HNC Home Page
News Business Arts & Life Sports Opinion Calendar Archive About Us
A PEARL IN THE SKY: A full moon rises over the Bear River Mountains. / Photo by Ted Pease

Today's word on journalism

September 18, 2008

Partisan politics:

"Say 'conservative' and they wag their tails. Say 'liberal' and they bare their fangs. More to the point, say either and all thinking ceases. . . . [P]eople hear this doublespeak and cheer. Why not? They have been taught that words mean what you need them to in a given moment. Turns out, all it requires is a limitless supply of gall and the inherent belief that people are dumber than a bag of hammers."

--Leonard Pitts Jr., Pulitzer-winning columnist. The Miami Herald, 2008 (Thanks to alert WORDster Jerry Vonderbrink)

Speak up! Comment on the WORD at


Feedback and suggestions --printable and otherwise --always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

Tips for Better Golf: Getting more power in your drives

Editor's note: This is the fourth in a series of five columns on common golf problems.

By Josh Perry

July 23, 2008 | Power is something that every golfer is seeking. Whether you just started golf or have been playing for a while, you continually seek longer drives no matter your skill level. With courses being built longer, it's not just a pride issue to want to hit the ball further; it has become valuable to golfers to even survive out on the links. Yea they have new clubs and technology to hit the ball a mile, but distance still has a lot to do with your swing. These new clubs can only do so much.

Most of the power in a golf swing is in the legs. You don't necessarily have to be a big guy to hit the ball long. There are plenty of players on tour like Charles Howell, III that can hit the ball over 300 yards. The difference between him and the average golfer is that he knows how to utilize all the parts of him that will help him hit the ball a ton.

To get the power that you want you need to start with your legs. You need to load up on that back leg on your backswing and power off of it when start your down swing. When you're starting your back swing, your weight should shift from being equally distributed to about 70 percent on your back leg. Your legs should start the movement on the down swing. You really want to push off of that back leg and follow through with your upper body. When you have finished your swing, most of your weight should have shifted from your back leg to your front. It's important to stay balanced through all of this. If you are trying to push too much with your legs, you will end up being off balance and could cause a poorly hit drive. Even though it's important to utilize your legs, do it in a way that will help you get some distance but also still maintain your balance.

Wrists also have a lot to do with getting more power. The longer you can hold your wrists from coming through the ball and the more snap that you have with them through the ball, the higher your swing speed. What I mean is, when you take your back swing, your wrists almost form a 90-degree angle. If you can hold that angle as long as you can before snapping through the ball than it creates a faster swing speed. If you watch Sergio Garcia he holds his wrists until the last minute then follows through. That's where he gets a lot of his club head speed. If you can get this down it will help in giving you more power.

Shoulders and rotation help in creating power. The more you can rotate your shoulders in your back swing and the more you can rotate on your follow-through, the greater the club head speed. Too much of this can cause problems. When Tiger Woods first became pro, he had a long backswing and could drive it incredible far but his accuracy wasn't where he wanted it. Now he has shortened his backswing and really uses his legs and wrists to rip through the ball. He is much more accurate and still can hit the ball a ton. You don't need to rotate so much that your swing is out of control. On your back swing your club should be parallel to your shoulders. Anything where your club head is past parallel with your shoulders is too much.

Creating more power doesn't just come from one of these skills. To achieve your maximum power, you need all of these techniques. If you worked on only one of these and got it to where you were completing it successfully, it would increase your distance. One aspect that a lot of golfers overlook is what type of golf ball they use. I know a lot of people use Pinnacle balls or TopFlite balls but you get what you pay for. They are cheap golf balls and even though they say maximum distance or power in their advertising, they really aren't the best balls for gaining distance. Paying a little extra for a better quality golf ball will help with your distance. It may not be substantial but it will add a few yards to your game.

Try practicing the techniques to help gain more power. When trying new things with your swing, I recommend that you do it at a driving range. Experiment on the range, because it may feel quite different from what you are used to, and all that will lead to is frustration on the course.


Copyright 1997-2008 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-3292
Best viewed 800 x 600.