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Original Issue

Relaxing on the drive

Only seasoned golfers appreciate the fact that the way to hit the ball longer is not to hit it harder but to hit it better. The average golfer doesn't quite believe this. He is all for turning on sheer muscular force. Watch him on the tee, and you will see him time after time making the same moves as he sets himself to blast an extra-long one: he widens his stance; he drops his right shoulder into what feels like a more power-producing position; as that shoulder moves lower the right arm and hand move down low with it. With these "adjustments" he has started to move off the ball and out of the correct balanced position at which all good swings are inaugurated.

No professional is merely indulging in persiflage when he states that most average golfers fail to get the distance they're capable of because they fail to take advantage of their natural abilities—timing and coordination. To do so, you must be genuinely relaxed as you start the stroke and let the various components swing into the swing smoothly and evenly. If you hurry the backswing you scramble your coordination. So start relaxed and stay relaxed. Keeping your head steady will help you in this. The swing revolves around the head. Then, as you go back, you can turn the hips and knees nice and easy and progress naturally from that point. Work for an integrated swing. Distance results from one and so does accuracy, without which distance is all too often a Pyrrhic victory.

GEORGE BAYER, Gleneagles CC, Lemont, Ill.






NEXT TIP: Ruth Jessen on holding your head steady