Core Concepts for Your Long Game Clubs

From Cameron McCormick On November 03, 2022
With the longest clubs in your bag – driver, fairway metals and hybrids – it's important to have good control of contact and direction. This is because the longer the club, the faster the golf ball is... traveling. The faster the ball is traveling off-line, the further the ball is traveling off-line. And the further the ball travels off-line, the more strokes it's going to cost you.

So, what can you do to deal with such narrow margins for error? You seek help from an expert and we were lucky enough to hear from Titleist staff member Cameron McCormick. In this video, Cameron reveals an important core concept that applies to all long game clubs – extension through impact. He also details some foundational elements in setup that differ between the driver (where the ball is teed up) and fairway metals and hybrids (where the ball is struck from off the turf). These adjustments to ball position (relative to both your stance and your center of mass) are critical to solid strikes and square impact with the longer clubs.

Follow Cam's setup keys and practice his post-impact extension drill to get the most out of your long game:

• Use alignment sticks or club shafts whenever you practice. Set one stick up parallel to your target line and another perpendicular to the target line, in line with the ball. Over time, this visual reference will help you build consistency into your setup.

• For tee shots with the driver, position the golf ball forward in your stance (off the instep of your left foot for a right-handed golfer). You also need your center off mass to be behind the ball. Test this by holding the handle of your driver loosely against your sternum. Let the clubhead hang down. It should fall in the middle of your stance or even slightly to the right of the center of your stance. Setting up this way promotes an upward (positive) angle of attack into the ball, a key to longer driver distance.

• For shots struck off the turf with fairway metals or hybrids, position the the golf ball in the middle or just ahead of the middle of your stance (closer to your left foot for a right-handed golfer). For these shots, your center of mass will ideally be even with the ball at impact. Test this by holding the handle of your fairway or hybrid loosely against your sternum. Let the clubhead hang down. It should fall over the middle of your stance, even with the golf ball. Setting up this way promotes a level or slightly downward (negative) angle of attack into the ball, a key to crisp, ball-first-then-turf strikes.

• Extension through the ball is a great in-swing concept that produces excellent results with all long game clubs. To practice it, position your clubhead on the ground where your golf ball would ultimately rest. Extend your arms, grip and clubhead out towards the target, brushing the grass beyond the ball's position as you do so. Progress to making short backswings and brush the grass where the golf ball would be sitting, recreating that extension post-impact to the target. Through impact, you should feel like your arms have more extension than they did at address. This drill will improve your radius control, ensuring that your arms don't shorten up through impact, a key culprit in many thin and topped shots withe the longer clubs.
With the longest clubs in your bag – driver, fairway metals and hybrids – it's ... important to have good control of contact and direction. This is because the longer the club, the faster the golf ball is traveling. The faster the ball is traveling off-line, the further the ball is traveling off-line. And the further the ball travels off-line, the more strokes it's going to cost you.

So, what can you do to deal with such narrow margins for error? You seek help from an expert and we were lucky enough to hear from Titleist staff member Cameron McCormick. In this video, Cameron reveals an important core concept that applies to all long game clubs – extension through impact. He also details some foundational elements in setup that differ between the driver (where the ball is teed up) and fairway metals and hybrids (where the ball is struck from off the turf). These adjustments to ball position (relative to both your stance and your center of mass) are critical to solid strikes and square impact with the longer clubs.

Follow Cam's setup keys and practice his post-impact extension drill to get the most out of your long game:

• Use alignment sticks or club shafts whenever you practice. Set one stick up parallel to your target line and another perpendicular to the target line, in line with the ball. Over time, this visual reference will help you build consistency into your setup.

• For tee shots with the driver, position the golf ball forward in your stance (off the instep of your left foot for a right-handed golfer). You also need your center off mass to be behind the ball. Test this by holding the handle of your driver loosely against your sternum. Let the clubhead hang down. It should fall in the middle of your stance or even slightly to the right of the center of your stance. Setting up this way promotes an upward (positive) angle of attack into the ball, a key to longer driver distance.

• For shots struck off the turf with fairway metals or hybrids, position the the golf ball in the middle or just ahead of the middle of your stance (closer to your left foot for a right-handed golfer). For these shots, your center of mass will ideally be even with the ball at impact. Test this by holding the handle of your fairway or hybrid loosely against your sternum. Let the clubhead hang down. It should fall over the middle of your stance, even with the golf ball. Setting up this way promotes a level or slightly downward (negative) angle of attack into the ball, a key to crisp, ball-first-then-turf strikes.

• Extension through the ball is a great in-swing concept that produces excellent results with all long game clubs. To practice it, position your clubhead on the ground where your golf ball would ultimately rest. Extend your arms, grip and clubhead out towards the target, brushing the grass beyond the ball's position as you do so. Progress to making short backswings and brush the grass where the golf ball would be sitting, recreating that extension post-impact to the target. Through impact, you should feel like your arms have more extension than they did at address. This drill will improve your radius control, ensuring that your arms don't shorten up through impact, a key culprit in many thin and topped shots withe the longer clubs.
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