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Women: Get Stronger to Hit Longer

By: Jay Golden, PGA

Having participated in the final rounds of the “World” and “National Long Drive Contests” on three occasions (as well as at numerous qualifiers), I have learned quite a bit about the elements that go into hitting long drives. With that in mind, my observations led me to believe that the swings that hit the ball the farthest combine several long drive fundamentals.

The first is a good golf swing. It could be debated as to what are the elements to a perfect swing. Should it be controlled by the big muscles of the body or more of a hands and arms swing? Should the left hand grip show one, two, three or four knuckles at address? Should the left heel be on the ground or lifted at the top of the backswing?

These and many other points have their pros and cons but I’m not referring to a perfect swing. All you need is a good, full swing with an athletic grip and stance, and you’re in the ballpark to hitting your longest drives. Many golfers ‘major in minors’ and as a result never reach their full power potential.

What are a full swing and athletic grip and stance? An athletic grip and stance is a starting point similar to holding a shovel when digging a hole or shoveling snow, getting ready to hit a baseball or using a broom. You feel comfortable and ready for action. A full golf swing is the completion of the backswing with a full body turn, arm swing and wrist hinge. The downswing, impact and follow through is the unwinding of the body and the use of the body, arms and hands. It also includes timing the clubhead at impact.

            That being said, in both the women’s and men’s divisions (I’m friends with three-time Women’s World Long Drive Champion” Stacy Shinnick) one of the elements for power is strength. In fact, in many instances, there are ‘less than beautiful’ golf swings that hit the longest drives. The reason is the muscle they use at impact.

Do I believe that a woman could get stronger to hit longer? Absolutely yes! I’ve seen many women at long drive contests who are inexperienced golfers but are body builders and they hit the ball very long. Am I suggesting that you spend three hours in a gym every day? No, but what I am suggesting is that whatever you do to get stronger, you will hit longer.

The three basic body parts to strengthen are the hands/wrists, the arms and the body. The best way to do this is to work in a golf strength program with a personal trainer, but here are a few things that you could do at home. Naturally, you should take into consideration any injuries that you might have and consult with a physician.

            For a general workout, you could get a weighted club or a devise such as the “I GOTCHA READY” to attach to your club.” The added weight will strengthen your golf muscles.

To be more specific, for your hands/wrists, you could squeeze a tennis ball. For your arms you could lift light weights, cans of food or books. For your body you could try to turn your body against a stationary object such as a wall. In general, the more frequently that you can do these exercises without hurting yourself, the stronger you will become.