Rather than enjoying a nice swan song into retirement, Phil Mickelson has done exactly the opposite. He’s dopped weight, started working out and gone all-in on hitting bombs with his driver.
Mickelson being above all a devotee to the craft, he’s not been shy about sharing his secrets to success with golfers. But it’s not just his ever-increasing swing speed that’s been impressive to watch, it’s the way he’s been chasing speed while avoiding injury — something recreational golfers can learn a lot from.
To learn how, let’s look at a “bomb” he hit during the American Express last week. As you can see, he makes a big, unrestricted backswing…
Coming into impact, he pushes down into the ground with his lower body and then launches up, which helps him throw the club at the ball with maximum speed.
Most amateur golfers start looking at the ball at this point, but keep watching Phil’s swing and you’ll see something rather interesting: His lead foot spins out, so his toe is pointing at the target. You may think that’s a bad thing — that he’s losing his balance — but that’s not the case. This is an intentional move from Phil, and for good reason.
In an Instagram post earlier this year, Mickelson explained that allowing his left knee to “release” toward the target like this is an essential part of avoiding injury while chasing “bombs.” When you leave your foot rooted to the ground like you see Phil demonstrating below, but continue turning through, you’ll put strain on your knee and potentially cause injury.
“Don’t do that,” Phil says.
The feeling you want post-impact is the one you can see below: That the knee rotates externally, so you can avoid any resistance and turn freely through, strain-free.
It’s great advice for golfers who may struggle with mobility in their hips, and regardless, 50-year-old Phil is living proof that swinging fast doesn’t mean accepting injury, so try it yourself.