The Enigma of Creating Power in the Golf Swing.
We all want it. Since the first moment we put a club in our hands we’ve tried to hit it farther. No matter how long we play or how many holes we’ve played, there is just something deep down inside of us that just likes to hit it long. For the scope of this article, I’m not going to get into the debate of “speed” vs. “power” because we could debate the differences & definitions all day. Today, let’s just see if we can figure out how an average golfer can ACTUALLY hit the ball farther.
Since I have a fitness background, you’re probably expecting me to say something like “Getting stronger and more mobile is the key to hitting it farther.” or maybe “You must have good glute activation to create more swing speed.” But the longer I’ve been working out on TOUR, the more answers I seem to find and the less sure I am that there is an answer….
It seems like everyone has the answer or the key to creating more speed in the golf swing. According to Golf Monthly Top 25 coach Ged Walters, the first thing you need to adjust for more speed is your grip:
“You will never achieve your maximum distance potential with a bad grip, so check your hands first of all. The trigger finger of the upper hand should rest on the grip where the first fold between finger and palm is, with the butt end across the palm so the pad at the base of your thumb sits on top of the grip.”
The next headline you will see has a different opinion. According to a 2017 article from Golf.com, the key to creating more power is in the hips:
“One big key to power is maintaining the separation between your hips and upper body in the transition from backswing to downswing. As you start down, try to keep your back facing the target as you unwind your hips. Your shoulders, chest, arms, hands and the club head will naturally follow.”
Yet others may take the view that sequencing is the key to more speed and distance. According to Chuck Quinton of RotarySwing.com, the key is sequencing and where you are creating the speed could be the key.
“…speed only matters down here at the bottom. I don’t care how fast your follow through is, or your backswing. I’m trying to produce speed at this point. That means sequencing is the key, and not just driving your body through as hard as you can in an all out effort to produce powerless swing speed.”
If you’ve ever taken a lesson, I’m sure you’ve heard one or more of these theories before. These aren’t even all of the theories out there. I didn’t even touch on set up changes, foot pressure, squatting in the downswing, throwing your hands at the ball, the equipment your are using (this is a whole other debate)…and on and on. This is why everyone can easily get lost and confused these days. While the internet is an amazing source of information, it can also cause paralysis by analysis.
So how do we decipher it all?
My advice….just don’t. Stay off the internet. Have someone who knows what they’re doing take a look at your swing and your body to find out what’s causing your biggest limitation and address that.
Having a fitness background, of course I feel that addressing some of the limitations within your body can make a big difference in your game. How do your hips move? Can you turn your shoulders? Do you disassociate? I’ve seen first hand with some of my older clients that they regained some yardage just from doing some of the basic warm up movements that I posted in my previous article.
So looking back at our list of things we can try or adjust, we now have grip, foot position, hand speed, backswing depth, hip mobility, disassociation, sequencing, hip turn, ground force, and even core stability as our “keys” to creating more power….still with me? I know, it’s starting to look and feel like we are doing math, but just hold tight, we are getting there.
If you agree with me and think it starts with the body, then you need to find yourself a golf fitness professional to get an assessment done. Finding a good one can be difficult but one place to start is the mytpi.com website. On their homepage if you scroll all the way down to the menu list on the left side you can click on “find an expert” and it will help your find TPI certified instructors and fitness professionals in your area. ( While I am TPI certified, I have no affiliation with TPI nor do I earn commission on this but it’s the only organizational database out there that I know of for certified fitness trainers for golf) but there are other golf certifications out there so this is where the internet might come in handy again.
OR….you can start by reading my article and using the exercises in there to start getting your body to feel and move a little better. The other action we would take is to find a teaching pro and take a lesson.
There is only one thing about lessons that frustrates me and that is when the teaching pro tries to give you more than one thing to work on and tries to fix everything all at once. You just need to know if it’s a physical limitation causing your fault? Is it a timing or sequencing issue? Whatever it may be, the best way to get faster in your swing is to first make sure you can actually control the ball before you start firing chili dippers two fairways over. Distance does nobody any good if you’re slicing it thicker than a bbq chef at a brisket convention.
But I still believe it all starts with the body first. I may never swing like Rory, but I can definitely get my club head into the high teens….I just have no idea where it’s going. AND I’ve been working on my limitations for years now.
Originally I was doing it for my back. I’ve had issues since high school and I’ve been lifting weights since I was 16 so the combination of bad genetics, terrible lift technique and ill advised programming for my posture and build, all lead to recurring back problems and the golf swing of a 75yr old. Now I swing faster & hit it farther then I ever have, even at the ripe old age of 39! I can get through a round with no back pain, it’s a win win.
Golf requires a very unique talent of coordination and skill that is different from other sports. You by no means have to be what is commonly called “athletic” to golf but it can certainly help. No matter where you are with your body currently, there are some simple areas that you could address that would not only make you feel better, but also play better and hit it farther too.
Bottom Line: Anyone can add distance, speed or power to their golf swing by addressing their biggest limitations one at a time. Whether that is body, mind, technique or a combination of the three, pick one thing in each category and improve. Just try not to get lost or buried in information when trying to fix it. Or you can be just like the 95% of people who read this and do nothing. Then the next time you step foot on the tee box……just grip it and rip it. That should work right?