Being able to hit the golf ball for power has never been more important in your golf game since you turned 50.
Golf courses aren’t getting any shorter, and if your drives are getting shorter, hitting longer approach shots will not be as fun. Neither will adding up your scores at the end of the round.
The shorter your drives, the longer your approach shots. Instead of hitting reliable short irons in and hitting a lot of greens, you will likely be hitting long irons and hybrids and chipping just to save par.
Scrambling to save par all day can be frustrating. So check your swing to make sure you are not making these common power killing errors and working harder on the golf course than you need to.
Before we get started, let me make the point that having the right mechanics is more key to having power than any other factor. More important than your size or biceps.
Losing Golf Swing Width
The #1 mistake most amateur golfers make costing them distance, is the loss of width. Loss of width is typically the result of moving too many joints, or moving them too far.
Width is crucial for golf power because the wider your swing arc, the faster the object at the end of the arc will travel: that’s the club head. For instance, you swing a longer club, the club head will move faster even if your hands and body are moving the same exact speed as you swing with a short iron. That’s why clubs made for distance are longer.
Aside from the length of the club, you can increase your swing width by changing your mechanics. Making a wider swing arc by keeping your left elbow relatively straight and maximizing your right elbow bend at 90 degrees at the top of your backswing.
Decelerating Golf Swing Speed
You may be surprised to know that you may be slowing down your golf club as you meet the golf ball. Many golfers do this but it is not intentional and they are not “laying off” the ball. The opposite is often true!
Golfers may be working to swing very hard and yet, still, slowing down the club as it meets the ball. How does this happen?
Two words: wrist hinge.
Early wrist hinge, AKA early release, has been tested and found to decelerate the head of the club through impact. Early release occurs when the golfer begins to unhinge his/her wrist before impacting the ball causing the head of the golf club to accelerate past the hands into the impact position.
This picture is early release to the extreme and may cause some golfers to disregard it as a fault that they are not guilty of. Don’t be that golfer! If you want to make sure you are releasing correctly, try the “swoosh” test.
The Swoosh Golf Drill
You will need a standard kitchen broom for this test. Simply swing the broom at full speed as you would with a golf club. The key to the whole test is WHEN you hear the “swoosh.” If you hear the “swoosh” occur around your trail leg, you are releasing the club too early.
You want to hear the “swoosh” sound somewhere between the impact position (were the golf ball would be) and just past your lead leg. The “swoosh” occurs at the point of maximum velocity.
Make those changes and not only will you be hitting it further, your contact will be crisper and more consistent.
Thanks for reading!
Dr. Ryan York, DPT CGS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Golf Performance Specialist