Bomb Driver Like Arnie In His Prime

Aaron Ungvarsky

Aaron Ungvarsky

PGA of America Professional, SwingU Instructor

Arnold Palmer wasn’t the biggest player in stature, but his unique body motion produced one of the most powerful swings in the game. Palmer was capable of crushing the drive because of what many deemed “unconventional” lower body action.

Let’s take a look at what Arnie did so well and how you can look to incorporate similar action to help you pick up some extra yards.

From The Ground Up

  • Teachers and golf analysts are obsessed with ground force and its impact on overall speed and power. No doubt a golfer’s interaction with the turf matters, but there was a time when instructors demanded students keep the lead heel down, even while some of the best like Palmer were lifting the heel and allowing the left knee to follow the club back.
  • Lifting the heel, and as a result, having the knee bend and point behind the ball allows the hips to rotate much further back. What does this mean for you? Well if you can rotate the hips more we have a potential to create more power.
  • Notice how far Palmer’s hips have rotated, almost perpendicular to the target and his upper body can turn even further. All of this builds up a huge amount of potential energy that could be released at impact.
  • This excessive rotation meant Arnold was going to have to utilize some fancy footwork, both keeping him stable through impact, but also fully transferring the power and leverage of the hips rotating and upper body pulling against that rotation as the arms and hands leverage against them. Bubba Watson is known for his crazy feet, leaving tracks on tee boxes, but Arnie was very similar in his use of aggressive lower body motion. Similarly, Justin Thomas is noted for being explosive off the ground to help produce so much power from a small frame, again very similar to The King.

If you feel either lack of mobility or age has limited your ability to get proper hip rotation, try lifting that heel to allow the left hip to get back and helping turn properly with the upper body.