The great advantage that golfers like yourself have over the young kids, is brains! And for a golfer over 50 to play great golf, you have to use them. Your body may not have the power it used to, but you can use intelligence to squeeze a lot more golf power out of what you do have.
As a golfer, mastering your golf power delivery system, is strikingly similar to how a big league pitcher efficiently uses their mechanics to fire a baseball at 90 mph.
There are some really good lessons here that will make your son-in-law scratch his head when your ball runs right past his in the middle of the fairway.
Set the Table for Golf Power: Backswing
For golfers over 50, getting the most power from their golf swing is very important. As a result, many golfers mistakenly put a lot of power into their backswings. But we don’t hit the ball in the backswing so there really isn’t any reason to have a really fast backswing.
If you feel a lot of muscle tension in your backswing, you may be guilty of this fault. Notice how the pitcher is very relaxed in this position. Similarly, in your backswing you are simply setting up your body for power delivery.
Your job is to be getting your body in position and IN SYNC! You want to feel a nice flow to your backswing, instead of a backswing that is tight and muscly.
I also want you to notice the balance points in these two pictures. Both athletes, have their weight primarily centered on the inside of their right foot. Their weight does not roll to the outside of the foot and yours shouldn’t either. Stay between your feet.
Initiating Golf Power Delivery
These are very key positions that you need to master if you are a golfer over the age of 50. I put a red dot over the belt buckle of both athletes so you can see that the hips have rotated much more than the upper body.
For your best power delivery, your lower body needs to be rotating first in your downswing. That is a critical point for not only power but having a good swing plane.
If you have a lot of stiffness, this will be more difficult because you may not have the torso flexibility to separate your upper and lower bodies as much as these young guns. Most of us do not rotate this much during our daily lives so we lose the motion.
*Regaining this motion is not difficult, you just have to know the right exercises/stretches to work on. You can get our Top 5 Golf Specific Exercises for Golfers Over 50 by entering your email list below.
So the key takeaway here is that the upper body is still cocked and loaded while the lower body is unwinding.
Golf Power Delivery
This is the climax of the power delivery system. If you have set the prior stages of the swing correctly, your club head will reach maximum velocity at this point.
Notice here that both the left leg and left arm of the athletes are fully extended. The lead leg has stopped rotating and is now braking the hips to transfer all the power to the upper body and arms. As a result, the upper body catches up with the lower body.
A key point to notice here is that the front leg is braking which “brakes” the forward momentum of the golfer. If the body does not brake, then it continues to drift forward and a lot of power is lost. Not to mention that you may struggle with blocking the ball to the right.
Also notice that the athletes weight has nearly fully transferred to the front leg. This is a key point for golfers over 50 as we will mention in the next section.
The Answer: How Well You Used Your Power Delivery System
The follow through will tell us a lot about how well you mastered the power delivery system. First, take a look at weight transfer. It is much easier to see the full transfer in the pitcher. All of his weight is on his forward leg.
The next time you take a swing, hold your follow through position and see if you can lift up your back foot off of the ground. If you have to shift more weight to your front leg to lift your foot, you did not transfer your weight enough!
This tells us that you did not transfer your weight correctly into your impact position and lost a lot of power.
Improve Your Golf Power System
Here is a drill you can use to help you maximize your power delivery system like a big leaguer!
When you perform this drill, use a shorter iron and tee the ball up. Your contact may be somewhat irradiate but the drill will help you feel the power accumulation of a great power delivery system.
At the top of the backswing, you want to feel your weight stay on the INSIDE of your back foot. And for an additional challenge, lift of your back foot in your follow through after you hit the ball!
For golfers like you that over the age of 50, using mechanics to deliver power is more important than ever. You may have been able to get away with a poor power delivery system when you were younger and stronger, but now you have to play smarter. And playing smarter means improving the efficiency of your swing to maximize the power that your body can deliver.
And if you are having one of those really tough days, maybe this article will help you when you just pick up the golf ball and throw it like a pitcher!
Thanks for reading!
Dr. Ryan York, DPT CGS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Golf Performance Specialist