This is an excerpt from the 1st chapter of the new and soon-to-be-released book, 101 Ways to Increase your Golf Power called Golf Power Swing Keys.
I wanted to write this book because I could not really find it anywhere. If you’re looking for more power, distance and lower scores this might be for you.
However, I could only find bits and pieces here and there. So I tried to put all the best stuff I could find related to increasing your golf distances (and accuracy) by developing your golf power into one “power-packed” book.
I wanted to aggregate all the best stuff I could find and even some cutting-edge modalities that are little known but used today by some of the top players in the game. Below you can see how the chapters will lay out.
The first chapter is included below. I hope you enjoy it. After this chapter we only have 91 tips to go! Lot’s more good stuff, promise. I would love to hear your comments and what you think. I will leave my social media contacts at the bottom of the post.
- Golf Power Swing Keys
- Golf Power Swing Drills
- Golf Power Training Aids
- Golf Power Visualizations
- Golf Power Exercises
- Golf Power Flexibility/Mobility
- Golf Power Exercise Equipment
- Golf Power Club Equipment
- Golf Power Nutrition
- Golf Power Fringe Modalities
On we go . . .
#1: Get Width It!
First, you need to create some semblance of width in your swing otherwise your quest for power will be limited at best. No chicken winging here, please!
Without width in your swing it severely narrows the arc of your swing. A bigger arc simply has more time to gather power before it contacts the ball.
This typically manifests itself as a collapsing of the left arm (for right handed golfers) where, all of a sudden you have both hands close to your right shoulder on your backswing and both arms are bent with your elbows very close to your body.
A good way to “feel” this “proper” width is to grab a club with both arms extended at shoulder level. The club is now horizontal in front of you with one hand toward the grip end and one hand toward the head end (your arms being about 2 feet apart).
Now assume your golf stance and turn as if you are making a backswing but keep your arms extended but not rigid. Now turn through as if you are moving into your follow through. Feel the difference? That is what extension should feel like. You still don’t want to loose connection with your core/trunk but this is a much more powerful pattern to integrate.
This is often referred to as the triangle. The “triangle” is formed by your 2 shoulders and the peak being both your hands connected on the club handle. It’s a good concept to keep in mind in your practice sessions. It’s not something you should try to rigidly maintain, however, you don’t want it collapsing in your backswing or forward swing either.
Another way to feel this extension is to imagine you have a pail of water in your hands and you are holding it with both hands on the side of the pail. Arms are extended in front of you. Now, keeping your arms extended turn to hand the pail, without spilling it, of course, to an imaginary person behind you. That’s the feeling of width and extension we’re looking for.
Now you might not be close to getting the club to parallel with your golf swing but even if your go three quarters of the way there (or even less!) you are going to feel much more powerfully coiled (of course, keeping your legs solid so to create dynamic tension between upper and lower body)
Personally, this has been such a game changer for me. I started to use the “bucket drill” and my driving distance increased by about 20 yards, easy!
#2. Stance, Shmantz
Stance is one of the easiest of fundamentals to overlook when is comes to generating power in your swing. I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to this. My stance definitely favors the narrow side which can lead to loss of balance, hip slide or hanging back (via verse pivot) and end up flipping at the ball ( I don’t mind flipping pancakes but flipping at the ball is definitely NOT cool!)
Stance is all about stability. Think of a back-hoe with that large bucket arm coming out, filled to the brim with a massive load of good ‘ole fashioned – dirt. It has those wide, flat legs that stabilize the tremendous weight exerted on it.
You also want to be aware of the position of your feet. I like to have the back foot be approximately 90 degrees. This is so you can achieve good torque (torque = stored power) and limit your hip turn as you make your backswing. Just don’t flare it out that much, otherwise you won’t get that solid, tight-like, loaded-up feeling.
Your front foot, on the other hand, should be slightly flared out (unless you have super-flexibility) so you can allow your a bit more freedom hips to turn a bit more freedom as you turn through the ball.
Often it’s mentioned to really hike up your left shoulder so you can hit the ball on the upswing. That’s not quite accurate. A better way to think about it is if you are in a completely straight neutral stance the buttons on your shirt would be completely vertical.
What you want to do is tilt those line of buttons so they are slightly aligned to the right so your spine is angled away from the target. This will give you the best angle to make a crushing, upward blow into the ball — and watch it sail far, far into the distance 🙂
So try to maintain a stance a little wider than your shoulders, slightly tilt your spine away from the target and keep the back foot square and front foot slightly open. This will give you a solid base from which your power can be generated. Look out Rory, there might just be a new sherif in town – YOU!
