Welcome to Teachable Moments, GOLF’s weekly instruction column that will help you improve your game through the excellence and expertise of the Tour stars of the week. Class is now in session.
Squash the grape
There is no larger indicator of success in professional golf than distance off the tee. With analytics becoming more prominent in the game, it has become apparent that driving is not just for show — it is also important for making dough.
This understanding has led to a distance arms race on the PGA Tour. Bryson DeChambeau is the most prominent example of this phenomenon, but other pros have begun searching for distance as well.
Take Cameron Tringale, for example. Four years ago, Tringale averaged just over 280 yards off the tee, ranking 168th on Tour. In the time since, he’s added nearly 18 yards to his average off the tee and climbed inside the top 100 in driving distance last season.
Part of Tringale’s speed jump came from reworking his swing to be more efficient and generate easier power. And he’s used a simple speed move to train his swing to be more efficient and add some pop to his drives. His favorite drill was shared in a social media video this week by the PGA Tour.
The theme of the drill is “squashing the grape” under his left heel on his downswing. By lifting his lead heel and imagining he’s squashing a grape underneath it on the way down, he properly transfers his weight through the ball and generates more efficient power.
“It’s more of a technique than a speed drill,” Tringale says. “But the byproduct of using my body more efficiently is more speed.”
If you’re looking to add a few extra yards to your drives, remember to squash the grape under your lead heel. Do that, and you’ll quickly see your distance soar.
Play your game
As noted above, distance is incredibly important for sustained success in golf. However, chasing distance can do more harm than good if a player gets away from their game in the process.
Celine Boutier is wise enough to know this fact, and she’s not let her lack of pop allow her to stray from what has made her a top player in the women’s game.
The Frenchwoman averages just 256 yards off the tee this season on the LPGA Tour, but despite her unremarkable distance, she’s racked up seven top-15 finishes, including a win at last week’s Shoprite Classic.
“I feel like you have to focus on your own game. Everyone’s game is different,” Boutier said. “But it’s not my game to be bombing it and then having wedges everywhere, so I also know what to do with my strength.”
Boutier explained that while added distance would be welcome for her game, it’s not a priority for her to chase those extra yards. She knows what she does well, and if she plays her game, she can be a successful player.
“My gain in distance has definitely helped me, but I also know I’m not going to be a long hitter like Maria Fassi or Patty [Tavatanakit] or Bianca [Pagdanganan],” she said. “Any gain I can get of course is welcome, but I also know that’s not the strength of my game.”
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