Tim Mahoney Golf Blog

Tim Mahoney Golf Blog


Tim Mahoney Golf Blog

Drive for Show
Drive for Show
By Tim Mahoney

The phrase “Drive for show and putt for dough” has been apart of the game of golf since the early Scott’s started hitting rocks into the rabbit holes, as they tended to there sheep.  Consistent putter’s always finish around the top of the leader board and are the lower handicap player’s at our clubs.  But, also keep in mind that golfer’s who miss fairways never get to the green to attempt a putt.  Putting attributes to approximately 42% of total strokes and woods 23%, but we must get the ball into play, in order to advance towards the putting surface.  Consistent drivers have the following fundamentals:

1.       A mind-set of conservative off of the tee and aggressive around the greens.  Get the ball somewhere in the fairway.  Corners and doglegs are not meant to be carried, they are meant to play around.  If you can’t find the fairway with your driver use your 3-wood, if you can’t find it with your 3-wood use your 5 and so on.
2.       Thirteen clubs 1 swing.  If you were to ask any consistent player they would tee you, “I have 1 swing, but I have 13 different set-ups.”  A waist high to waist high swing is always at right angles to the positioning of your spine.  At address the club is positioned at right angles to your spine.  As the clubs get longer or shorter your posture will be affected, longer clubs, wider stance and less bend at address, shorter clubs narrow stance and more bend.  The change in spine tilt will affect the plane or angle of the swing.  The club is always swung around your spine, with the spine as the hub. 
3.       Distance=Swing speed+ solid contact.  Speed is the result of utilizing all power sources (body, arms and wrist) during a balance motion.  Solid contact is the result of a proper swing shape as you maintain the hub (spine.)
4.       Utilize friendly and conforming equipment.  Longer shafts, larger club heads, lower center of gravity and distance balls will assist with distance and direction control.  Overly stiff shafts and lower lofted clubs make driving much more difficult.

Lower scores and consistency is the result of fairways hit, greens in regulation, consistent wedge play and distance control in putting.  Consistency starts with fairways hit.  The average tour player hits 9.5 fairways per round, the fairways they miss the ball is on the property. Controlled driving means lower scores.  The old Scott’s had wide pastures and short holes.

270 yards with the Driver

270 Yards with the Driver


Golf has developed into a power game.  Longer holes, thicker roughs, elevated greens and tighter fairways have attributed to this change in concept.  In the golf swing there is only 3 power sources available:  wrist cock, arm swing and body turn.  Club head speed and power is the effect of the blending of these power and speed sources.  Golfers must use all 3 power sources when attempting to maximize distance and speed.


Allowing the wrist to cock and unclock freely during both sides of the golf swing will increase speed and distance.  As the club swings back allow the wrist to cock thus forming a right angle from the left arm and club.  Holding the club lightly will allow this action to take place.


The body needs to turn freely on both sides of the swing.  The backswing the shoulders turn 90 degrees as the hips turn 45 degrees.  On the forward side of the swing the lower body needs to initiate due to the coil established in the backswing.  The knees should touch with the right hip finishing closer to the target as the left.  A great drill to assist with the back swing pivot is to place a club on the shoulders at address and turn the shaft into the top of the swing.  Allow the upper body to turn against the resisting lower body. 


Complementing the wrist cock and body turn is the swinging motion of the arms as the right arm bends 90 degrees.  The arms must swing freely on both sides of the swing as the right arm bends.    The arm swing is the effect of the correct posture and relaxation at address and during the motion.


A drill to assist you with generating these power sources, is what I call the wind up exercise.  Place a club across your chest.  From the starting position, wind your upper body against the lower body.  Allow the shaft to rotate freely at right angle to your spine.  Hold for 5 seconds at the top and repeat.  As you do this exercise, maintain your posture and keep your abs engaged.


