ball sleeve) about six inches behind it, directly on your target line.
- On the takeaway, push the object backward with the clubhead until the club moves upward. Make sure you rotate the shoulders, rather than extending just the arms on the backswing.
- Do several repetitions of this drill without completing the backswing; this will instill a sense of the proper takeaway. Continue the push drill as you proceed to hitting full shots while focusing on the swing’s arc, keeping these things in mind
- Allow the wrists to hinge naturally as you take the club back to waist height and beyond. Achieving a wide arc by keeping the wrists firm is counter-productive.
- Strive for a 90° shoulder turn at the top of the backswing, with the shoulders perpendicular to the target line and your back facing the target.
- “Reach for the sky” with your arms at the top of the backswing, extending the left arm as far from the body as possible. A long backswing – where the club dips beyond parallel -- isn’t the goal, so make sure your arms stop at the same time as the shoulders.
Provided you begin the downswing with the lower body, everything should fall into place from there – and you’ll notice a significant surge in power without exerting extra effort.