George Gankas’s six steps for maximum speed and control
By Alan Shipnuck
George Gankas has a simple swing thought he likes to impart: “For maximum speed and control, you gotta go up, down, up.” He breaks that down in six steps.
1. Stand taller at address, with a rounded upper spine
Picture most Tour pros over the ball: legs very bent, butt sticking way out, back ramrod straight at a 45-degree angle. TV announcers love to call this “perfect posture,” but Gankas sees it differently: “It’s led to a humping epidemic,” because these players have to thrust their pelvis toward the ball at impact, an inefficient movement that costs them speed. Gankas preaches a more upright posture, with the armpits directly over the balls of the feet. Maintaining this balance point allows a player to clear without any compensating moves.
2. Complete your shoulder turn
This simple thought will help players at every skill level. “It powers the swing,” he says. “You gotta turn and burn.”
3. Let your right arm fly
Many modern backswings have the right elbow (for right-handers) tight to the rib cage, pointing down. Gankas believes Jack Nicklaus’s right elbow — high and loose — is the gold standard. “When you’re throwing a football or a baseball,” he says, “is your elbow smashed against your body? Of course not. It’s cocked up high and way out there. That’s where the power is.” And because it’s a more free-flowing, natural motion, Gankas believes it is more repeatable.
4. Torque the ground
A fundamental tenet for Gankas is that the legs are a key source of power. He wants his players to “squat down” into the ball on the downswing, feeling the force of the swing run through their legs and feet into the ground. “Your feet shouldn’t be sitting there doing nothing,” he says. “That feeling of them twisting a little bit — that’s torque.”
5. Shallow the shaft
At the outset of the downswing, many players pull down on the handle, pointing the butt of the club at the ball and steepening the shaft. Gankas preaches shallowing out the plane so the club is perpendicular to the player’s back. “This means you don’t have to stand up through the ball to square up the face,” he says, “so you can generate more speed and get better contact and better start lines.”
6. Rotate like crazy through impact
The hands are passive — it’s the chest and hips opening up that square the clubface. “A good visual is thinking about the eyes coming out of the shot, like Annika or David Duval,” Gankas says. “There’s a reason they were so pure.”
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