After some painfully off-line drives you may think that you can't swing hard and keep the ball in play. That's not exactly true. You can swing as hard as you want -- if your head stays behind the ball from address through just before the end of the follow-through.
Impact Provides the Clue
Look at a photograph of a Tour player at impact and you'll see his clubshaft and left arm form a nearly vertical line from the ball through the left shoulder; the clubface is square and the clubhead is sweeping along the ground. Because the left shoulder is outside of the torso, the head must remain behind the ball for the shaft and left arm to be in this good position at impact: If the head moves even with or in front of the ball, it is very difficult to square the clubface.
Shoulders Must Stay Back
When your head moves ahead of the ball, it's your torso that's taking it there. When the torso slides forward -- as it tends to do on hard swings -- the shoulders unwind too soon in the downswing, creating momentum that pulls the body toward the target. So the answer is not swinging easier, but resisting the temptation to start the downswing with the shoulders.
Focus on holding the shoulders back at the beginning of the downswing. Let the arms drop and the hips rotate, and then, at the last moment, whip the shoulders through. Whip as hard as you want: By holding back the shoulder turn, you keep the torso -- and your head -- from sliding ahead of the ball.
Private Lessons 1999 Times Mirror Magazines, Inc., used under license by GolfServ Online, Inc. Instructional information provided by Golf Magazine.