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Get more power on your golf swing

Karen Palacios-JansenBy Karen Palacios-Jansen,
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For more power, try this drill: Swing to the top of your swing and pump your arms down half way, so that your right elbow points away from your body. (Courtesy Karen Palacios-Jansen)

You've heard that a golf-specific workout will help you get more distance, so you're pumping iron, jogging religiously, stretching - but you still haven't gained any distance off the tee. What's the deal?

Well, I will be the first to tell you that a golf-specific exercise program will help you gain distance, but you also need to have good swing technique to take advantage of your strength and flexibility.

If you are losing power in your golf swing, it may not be because you are not strong enough; there may be a flaw in your swing. You may need to examine your golf swing more carefully and figure out where the power leaks are occurring. I have assembled a list of seven factors that may be causing power loss, with tips on how to get more distance.

Seven reasons you're losing power

1. You may not be making solid contact with the sweet spot, or center of the clubface. For every quarter-inch you hit the ball outside of the sweet spot, you lose 12 yards of distance. If you hit the ball off the toe of the clubface, which is three-quarters of an inch outside the sweet spot, you'll lose 36 yards of distance.

Concentrate on hitting the ball on the sweet spot. Buy special clubface tape available at the pro shop that will mark your strike point when you make contact with the ball. Work until you can make solid contact with the ball right in the middle of the sweet spot.

2. You may be coming over the top on the downswing. Specifically, your arms are swung away from your body on the downswing, resulting in an "out to in" clubface path. This produces very weak shots. To fix this problem, concentrate on your right elbow (or left elbow if you are left-handed) on the downswing. Try this drill: Swing to the top of your swing and pump your arms down half way, so that your right elbow points away from your body. This will make your arms come closer to your side and make the clubhead stay behind your hands so that you can hit the inside of the ball for solid contact.

3. You may be turning your shoulder incorrectly on the downswing. If you throw your right shoulder (left shoulder if you are left-handed) toward the target as you start your downswing, the result is an over the top motion with the club. To fix this problem, concentrate on making your right shoulder rock down instead of out on the start of the downswing. This will help the arms stay closer to the body and initiate an "in to out" swing instead of over the top.

4. You may be hitting the outside of the ball at impact, imparting left to right spin. To correct this, you need to hit the inside of the ball at impact instead. To help you achieve this position, have the butt end of the club pointing inside the ball-target line as you swing your arms down. This will help you hit the inside of the ball.

5. You may be initiating your downswing with your upper body instead of your lower body from the top of the swing. This will cause your arms to swing away from your body, creating a power loss. To correct this, you must initiate the downswing with your lower body first and let the upper body follow to the finish. Concentrate on leading your downswing with your legs instead of your upper body.

6. You may be making contact with the ball at the wrong point. If your clubhead makes contact with the ground before the ball, you will lose power and hit the ball fat or thin. To make correct contact, play the ball farther back in your stance. This will help you achieve a downward blow and give you more power. Usually the ball is placed in the middle of the stance for a mid iron, but to improve contact at impact, move the ball back of center. This will help you make better contact. As you gain confidence, you can move the ball back to the center of your stance.

7. You may be pushing the ball down the fairway with your arms instead of swinging the clubhead. If your left or lead arm looks like a chicken wing on the follow-through, the club is cutting across the ball, resulting in a power loss.

To adjust, you'll need to release your forearms. Try the split grip drill to get the proper feeling. Without a ball, slide your right hand down until your index finger is on the shaft. This will make your right arm longer on the club. Take practice swings and you will feel how the right arm folds over the left one on the follow-through. Practice this until it becomes automatic and then practice hitting shots with your regular grip.

 
Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • ball position

    Josh wrote on: Aug 19, 2013

    I think they are all great points except number 6.
    Forcing the ball further back in your stance also forces the average golfer to keep the club more closed at the club's parallel point in the backswing. Having the ball further back in the stance (I believe) is of much better use when you want to control trojectory, swing speed, and a proper strike. Basically, I see it as a control play, not power.
    Also, moving the ball in the back of the stance encourages less lower body action (again, good for control) and a narrower swing path. Keeping the same swing path with this change in ball position is a common way ameteurs like myself pull-hook the ball.
    And lastly, for players that already have good swing speed and some power, moving the ball further back (even with short irons) for a full shot will commonly result the in the hands being too far in front of the ball. I used to have this problem. I found it was near impossible to keep the clubhead square and your body balanced when your hands were too far in front of the point of contact.
    My thinking is that if you need to put the ball further back to produce more distance and a cleaner hit, then the flaw lies more in your insufficient use of the lower body and maintaining the proper spine angle than that of ball position.

    Reply

  • awesome

    jody hanna wrote on: Oct 30, 2008

    She is right on.I like the explanations and drills.She must of had my swing in mine with some of the failts in a swing.ty

    Reply