In a recent survey the R&A found that the average club golfer drives the ball 215-220 yards.
My guest this week John McSloy hits it nearly double that distance! John is a member of the European Tour Long Drive, and in a recent event in Spain he finished second with a drive of 402 yards. He is currently lying 2nd on Tour, and finished in 3rd place in 2013. So how does he hit the ball so far and what is the secret of his power?
Read on and I will explain. In the first picture John is standing with just three of his many Drivers. They are all 48 inches long, with xxx shafts, and only 4.5 degrees of loft. They are made by Callaway, and have slightly reinforced faces to withstand the excessive power at the point of impact.
My first question to John was, just where does your power come from. His answer is “my legs”. He works with Ally Parlane at First Tee Fitness, to have what I would describe as footballers legs. Although his upper body/core is also extremely strong, as you would expect in a player driving a golf ball well over 400 yards, John explains that the maximum height of tee they are allowed is only 4 inches high.
This allows him to strike the ball around 8 degrees on the upswing, with reduced spin to carry it further.
Take a look at the second picture, where John is at the top of his backswing. At this point he resembles another John (Daly), as his club has travelled much further than normal. He loves this position, with his hands high, and his right hip turned. He has been working on this recently with his coach Stuart Smith, and is beginning to feel comfortable with the changes. At this point you will note how flexed his legs are and this is the key to his power - just at the point of impact he will literally jump up to be on his toes as he strikes the ball.
His main rival, and friend, Joe Miller, literally has both feet off the ground as he strikes the ball. This is the ultimate use of ground force. What about injuries I ask? “Nothing serious so far, but you must warm up correctly with lots of stretching,” he says.
Just for the record, his longest competitive drive is 422 yards, and his fastest recorded ball speed is 213mph. John practices three times a week - two technique sessions, and one speed session, to try and simulate competition conditions as much as possible.
When you see John strike the ball off the tee you think WOW. How about that. Next week. Left foot out.