#3. Tee It High (now let it fly!)
A study was conducted a number of years ago on tee height and involved twenty-seven golfers, aged 25 to 71, with handicaps ranging from scratch to 29. Of the players, 25 typically used a mid-height tee and two preferred a high tee.
The tee heights were as follows:
- Low tee height – the top edge of the ball was even with the top edge of the driver so that the entire ball was below the top crown of the club face.
- Mid tee height – half of the golf ball was above the crown.
- High tee height – the bottom edge of the ball was slightly above the top edge of the clubface so that the entire ball was above the crown.
I won’t get into all the details like launch angle, club speed, etc. The results?
“Within each of the three handicap levels, carry distance for mid- and high-tee heights was significantly longer than the low-tee height, largely an effect of the higher tees promoting higher launch angles and less spin. The high tee height provided the most distance, giving the players an average of 12 yards more carry per drive than the low tee height.”
The biggest winners were the high-handicappers (20+) who benefited the most from having a higher tee height, picking up a whopping average of 18 yards over their drives with a low tee height!
Striking the ball above the center of the face—the new “sweet spot” promotes a higher launch angle and less spin. This results in a longer, more efficient ball flight.
Most players I play with use the large 460cc club face for a driver. These modern drivers naturally have there sweet spot above the center of the club face. Therefore, you also want to tee it up higher to maximize the potential contact with the sweet spot.
Finally, make sure your ball is teed up off your left heel or either farther forward. If you tee it back too far your club really doesn’t have a chance to get square on the downswing and, further, you won’t be taking advantage of the higher “sweet spot” on the driver.
Tee it high and let it fly!
PS: Impact Labels are a great way to begin to see patterns in your ball striking. They identify the precise location of where the golf ball strikes the face of the club. I always carry some in by bag and they always prove valuable to have.
#4. Relax Your Grip, Please
Grip pressure is one of those things that is often so in the background of your awareness that you have no idea whether it’s tight, loose or somewhere between.
A lot of higher to mid-handicappers *tend* to lean on the side of gripping the club too tightly and the result is often a slice because the right hand is gripping the club too tightly and the club head won’t release into the ball, it will be open a impact, resulting in a loss of power and distance.
A good drill to begin the feel your wrist and grip soften bit is to get one of those weighted donuts and put it at the end of one of your shorter irons and just begin to move the club back and forth (with one hand, then the other, then both) and start to feel your hands, wrists and arms “soften.” Really try to feel the weight of the club head. Just move the club head a few inches back and forth to begin.
Eventually you’re hands and wrists will become softer and you can then try to do “figure 8’s” with your arms and other more complicated moves to get even more freedom from loosening your grip.
Here’s another grip pressure drill by legendary teacher, Bob Toski:
“Hold one iron club by the clubhead in each hand. Point the grips toward the floor and tap them together. Not as easy as it looks, is it? Tap them together until you make dozens of taps in succession. Notice that it becomes easier as you ‘soften’ your hands and let the feel of the movement take over.
“When you are doing the drill well, observe your grip pressure and the flexibility in your wrists. Stiffness and pressure may at first feel like control but they only make the task tougher.”
#5. Release the Club (but don’t let go of it!)
To generate adequate golf power, you have to practice releasing the club. This is one of those concepts that can be rather hard to explain without actually “feeling it.”
So one way to feel it is to pick a club (say 7-iron) and swing it with your left hand only from half way back to half way through. Really feel like you’re “slinging” the club back and through. Keep your wrists very soft and try to feel the weight of the club head. Once your left arm is perpendicular to the ground (in the downswing) the club should be almost parallel to the ground. It’s like the club travels a lot further than your arm ever does. That’s where the speed and release come from.
What gets a bit tricky here is that you want your arms/hands to release the club but you don’t want to “flip” the club with your hands. Try this. Swing a club like a baseball bat – making sure to keep your arms extended and soft. Feel like your forearms are touching (they won’t) is another visual to re-enforce this feeling.
Imagine you are trying to chop down a tree with an axe. Your arms would be fully extended when doing this, creating a triangle between your hands (top of triangle) and the base being the line between the shoulders. Keep this intact as you accelerate and extend down and through impact.
