Generating power in the golf swing is all about storing and releasing energy. It’s a concept that’s lost on most amateurs, but mastered by the pros.
Storing energy happens on the backswing, when the shoulders, torso and hips – the “big muscles” – rotate away from the ball. Energy is released with the uncoiling of these parts on the downswing, bringing the arms, hands and clubs into the impact zone with accelerating speed.
What happens in the instant between backswing and downswing is the key to maximizing your energy usage.
Watch Swedish golf star Henrik Stenson, preferably in slow motion. Notice that while his arms are still moving to complete the backswing, his lower body shifts back toward the target. This minute move creates tremendous tension in his midsection; the shoulders and arms are “whipped” downward by the force of his lower body. Next thing you know, Pow! Stenson has launched a 320-yard drive.
This move may look and sound relatively simple, but time it wrong and things can go haywire. In other words, it takes a good deal of practice to get a feel for how it’s done, and to make it a natural part of your swing.
As always, we won’t send you to the range without a drill for learning this power-boosting move. In fact, you can work on it in your living room or back yard:
- Stand as though hitting a normal golf shot with a mid-iron (but without a ball), then move your feet just a couple of inches apart.
- On the takeaway, slowly lift your left foot completely off the ground as the clubhead moves about one foot behind the ball. Do this without stopping your backswing.
- As the arms continue rising, move your left foot slowly toward the target; when the foot is below your left shoulder, put it back on the ground.
- At this point, focus on feeling your weight pressing into the ground beneath your left foot; make sure your left knee is slightly flexed as well.
- Stop right there. Your hands should be at or near the top of your backswing.
- Repeat the same motion several times without swinging down. When you can do this smoothly, try making full swings the same way.
- Once the drill feels fairly comfortable, move on to hitting some very soft shots, and proceed from there.
Expect this motion to seem awkward at first, but keep working on it. If you can master this intricate move, you’ll hammer the ball with effortless power.