Let's be honest about it—one of the chief thrills of golf is smashing a long tee shot far, far down the fairway. In no other ball-and-stick or ball-and-racquet game can the average player propel the ball the distance he can in golf. No wonder the inward delight and satisfaction is intense when you hit one of your best drives.
Other factors being consistent, the length of the arc of your swing governs your distance off the tee. The fuller you pivot, the longer the arc. The longer the arc, the greater the club-head speed you generate. The greater the speed as it strikes, the farther the ball will travel—I repeat, other factors being consistent.
There are certain cautions and suggestions I feel I should advance for golfers interested in increasing their distance. 1) Don't try to lengthen the arc of your swing unless your muscular flexibility, age, weight and sight give you the athletic ability to do so. 2) Your grip must be firm but not rigid. 3) The head remains securely anchored at all times during the swing. 4) The development of a fuller pivot cannot be achieved if you allow your body to sway. In fact, swaying makes efficient pivoting impossible.
Above, Chick Harbert demonstrates the grip he has used since childhood: a combination baseball grip and Vardon overlap, with the left thumb riding on the left index finger. While not advocating this grip for other golfers, Harbert has never changed it himself. In combination with a full pivot and a wide club-head arc (right), it enables Harbert to come into the ball with great club-head speed.
from CHICK HARBERT, Meadowbrook Country Club, Northville, Mich.
NEXT WEEK'S GUEST PRO: CHUCK CONGDON ON THE FOLLOW-THROUGH