How to hit ‘high, nasty, straight bombs,’ according to Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson hits a tee shot during The Match: Champions for Change.

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Phil Mickelson, in the 2020 season on the PGA Tour, averaged 301.5 yards off the tee. In his first, and only, two appearances on the Champions Tour in 2020, both wins, he averaged 311.7 yards. Or, in Phil vernacular, he hit bombs. 

Which, apparently, is so last year. 

“Let’s make 2021 the year of hitting high, nasty, straight bombs,” the five-time major winner said this week. 

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In a video posted to his social media feeds, Mickelson unfolded his fuse. The three-part bombs, he said, require, conveniently, three parts — two weeks of “developing strength,” two weeks of “power” and two weeks of “explosiveness.” And those three parts, he said, require exercise for three body parts — the spine, knees and shoulders. (Mickelson recommended talking with a TPI-certified instructor for each.)

For the spine, it’s TRX and physioball work. “So that when we swing fast, we don’t overextend the facet joints and have our muscles lock up and we can’t move,” Mickelson said. “And that happens to a lot of people that swing those speed sticks for the first time — they don’t strengthen their spine and their muscles lock up and they can’t move.”

For the knees, it’s not regular squats, but single-leg squats on an unstable platform with weights. “So that the supporting muscles around the knee have to fire as we do that,” he said. 

For the shoulders, it’s not regular pushups, but through TRX. “Where you have to stabilize — elevate your feet if you can — put a lot of pressure there, and those stabilizing muscles will really strengthen that area and prevent injury,” Mickelson said.

In the video, Mickelson was into his first day of “explosiveness.” Here, he said, he was “going to add pushing with those legs and really snap that club through the ball.” And avoid rotating his knee.

“But my knee bends; it does not rotate — nobody’s does,” he said. “So through impact, as I push, I want to release that pressure and let that foot almost aim right at the target, kind of like Bubba Watson and Bryson DeChambeau do — they swing it so fast and don’t get hurt because they let their foot rotate. If you try to keep it stationary and rotate, you’re going to rip up your knee, you’re going to need a bunch of surgery so don’t do that.”

Mickelson then hit a drive and rotated his front foot on the follow-through. He hit around 180 mph ball speed and 120 mph clubhead speed.   

In less than a month, he’ll be teeing off — sorry, hitting high, nasty, straight bombs — in his first tournament of ’21, the American Express in California. 

“Everybody wants to hit bombs, and so, as we end 2020 and we want to make 2021 the year of hitting bombs — high, nasty, straight bombs — we want to do it so we prevent injury and don’t get hurt,” Mickelson said. 

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Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor