The Quest for Distance via The Best Golf Swing Instruction
Would you like to hit your driver farther? The topic of distance has surpassed score as the most discussed subject matter at nearly all 19th hole retreats. There is no question that technology has improved at a faster rate than the golfer population’s understanding of the swing. Golf balls, graphite shafts, plasma treated titanium heads, and the club assembly process have given the golfer the ability to hit the ball much further than just five years ago. For golfers to truly take advantage of these technological advances in terms of distance, one must learn to use all of his/her power sources to obtain maximum distance. Radius power, elasticity power, and rotational power are the three power sources to examine as the key factors for distance in the new millennium. These sources of power are not new concepts. However, the technology required to take full advantage of these sources is new.
Radius power refers to the width of the swing arc during the backstroke and follow-thru of the golf swing. The ideal arc would be wide in the backswing, narrow in the down-stroke, and wide again in the follow-thru to the finish. A wide arc in the backswing and through swing increases the diameter of the swing circle, therefore, increasing the potential energy in the motion. A narrow arc in the downswing to the ball converts potential energy to maximum kinetic energy. For every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction, so the chances of having a narrow arc in the downswing are greatly increased by simply making a wide arc take away. Extension and reaching are two key swing thoughts one should explore when working on radius power.
Elasticity power refers to the coiling process of the body during the backswing only. Nearly ten years ago, Jim McLean, a golf instructor in Florida, wrote a book titled The X Factor. This instructional book describes elasticity power as the X Factor. The difference, in degrees, between the shoulder turn and hip turn in the backswing corresponds to the amount of elasticity power produced. A large differential results in a large amount of stored elasticity power. A typical differential is a 90 degree shoulder turn with only a 45 degree hip turn. The increased emphasis and implementation of fitness programs designed specifically for golf has resulted in greater elasticity power differentials such as a 100 degree shoulder turn with a 40 degree hip turn. Elasticity power is greatly enhanced with more flexibility. A swing thought for this topic is to turn the upper body while resisting the turn of the lower body during the backswing. If this is something you feel may help increase power in the golf swing, I would advise implementing stretching as a daily routine.
Finally, we are going to examine rotational power as a source for distance. This power source reflects the rotation of the body to and through the ball in order to complete your swing to the finish. The coiling and unwinding process of a rubber band while held between your fingers is a good visual image to keep in mind for understanding rotational power. To get the rubber band to twist tightly in the center, you would hold the bottom of the rubber band while twisting the top. Therefore, a rapid unwinding occurs when you let go of the bottom of the rubber band. The same concept applies to rotational power in the golf swing. If we are looking for elasticity to load up the body for power, we must deliver this power through the controlled aggression of body rotation through the ball and to the finish. It is important to eliminate as much sliding, or lateral movement, through the ball with the body in order to take full advantage of rotational speed. For the right handed golfer, the firming up or straightening of the left leg (and vice versa for the left handed golfer) to and through the ball is a key for rotational power in the golf swing.
Extension of the arms in the backswing and follow-thru is a key to radius power. The resistance of the lower body against the rotation of the upper body during the backswing is important for elasticity power. Aggressively rotating the body over a firm left side will enhance rotational speed. These concepts have been around for many years, and as technology improves, one must continue to search their swing for a long-term answer in the quest for distance.