Journey to the Worlds 2012 Practice and Club Testing

My Journey to the 2012
World Long Drive Championship

I’m going to do my best to once again chronicle my journey to the World Long Drive  Championship. I’ll be on the tee on October 18th, and the Finals will be broadcast on ESPN  a week later on the 25th.  Wish me luck!

I’ve already kicked off my training for the competition. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks working on fundamentals like Balance and Leverage. I’ve also been testing some new equipment – more on that in a bit.

I filmed a recent practice session where I focused on Core Connection to make sure my whole body was involved in the take-away, and that my arms stayed connected to my body during the downswing and finish. As you’ll see in the video, I then moved on to working on my Leverage position.

Just like Jack Nicklaus did every year to prepare for the season, I’m reviewing fundamentals. I don’t mind saying that I will be taking myself through my own training program – The 5 Keys To Distance. The whole program focuses on fundamentals, so I know I’ll be in technically sound shape to compete.

The core connection drill in the video is part of the advanced training section in the 5 Keys program. I particularly like to do this drill whenever my swing gets out of sync, or when I feel like my arms may be getting a little faster than the rest of my body. Right now I’m doing this drill to help with my take-away, and to help me make a bigger turn before my arms swing up to the top of the backswing.

Towards the end of doing the Core Connection drill, I then switch to working on rapid core turns. What that means is that the drill helps me make big core turn on the backswing, then I focus on turning my chest to the target as fast as possible.  Since my upper arms are held tight against my chest with the towel squeeze, my arms can’t help but stay in good position. This helps me deliver more lag through the impact zone, and really helps me accelerate to the target after impact.

The next part of my practice focused on getting into and maintaining a good leverage position. I’m looking to feel my weight on the inside part of the ball of my right foot at the top of the backswing. From that position I can drive my shoulder to the target, making maximum use of the power in my core. And believe me, when I go up against bigger competitors at the Worlds, I’ll need to use all the power I have.

See you down the fairway!

Eric Jones
PGA Professional and World Long Drive Champion

Journey to the Worlds 2012
Driver Distance Training Videos

PS – Please leave a comment, and forward this video along to your friends.

8 Responses

  1. Tommy Dahl says:

    Hey Eric,

    I really like this vid, but have been bothered by one question. It’s about the idea of separating the lower body from the upper on the downswing. I have your 5 Keys and belong to your site. You have a drill where you go to the top and then start the downswing at about half speed or less, from the ground up – feet. knees. hips, chest, shoulders while holding the arms back to the very end. However, in this vid, you say you just turn your core/chest to the tagtet as quickly as possible while letting your arms (which are connected to your core/upper ribs/pecs) fire through just in behind. You show a bad ‘hip thrust’ out from under you move, saying that this breaks the line of power. I can see that. But don’t you advocate turning the hips before you let your arms swing through? Don’t you advocate moving the hips early, before the upper body? Do you see my confusion here?

    • Eric Jones, MA, PGA says:

      Hi Tommy – Astute question about the sequencing of the swing. Yes, I do advocate starting the down swing from the ground up. What I mean by disconnection, however, is allowing the hips to slide out from under the shoulders as the weight is shifted to the left side. What I’ve found is that by keeping the shoulders on top of the hips as you rotate to the target, the hips can follow the legs to the target with rotation, but not with slide. That keeps my upper arm against my chest at impact, with the shoulders still stacked on top of the hips, allowing me to impart maximum power from my core to the ball at impact. So yes, the hips are turning first, but they aren’t turning out from under the shoulders. The shoulders stay on top of the hips, and the torque created by the hip turn imparts a lot of upper body speed through impact. It’s another way of saying maintain your spine angle. If the hips slide to the target first, then the spine angle increases. But if the hips rotate as weight is shifted to the left side, and the spine angle is maintained, the shoulders have to stay on top of the hips. It’s a lot easier to show than describe, but I hope this helps.

  2. David Stanley says:

    Always enjoy reading and watching your posts, appreciating how well you communicate.
    As a 68 yr old I need as much help as I can get for distance and accuracy.

    • Eric Jones, MA, PGA says:

      Hi David,
      Thanks for the comments. Really glad you are benefiting from the posts. I plan to have some interesting new stuff in the near future. Stay tuned.

  3. pburva says:

    Picture is great but I have no sound.

  4. Charlie says:

    Wow, line of power with the front shoulder/rear leg. I can feel the difference big time compared to my present hip shift & upper body separation. Can’t wait to go to the range and work on it.

    • Eric Jones, MA, PGA says:

      Hi Charlie,
      I’m one of the smaller guys in long drive, so I have to get the most from my swing. I actually got the idea from a martial arts master who was taking up golf. We wound up talking for several hours about force and power. He wasn’t very big either. But he was able to translate what I was teaching him into his world, where he is very much an expert. It was a fascinating discussion. Like swinging “through” the ball, not “to” the ball. When his students chop a board in half with their hands, they don’t hit the board. They hit through the board. So he got the idea of target focus right away, and how it helps you swing through the impact zone.