When using a driver, golfers have the tendency to try and “hit” harder" rather than trying to create more speed through impact. There can be several reasons for this, standing on a tee of a 400 yard hole, always being able to use another club to strike longer shots until you use the driver so it becomes the infinity and beyond club and there is always the urge to strike a longer drive than your playing partners to name just a few. By thinking of “hitting harder” golfers instinctively become more tense, muscles tighten, and backswings become faster where they create little coil that leads to a weak, powerless through swing.
We are looking to create effortless power not powerless effort and although we don’t strike the ball with our backswing, we are trying to utilise our bodies to the maximum in order to create the fastest speeds we can control. To help you, I have included some tips below along with some common reasons as to why golfers are prevented from achieving their longest drives.
You must utilise your body when you swing just as you would for any powerful action like skimming a stone on water or throwing an object a long way. You never hear anyone asking you to keep your “head still” when doing this but it happens all too often to people that play golf. If taken too literally, this advice will restrict your swing so a far more successful swing thought is to keep a steady, avoiding excessive sway and bobbing however it can rotate. In fact, most golfers must allow their head to rotate if they want to use their bodies well and maximise the speed they generate. Check out DJ in the photo above.
Assuming we have good swing thoughts, calm thoughts, relaxed muscles and sound fundamentals, another aspect that will influence how much your upper body rotates is when people ask golfers to turn their left shoulder behind the ball. The problem with this is that most people have a range of independent movement in their shoulder that doesn’t require movement of their upper body at all. It is for this reason why I ask golfers to move their back to face their target or make their chest face away from their target as it encourages more golfers to maximise their body rotation and generate more leverage.
Another element is to hinge your wrists correctly as this maximises the leverage you can produce in your swing that will also maximise the speed you create through impact. Unfortunately, many golfers I see are making swings the equivalent of trying to crack a whip or hammer in a nail with their arm in a plaster cast. If we assume that you are holding the club correctly, I would like you to make sure that the angle between your lead arm forearm and shaft is approximately between 45 and 90 degrees which will enable you to maximise speed through the strike. If you are holding the club correctly, a check would be to set up to make a swing and then lift the club vertically in front of you using your wrists only and not letting go, this angle should be between 45 and 90 degrees and the amount your wrists should be hinged.