Jack Nicklaus Golf Tip: Hit Hard with the Clubhead


Illustration by Jim McQueen

Read that title again. Does it sound like I’m stating the obvious? Well, particularly when going through a bad spell, it’s all too easy to become so immersed in “swing mechanics” that you forget the object of the exercise—to hit the ball the maximum distance and with good direction. And, since you don’t strike the ball with anything but the clubhead, stay focused on the basic motion of swinging the clubhead freely through the ball.

Here’s how I try to make sure I do that. Given a sound, torque-producing backswing, my downswing is initiated reflexively from the ground up by my weight shifting to my left foot as my knees shuttle toward the target and my hips begin to unwind.

Once that’s happening, I want my arms and hands to swing the clubhead through the ball as fast and forcefully as they possibly can—with the single proviso that they follow, rather than lead, my lower-body actions. If I get that sequence right, no matter how hard I swing, I never “release too early,” “come over the top,” or commit other common downswing sins. Remember, the sequence occurs from the ground up—feet, knees, hips, and shoulders, then moves to the arms, hands, and clubhead. That’s the key to solid, consistent ball-striking.

Next week’s topic: Think “Deep” to Fight “Steep.”