Further, feel like your right knuckles are pointing downward through the strike. Rotating your right palm down will help square the clubface.
This video below explains the release rather nicely:
#6. Hip Spinning is NOT Cool
This is something I’ve truly come to understand as a myth – to most golfers. That is, the idea of spinning or opening our hips as fast as possible on the down swing with the hope of generating as much power as possible. The ideal finish having your belt buckle facing your target.
Tiger Woods is certainly, the example used as one who generates explosive power by using his hips with tremendous speed. The trouble is, we are not Tiger Woods (or PGA Pros) and, further, this can cause a lot of stress on our joints and we end up in non-neutral joint alignment.
Another thing spinning your hips does it that it tends to keep your upper body axis tilted backwards because you’ve spun your hips way out in front of your body. This not only leads to pushed, blocked and often thin shots (because you’re coming on to much of an inside path) but also some (soon to be) back injuries. It resembles the old reverse “C” look that many players had in the Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller era.
One way to re-think this is to try to keep your belt buckle “looking” at the ball before and even after impact. Now it will be impossible to do this but we’re looking for the feeling of solidness when doing this. Look at the photo below. Notice how Phil’s hips (in picture below) are not spun forward but just shifted laterally so he can get properly stacked on his right side.
It can be a totally new feeling for you but I ask you to stick with it. Feel the power in the move. Let your arms extend like Phil’s are. Try hitting balls just halfway back and halfway forward. Don’t worry about any sort of follow through for now. That will come easily once this is mastered because the momentum of your arms will carry you through to a proper finish.
#7. Turn, Turn, Turn
Let’s face it if you don’t complete your turn in the backswing a lot of “not good” things are bound to happen in the downswing for the basis of a solid golf swing is the powerful turning and uncoiling action of the body.
A lot of people (myself included) want to finish the swing quickly, not realizing it takes time to complete the coiling action of the arms connected to the torso. The feeling can often be the more you turn the less likely one is to hit the ball. Utter nonsense, I say!
Here’s a way to ensure you are turning your body properly. Take an athletic stance with legs active and knees slightly bent. Then concentrate on moving the backside of your right shoulder (right-handed players) back and around. It’s only a slight movement of a few inches or so.
Your back knee should now be bent and begin to feel like it’s loaded. The weight is on the inside of right foot. This active, loaded and “springy” feeling is what you want. It will “feel” like you have no choice but to propel forward. Winding up (which creates dynamic tension) then an uncoiling of that tension in a smooth and powerful motion forward.
Also, it should not be a “effortful” move. It should be very smooth and relaxed. It’s just like keeping your feet solid (hands across chest) on the ground, turn halfway back like you just saw someone who looked familiar to you.
Note: you might have to exaggerate this move. Often, it can be easy to just tilt the shoulders – where the bottom shoulder goes down and the top goes up. Think more baseball – around and level with the shoulders. It might seem like your entire upper body is moving way to much (if your a tilter) but it’ll only “seem” that way.
Note 2: I’m an over 50 golfer so it’s been helping me tremendously to let the front heel rise during the backswing – a la Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Phil Mickleson and a host of others. I’m probably getting another easy 10 yards off the tee. It really helps complete my backswing and produces a “burst” of power. Give it a try on the range. You just might be super glad you did!
Like a lot of fundamentals, this is one that should be monitored on a regular basis. A mirror can be a wonderful aid in feeling (and seeing) this move.
#8. Be Still, Grasshopper
When you setup to the ball – assuming, of course, your setup fundamentals are sound – you don’t really want to disrupt those initial angles you setup. The less moving parts the better.
Imagine (when in your setup) a metal rod going from the top of your head through your spine, between your legs and into the ground. This is a good image to work with as it helps you to “visualize” your center or axis you are rotating around.
A lot of golfers (me included, of course) can introduce excess lateral movement in the swing. This can be swaying or a feeling of having to “wind-up” to get more weight to the back side. Regardless, it therefore moves you off your center and somehow you have to get back there to hit the ball solidly. Not good, not good at all.
So practice this first at home. You don’t need a club at all. Just practice moving slowly around your spine. Don’t introduce any excess motion. Go the the extreme (sometimes you have to do this to really “feel” the difference). It’s amazing how often we introduce more “stuff” to the swing that actually gets in the way of solid ball striking.
