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Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Driving Tip from Pete Cowen

I've heard people say that Pete Cowen is one of the three top golf teachers on the planet. He's almost certainly the top teacher in Europe, and he works with a number of top players like Henrik Stenson.

Here's a driving tip from Pete:

You may have to play it a few times to get it all because Pete has his own way of describing the golf swing. However, you should be able to pick up these basic ideas -- and they are very important ideas -- on your first viewing:
  • Because a driver shaft is longer than an iron shaft, your hands are a bit farther from your body and your swing is a bit flatter.
  • If you want to hit a draw, you need for your arms to keep up with your body on your downswing.
That last one is very important for all of you players out there who are trying to turn your lower body as fast as you can and end up hitting a push slice -- or, if you manage to get the club face closed, you hit a snap hook. Listen to how many times he tells you that your arms should basically stay in front of your body, and that you do that by turning your lower body slowly enough for your arms to keep up.

Please understand that he is NOT saying that your lower body has to turn slowly. What he says is that the lower body should not outrace the upper body if you want to hit solid shots on the line you have chosen. This is something that often gets lost when players step up to the ball, even though they typically make a properly sequenced practice swing without a ball.

This video is less than 2 minutes long. Please, PLEASE take some time to watch it and understand it. It will help your driving tremendously -- and your iron play as well.


  1. Hey - I had to find this Pete Cowen swing video ( before I could parse his driver tip. I get gravity (David Lee) and the turn to get back to the ball and balance the hook tendency of an arms only swing. So is it shoulder path that has to be attended to for speed?

  2. I know what you mean -- even the video you found sounds a bit weird, doesn't it? So let's back away from it for a minute and try a different tack.

    Pete's teaching here focuses on something he calls "the spiral staircase." You may have heard Brandell Chamblee mention it on GC. Here's a short video of Pete explaining it, (In case that link didn't come through, here's the YouTube page:


    It's much simpler when Henrik Stenson, one of Cowen's most prominent students, explains it. Here's the Morning Drive segment where he explained how it works in his swing. (And again, in case the link didn't come through:

    Note that Henrik has a drill you can do to feel what Cowen is talking about. And PLEASE note Henrik's statement that it's about "moving muscles rather than skeletons". Now of course you can't really do that because your muscles attach to your skeleton, but the idea is that you aren't pushing your hips dramatically forward or tilting your spine. Your spine angle stays pretty steady and your arms and shoulders rotate around it.

    Henrik says to do the drill slowly. That will help you get the feeling. In essence, all you're doing is keeping the arms and shoulders in sync rather than twisting the shoulders while the hands and club get "left behind you."

    If a little time doing Henrik's drill doesn't make it clear to you -- and again, pay close attention to what Henrik says because this is really a good explanation with a demonstration -- then let me know and I'll try to come up with something else to help you understand it better.

    1. Wow - thanks! I watched the videos then tried the drill. Didn't feel like any swing I've ever made. I'm off on a trip through the end of August, but I'll do both drills every day so I'll have 5 weeks to ingrain the motion.

      On p. 41 of the August Golf magazine, Chuck Evans proposes a test to learn the correct top of back swing for a specific body. I was wildly over swinging in the hope of getting more club speed. The swing exercise that Henrik demonstrated gets me to the same top as Evans test. Might be an omen.

      Nice filter work, by the way.

    2. Glad I could help, Jean Luc. Good luck with the practice -- be sure to let me know how it goes; it'll help me help others -- and thanks for reading the blog!