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Golfers will take power from anywhere they can get it. In fact, many spend large sums of money on the latest and greatest technology, hoping it will boost their average drive by even a few yards.
And while some good clubs can help you squeeze out a little extra distance, you might be overlooking an important opportunity to gain power – the ground underneath your feet.
Using the ground effectively to your advantage can help you gain swing speed. And, of course, added swing speed is directly correlated to longer shots, as long as you make good contact.
So, how do you use the ground to tack extra miles per hour onto your shots? Let’s take a closer look.
While this is an article about golf, let’s take a quick detour and talk for a moment about baseball.
When a batter steps into the box to prepare for a pitch, he will often dig his back foot slightly into the dirt. A few quick swipes later and there is a nice toe hold for the batter to use when it comes time to swing. In fact, by the end of a game, the batter’s box often features a rather deep hole that has been created by player after player doing the same thing.
So, what are these players doing?
Basically, they are creating a way to add a little push to the swing. This toe hold will give the back leg the firm foundation it needs to drive and rotate through the hitting area. In this way, the batter is using the ground to his advantage and adding power as a result.
There’s only one problem with this analogy – you can’t do this in golf. It’s against the rules to build your stance in this way, not to mention you would tear up the course in the process. However, even though you can’t build a toe hold for your back foot, you can still use the ground for leverage. It all comes down to having the right technique.
If you are going to use the ground to your advantage in the golf swing, and you can’t dig yourself a hole for your back foot, it’s critical that you establish a solid address position. What do we mean by ‘solid? There are three key points to hit:
Countless golfers play from a stance that is simply too narrow. The right stance width for your swing will depend on a number of factors, but most players will want to keep their feet at least shoulder-width apart – and more for the long clubs.
If you feel like you can’t currently make a full backswing turn without falling off balance, your stance is probably too narrow.
This is really the heart of a quality stance. You need to have your knees flexed, at least slightly, throughout the swing. Not only will this help you stay balanced, but it will also engage the big muscles in your lower body and help you to generate power.
There really isn’t a dignified way to say this – you need to stick your butt out behind you at address. This move will flatten the lower part of your back and make it easier to turn back and through the shot without losing balance.
Too many golfers seem to think that power in the golf swing comes from the upper body. It doesn’t.
Sure, your upper body has plenty of work to do, but the power you are going to generate comes starts with your lower body. A strong, aggressive turn toward the target with your lower body is the power source you need to tap into time after time.
This lower body turn should get going even before your backswing has finished. As the club nears the top of the swing, start turning your hips toward the target. This overlap of backswing and downswing is a great way to smooth out your transition and get the speed building process started as soon as possible.
Once that move toward the target has started, it should be free to rip through the hitting area and into the finish. Any holding back at this point is only going to rob you of power and make it harder to hit a solid shot.
Getting an extra power boost from the ground beneath your feet requires pushing off of that ground as the downswing develops. Often, this is a move used when hitting a driver – it is less-commonly seen with shorter clubs.
As you swing down toward impact, you push off the ground and come up onto your toes, giving your swing an extra boost in the process.
Image via AustralianGolfDigest.com
As you might imagine, there is a tradeoff to be made here. On the one hand, you can add some miles per hour to your swing by executing this move. On the downside, some players will find it harder to make clean contact, and there is an added element of timing involved that wouldn’t be present if you kept your feet on the ground.
This is something you should only implement in your game if you have first worked on it during practice. It will be a great addition to the swing for some players, while for others it just won’t come together.
To wrap up this article, we want to emphasize one point again – you have to keep turning all the way through the downswing.
If you focus too much on pushing off of the ground and you fail to continue your turn, any extra power will be wasted because you won’t hit your target (or the sweet spot). Committing to the rotation of your swing all the way to the finish is one of the most important things you can do in golf.
If you can manage to push off the ground while executing a great turn at the same time, you might be in for some exciting ball striking progress.
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Golficity Golf Instruction, Swing Coach Leave a Comment