for Better Golf: Getting more power in your drives
Editor's note: This is the fourth
in a series of five columns on common golf problems.
By Josh Perry
July 23, 2008 | Power is something that every golfer
is seeking. Whether you just started golf or have been
playing for a while, you continually seek longer drives
no matter your skill level. With courses being built
longer, it's not just a pride issue to want to hit the
ball further; it has become valuable to golfers to even
survive out on the links. Yea they have new clubs and
technology to hit the ball a mile, but distance still
has a lot to do with your swing. These new clubs can
only do so much.
Most of the power in a golf swing is in the legs.
You don't necessarily have to be a big guy to hit the
ball long. There are plenty of players on tour like
Charles Howell, III that can hit the ball over 300 yards.
The difference between him and the average golfer is
that he knows how to utilize all the parts of him that
will help him hit the ball a ton.
To get the power that you want you need to start with
your legs. You need to load up on that back leg on your
backswing and power off of it when start your down swing.
When you're starting your back swing, your weight should
shift from being equally distributed to about 70 percent
on your back leg. Your legs should start the movement
on the down swing. You really want to push off of that
back leg and follow through with your upper body. When
you have finished your swing, most of your weight should
have shifted from your back leg to your front. It's
important to stay balanced through all of this. If you
are trying to push too much with your legs, you will
end up being off balance and could cause a poorly hit
drive. Even though it's important to utilize your legs,
do it in a way that will help you get some distance
but also still maintain your balance.
Wrists also have a lot to do with getting more power.
The longer you can hold your wrists from coming through
the ball and the more snap that you have with them through
the ball, the higher your swing speed. What I mean is,
when you take your back swing, your wrists almost form
a 90-degree angle. If you can hold that angle as long
as you can before snapping through the ball than it
creates a faster swing speed. If you watch Sergio Garcia
he holds his wrists until the last minute then follows
through. That's where he gets a lot of his club head
speed. If you can get this down it will help in giving
you more power.
Shoulders and rotation help in creating power. The
more you can rotate your shoulders in your back swing
and the more you can rotate on your follow-through,
the greater the club head speed. Too much of this can
cause problems. When Tiger Woods first became pro, he
had a long backswing and could drive it incredible far
but his accuracy wasn't where he wanted it. Now he has
shortened his backswing and really uses his legs and
wrists to rip through the ball. He is much more accurate
and still can hit the ball a ton. You don't need to
rotate so much that your swing is out of control. On
your back swing your club should be parallel to your
shoulders. Anything where your club head is past parallel
with your shoulders is too much.
Creating more power doesn't just come from one of
these skills. To achieve your maximum power, you need
all of these techniques. If you worked on only one of
these and got it to where you were completing it successfully,
it would increase your distance. One aspect that a lot
of golfers overlook is what type of golf ball they use.
I know a lot of people use Pinnacle balls or TopFlite
balls but you get what you pay for. They are cheap golf
balls and even though they say maximum distance or power
in their advertising, they really aren't the best balls
for gaining distance. Paying a little extra for a better
quality golf ball will help with your distance. It may
not be substantial but it will add a few yards to your
Try practicing the techniques to help gain more power.
When trying new things with your swing, I recommend
that you do it at a driving range. Experiment on the
range, because it may feel quite different from what
you are used to, and all that will lead to is frustration
on the course.