Tom’s Tip: “Get Happy” Golf Drill

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, August 18th, 2018

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Happy Gilmore is a 1996 sports comedy film starring Adam Sandler as
the main character. He’s an unsuccessful ice hockey player who lacks
on-ice-skills except for a powerful slapshot and later on discovers a
newfound talent for golf.
While repossessing his Grandma’s furniture, two movers challenge
Gilmore to a long-drive contest using his grandfather’s old golf
clubs. With an unorthodox, slapshot-style swing, Gilmore hits a golf
ball that strikes a house some 400 yards away, winning $40 from the
movers. He quickly becomes a fan-favorite due to his long drives and
unorthodox antics on the golf tour.
Well before the film came out I would practice hitting golf balls
like Happy Gilmore… running up to it from behind and taking a full
swing. When I made contact with the ball it really went far. Over the
years I modified the move by taking fewer steps and was amazed at the
power I could generate, hitting drives well over 300 yards with
relative ease. I later incorporated the move in my golf clinics as
people seemed to enjoy it being familiar with the classic comedy.
This week’s “Get Happy” golf drill is designed to help players
who have been battling with coming over the top. That happens when you
have too much upper body motion and can create havoc on the swing.
Having that type of incorrect motion has the upper body leading the
downswing first, creating at hitting motion instead of a swinging
motion. When your shoulders are leading from that position it’s tough
to hit the ball with any degree of consistency and in the process
you’ll lose a lot of club head speed resulting in loss of distance.
To counteract this chronic bad habit it’s time to ‘Get Happy’ as
this move will help to rectify that mistake. In the accompanying photo
sequence are five pictures of me in action to help illustrate my
After you get into your normal setup, move your left foot over
to your right so that both feet are touching as seen in the top photo
on the top left. It’s important when you make that move to remain bent
over from the waist.
Next, with your feet together go ahead and start your backswing
by swinging the club back against your braced right leg. As the club
is going back you can begin to plant the left leg forward (as you can
see by the arrow I’ve drawn in the middle top photo.)
As the club continues its path to the top of the backswing your
body is creating a tremendous amount of torque by winding up…see the
top right photo. My weight has properly shifted as I’m now spring
loaded and ready to start the downward decent back into the ball. I’ve
drawn some lines to highlight how well my left knee has pointed inward
toward by braced right leg.
Initially, a lot of golfers when first attempting this drill
will inadvertently (once they’ve reached their backswing accidently)
begin the downswing with their entire left side first which is a real
no-no. The key here is to just make the single move with your left leg
only by planting it down first as seen in the bottom left photo.
Once you’ve done that all the stored up energy that’s been
created in the backswing is eager and raring to go. Now you’re in
position to release all the power back into the ball with full force.
Because you’ve maintained a good solid base with the right leg you can
now drive the lower body down and through back into the impact area.
This motion will trigger a perfect domino effect whereby the lower
body will dictate the proper swing tempo and pull your arms down on
the correct swing plane which will be shallower instead of too steep.
From there it’s payoff time delivering a powerful release of the
club head back into the ball generating lightning quick speed which
translates into some dynamic power.
I’ve drawn a arrow pointing towards my left leg to showcase that
I’m not spinning out of the shot, but instead firing through with
tremendous velocity. The other arrow shows how my shoulders are
working down and under instead of around and across. My right leg is
driving forcefully thorough and my right shoulder is well behind the
ball which is ideal.
Great golfers throughout history have always started from the
ground up and not vice versa. Look at how well my right knee has
kicked inward towards the target where the golf ball was. Because my
left leg was planted first there was no fear of leading with the upper
body first and spin out prematurely.
In the past leading with too much upper body action creates a
throwing action, instead of a pulling action, by drifting the entire
body forward when making the transition back into the impact area
forcing the poor angle of attack. With this new move I’m in a great
position and got the green light to fire away without any
By staying down and through the shot my forearms have been able
to naturally swing with great extension towards my intended target
without any interference.
Give this “Get Happy” drill a try. It will put a smile on your
face with better, more solid shotmaking resulting in longer drives. By
doing this drill it will take you to your ‘Happy’ place just like it
did for Adam Sandler’s character in the movie.

Tom Ward can be contacted at


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