The completed power backswing has full wristcock, arm swing and body pivot.  Allowing your wrist to cock, arms to swing and body to turn will give you the opportunity to create Rory McIlroy’s power and speed.


Ninety degrees of wristcock, shoulder turn and right arm bend will generate 270 yards of distance.  Allow the arms to swing, wrist to cock and arms to swing and you will hit it like Rory!




Find your distance potential

“Find your distance potential”

By Tim Mahoney


One of the keys to playing golf in this era is to hit the ball long.  As golf courses continue to be designed longer and more difficult, hitting the ball with power allows players the best chance to score.  Although Tiger Woods has possibly the greatest short game in the history of the game, it is also a huge advantage the he has been consistently ranked among the longest hitters during his career.  How can you hit it longer?


Quite simply, there are two keys to hitting it long:  solid contact and speed.  Hitting the ball in the center of the face with maximum speed will allow you to hit it as far as you can.  This combined with the latest in club and ball technology can help you find your true distance potential.


The first thing you should determine is if you hit the ball solidly with your current swing.  The easiest test is to use face tape that can be found at most golf shops.  Place a piece of tape on your club and hit a shot.  The ball will make a mark on the tape which will show you your contact point.  Hopefully you will find you are consistently finding the center of the clubface.  Make sure you test both woods and irons as you want solid contact with all clubs.


If you find that your contact is not as solid as you would like, look at two things to improve your swing.  Make sure your posture at set up and throughout your swing is in an athletic position that you maintain during your swing.  Good posture will help you swing the club around your body consistently “on plane” which leads to center hits.


Once you are satisfied with your contact point, the next key to distance is trying to increase your swing speed.  In the golf swing there are three power sources that will help you swing the club faster.  The combination of proper wrist action, an arm swing that puts the club in position throughout the swing and a powerful body pivot that supports the swinging action of the club will allow the club to swing consistently and produce power.


Finally, if you feel you are making solid contact and are using your power sources, make sure your equipment fits your swing.  Clubs and balls that are fitted specifically for your swing will probably give you an extra few yards as well.


Learning to hit the ball longer is a very fun part of the improvement process. Examine your current swing and determine your needs.  With a little practice, hopefully you will find a few more yards.


Remember if you do hit the ball farther, you will have shorter approach shots to the hole.  It is important to work hard on short game distance control so you can take advantage of your distance and hit it closer.  This should take pressure off your putting game and allow you to improve your scoring average.



Distance and Direction to better scoring




Distance and Direction to better scoring

By Tim Mahoney


All gofers no matter what the handicap level should attempt to control distance and direction.  An improvement in consistency is the effect of a compatible golf swing.  When golfers attempt swing changes without regard to keeping a balanced or compatible swing, inconsistency is the result.  Golf swings can be upright, Jack Nicklaus, flat Ben Hogan, shut face David Duval or an open face Nancy Lopez; as long as all the parts are compatible consistency is the result.

A weak grip should be balanced with a forward ball position, centered pivot, open face, swing path that is out to in and aggressive hand action through impact.  A stronger grip should be balanced with a centered ball position, closed face, path from in to out and an aggressive body motion through impact.

There has never been a perfect golf swing, and probably never will.  Keep your golf swing balanced and compatible and you will have consistent results.


Golfers are constantly striving for more distance.  Trying out new clubs, improved physical conditioning and the latest secret in a golf publication in an attempt to add an extra 10-20 yards.  All of these changes are good, but the number one influence on distance is a combination of club head speed and solid contact.  One without the other simply results in short off line tee-shots.

Speed is the effect of wristcock, arm swing and torso turn.  Maximize all power sources in a balanced manner will result in an increase in speed.  Solid contact is the result of a path that is from the inside to along to inside.  Swing the club on the manufactured angle with the arms in front of the trunk will produce the correct path, resulting in a square hit.

All golfers should be striving for balanced controlled distance for improved scoring.  Club head speed combined with solid contact is a guaranteed means of increased distance.