A good training aid to help you with this is the TeeSquare – a golf training aid endorsed by Tommy Armour III. It’s a small plastic orange tee that has a plastic disc attached just below where you tee the ball. If you sway or move off the ball you can see the orange disk protrude. Simple and effective.
Tee-Square website: http://shop.golfinnovations.com/
#9. Start Singing (I mean “Swinging”)
I‘ve heard of many golfers singing, humming or whistling (Fuzzy, for example) to keep relaxed before and during their swing but I want to focus on the swing key of “Swinging” not singing (for now anyway!).
How many times have you (or you have heard) of players who have a smooth, powerful, relaxed practice swing and then step up to the ball and it looks like they’re trying to kill a rat with a hockey stick. This has often been a particular bugaboo of mine and has produced my fair share of frustration. It’s that dreaded “Hitting from the top” move that totally takes any synchronization completely out of the swing. We want to swing not hit. So what to do?
The good news is – there is always a solution (or solutions) and the key is somehow taking your focus off the ball and onto something else. I mean why is the practice swing so smooth? It’s because no ball is there and there is nothing impeding the natural motion of the golf swing.
The one simple way to begin to get back to “swinging” versus “hitting” is to simply start swinging the club. Do the 9-3 drill in the Swing Drills section. Swinging is such as natural motion. Try to just let it happen. Feel the freedom in the swinging motion. Let your hands, arms be loose and relaxed.
The speed and power come from loose (not Jello pudding loose!) and relaxed muscles. Just keep doing this. Do it with your eyes closed. Get that feeling into your subconscious.
Next, when you go the range, grab a 6 or 7-iron and with your feet just a few inches apart, swing smoothly back and just try to get the club to “fall” into the ball. Let your lower body unwind to initiate the downswing. No swaying. Keep your feet and core solid and steady. Let the transition be as smooth as possible.
Feel a softness in your hands, arms and shoulders. Let gravity help in allowing the club to fall into the ball and freely and naturally release the club. It should feel effortless and smooth.
Try not to let anything impede the “swinging” motion. Don’t worry about if you even hit the ball or not, just swing back, drop and release.
One note: If you’re not used to this motion (and feeling) it’s going to take some time to integrate. Don’t give up on it. Even when you start to play rounds it’s not a bad idea to hit “half” shots with this feeling. With your new effortless swing the ball will probably go just as far if not farther than with your old, full swing.
#10. The “Magic” of Separation
I just love this pic! It really reinforces the idea of upper and lower body separation, don’t you think? But what if you get so separated that you can’t find you’re lower body? Ugh – that would NOT be cool . . .
Onward . . . In order to create distance we must create dynamic torque in the body. This is produced much like the “load” we put on a bow and arrow. We load the bow by pulling back the string then the built up force is released when we let the arrow go.
A good visual I have seen for this is to “torque” or twist the top half of a larger car sponge while keeping the bottom part stable. The minute you release the top it unwinds quickly due to the release of dynamic tension. For me, I like the words “create torque” as a swing key.
We want to use this dynamic tension to our advantage. First get a solid base, now turn, keeping that right leg (for right-handed golfers) slightly bent, solid. You should begin to feel the dynamic tension building between your left shoulder right hip/right leg.
Feel like right glue is loaded and that your driving your right ankle into the ground. This is what we’re after — that “tight,” loaded feeling. That is the feeling of separation between upper and lower body.
Keep in mind, we don’t want to be forceful, with this. In other words it should not be this overly conscious, tense move. It should build naturally with minimal effort.
Note: A way to actually feel this dynamic tension (off course) is actually quite brilliant and shared in this post we did: Braced Right Knee in the Golf Swing.
This is something you can practice anywhere, at home, in the office, the gym, wherever . . . Then try it on the range, taking just half swings.
Pros know this secret of building torque then releasing it fully to get maximum distance.
PS: Check out our Golf Power Exercises chapter to help build and stabilize these important muscles we discussed.
101 Ways to Increase Your Golf Power: Massively Increase Your Golf Swing Distance and Hit It Straighter and Farther Than Ever Before
101 Ways to Increase Your Golf Power is a jam-packed resource of methods to dramatically produce a more powerful golf swing that results in; increased distance, solid ball-striking, more fairways and lower scores.
Includes: select golf drills, golf training aids, golf exercises, golf exercise equipment, golf swing keys, golf equipment, golf visualizations, golf nutrition, even “out there” techniques for increasing your golf power and distance. Get it here.