Utilize Ground Forces for increased clubhead Speed


Utilize Ground Forces for increased clubhead Speed

During my 20 years working with Bob Toski in the Golf Digest Schools, Bob would state daily during our sessions, “ The hands grip the club and the feet grip the ground.”  As Player Development activity has improved with the utilization of Trackman, K Vest, Gears and 2-D video one area of development is lagging: understanding the force of the ground.  As I instruct throughout the world, one simple ingredient is being utilized in increased club head speed for all golfers: using the ground throughout the dynamic motion of the swing. Golf shoe technology has greatly improved and the feet, ankles and toes have room to launch and grip the ground.  Golfers slight in weight and leverage have found ways to increase speed simply by using the ground in the swing.  A simple thought, “ are we more powerful with a cannon from a canoe or from a firm surface?” 

Ground forces start at address with a firm ground and posture.  Arms hanging freely, weight on the middle of the ankles, bending from hips and spine at a neutral position.  Stability at address allows the body to load and unload throughout the swing.  Feet and ankles must have the mobility to load and unload.

As you wind up into the backswing, allow the upper body to wind against the lower body and ground.  Spine is tilt away from the target as the body is turned against the feet and ground.  The gluts are lowered and activated as you wind against the ground.  There should be a slight lowering of the head during the backswing as you wind up.

Explode during the downswing into impact.  All muscles must fire as the trailing leg is extended and lengthens.  This movement of thrusting upward creates a swing path and angle of approach upward through impact.  Lead glut is turning behind as the trailing leg is straightening.  Pushing off of the balls of the feet as the heels rise off the ground through impact.  Low to high concept as the golfer explodes through impact.  Using th3 ground on the backswing and downswing.  Ground forces throughout the golf swing.

The most misunderstood concept in golf is the use and utilization of ground forces.  Low to high as the golfers loads and explodes.  Use the ground as the legendary golf instructor Bob Toski mentions, “ hands grip the club as the feet grip the ground.”





Ball-Flight Consistency

Ball-Flight Consistency

By Tim Mahoney

Consistency is the number one goal of all players from Jordan Spieth to Jack Nicklaus.  Distance, Direction and Trajectory make up the elements of the ball-flight.  Golfers need all three elements for consistent ball striking.  I believe that the sequence of learning is:  trajectory, distance and direction.  The three components are interrelated and we cannot have one with out the other.


Trajectory is controlled by:

1.       Club Selection- the club is designed to provide loft.  Allow the manufacturer to get the ball airborne.

2.       Angle of Approach- the correct angle of approach provides solid impact and the proper effective loft.

3.       Set-up- consistency starts here.  Grip, posture, ball-position, aim, mind-set and tension level are the fundamentals of the pre-swing.

4.       Swing plane- a vertical swing shape will produce high shots and a flat swing shape will produce lower shots.

5.       Swing speed- without swing speed the golfer has a difficult time producing loft.  Golfers with a limited swing speed will produce the same trajectory for all clubs.

Distance is controlled by:

1.       Club Selection- longer clubs longer shots.

2.       Length of motion- increased range of motion will assist in distance.

3.       Solidness of contact- hitting the ball in the center of the racket.  Path and plane are significant influences.  Vertical plane produces toe hits and a flat plane produces heel hits.

4.       Swing speed at impact.  Body rotation, arm speed and wrist movement are the biggest influences.  Overall swing speed is a goal not club head speed.

Direction is controlled by:

1.       Aim- parallel lines of the eyes, shoulders, forearms, hips, knees and heels.

2.       Clubface alignment at impact.  Clubface at right angle to your swing path at impact.

3.       Swing path at impact.  A swing path that is from the inside to along the target line to the inside.

Every golf lesson and group activity I participate in every golfer is in search of consistency.  Ball flight has three elements: trajectory, distance and direction.  You master all three in order to gain consistency.