Section 4 - Power Sources
Golf Australia DVD
are three main power sources, which are involved in generating club
head speed in the golf swing. The primary power source is the
turning of the body. The upper body, the shoulders, the trunk and
the hips need to turn on the back swing to develop coil and then
they need to unwind on the down and through swing.
At the same time that the body is
turning, the arms need to swing up in the back swing. The left arm,
or lead arm for a right hander, should stay fairly nearly straight
as this has a bearing on the size of the swing arc. If the left arm
softens at all in the back swing, the arc is going to be smaller
than if the left arm is able to remain straight.
In the down and through swing the
left arm will remain straight and both arms are going to be straight
just after impact. Then the right extends fully on the through
swing. At the same time as the body is turning and the arms are
swinging up and down and up, the wrists need to be cocking,
un-cocking and then re-cocking.
The lower body should provide a
stable base during the swing, as it is difficult to generate any
power and be able to transfer any energy from the feet, the knees
and the legs into the club shaft.
Too much pushing or driving
with the feet, the knees or the legs can very easily push you
out of position and make it more difficult to swing the club in
the right direction.
Being able to turn the body
fast, swing the arms down fast and uncock the wrists at the
correct time in the down swing, is very important in being able
to generate club head speed at the right time in the swing,
which is in the hitting area.
Turn to the right
As we bend forward from the hips when you have good posture in
the address position, this is going to help determine the
shoulder plane during the swing. The shoulders should turn on an
inclined plane during the swing, not too steep and not too flat.
While the shoulders are turning on this plane the trunk should
be rotating around the spine. So it’s pretty much a turning
action both back and through, although there will be some slight
lateral movement on the downswing.
The hips should also be
turning in both the backswing and downswing and here also a
small amount of lateral movement toward the target is
acceptable. At times it’s a fine line between correct turn of
shoulders, trunk and hips and a destructive tilt or swaying
|Look straight ahead
||Keep shaft level
One of the best ways to look upon body turn is as being a level
turn. And to help to get used to this level turn you at first need
to learn how to turn your body while standing upright and not in a
In this exercise you would place
a golf club or similar behind your head resting on your shoulders
with hands outstretched on either end of the club and arms in a
comfortable position with some symmetry. Feet position as normal and
with everything parallel aligned and looking straight ahead at the
horizon. Turn to the right for a right handed player but keep the
eye focus straight ahead. You should be able to turn the shoulders
somewhere near 90 degrees in the backswing and you should find that
the shaft of the club on your shoulders has remained horizontal.
This indicates a level turn. The trunk will have been pulled around
and so too the hips will probably have rotated between 30 and 45
degrees. Turn back to the starting position with the shaft remaining
horizontal and now allow your head to rotate to the left as you keep
turning your body to the left. The shaft should have stayed
horizontal throughout the motion and now your hips should be facing
90 degrees left of the start position. In other words, facing
towards your target. This body turn should have pulled the right
foot up off the ground and at the finish of the exercise you should
be right up onto the toes of your right foot with only about 5% of
you weight remaining there.
The shoulders will have turned on a horizontal
plane, you will have turned your trunk around your spine and your
hips will have turned back and through.
This is the basis for your body turn during
your golf swing. Doing this exercise will help develop and train
your body to feel the correct body motion and of course it will help
to develop or maintain flexibility.
After having learned to turn the body
correctly while standing upright then we need to move into a golf
posture and again practice a level turn. When doing this exercise
standing upright the horizon is your reference for plane. Now when
bending forward in your golf posture you need another reference to
ensure correct shoulder plane.
Bend forward from the hips ...
... maintain spine angle ...
... until 3/4 through.
It is suggested that you use a straight line or
something similar about 5 or 6 metres in front of you to
reference. Of course the bend from the hips for different clubs
changes so this has an effect on the shoulder plane but we are
just trying to establish a middle of the road plane to work
The shaft on your shoulders should now point
down along the reference line in the backswing and also well
into the follow through. The trunk is rotating and the hips
should be turning back and through. There is no need to have any
spine tilt while doing this exercise and firstly it is
recommended that you do full turn backswings and three quarter
turn follow throughs. This will ensure that you have kept your
spine angle until well after you have hit the ball. Your head
should be allowed to rotate to the left as your body turns to
the left so keeping your head down is not necessary.
If you do keep your head down it may actually
slow down your body turn and prevent a weight transfer. Trying
to keep your eyes on the ball is a better thought than keeping
your head down as most top line players never lose sight of the
ball when they are hitting it.
After doing three quarter through swings in this
exercise you should then practice turning into a full follow
through with weight almost totally on the left side at the
finish and facing towards the target and in balance. The people
in golf who hit the ball a long way and consistently have good
body turns, they can turn fast and they are able to remain in
balance during the swing.
The second power source comes from the arms swinging up, down
and up again as the body turns. The arm swing has a big
influence on the size of the arc during the swing and therefore
the amount of club head speed developed.
In a normal address position
the left arm is straight and the shaft almost seems to be an
extension of the left arm.
Left arm straight, ...
... maintain straight left arm ...
... throughout backswing.
Halfway down ... impact ... halfway through ... finish!
During the backswing if the left or lead arm can
remain straight it will ensure the arc is wide and maximum to
potential club head speed can be developed. If the left arm is
allowed to soften it may not have any influence on direction but
it will cost some club head speed through loss of arc. If the
left arm can remain straight also throughout the downswing and
into the early part of the follow through it will also be an
effective constant helping solid ball striking and centred hits.
The right arm will become extended and straight just after
impact and then be straight through the majority of the rest of
the swing. Left arm straight on the backswing and right arm
straight on the through swing sounds simple and has actually
been taught for well over a hundred years. It also has a major
affect on the weight transfer during the swing.
There have been many good players over the years
who have allowed the arms to soften in the backswing but they
all have the left arm straightening or straight at impact. All
good players have arm extension after contact as well as the
swing does not just finish at impact. So if a players’ left arm
does bend on the backswing it may not have an effect on
direction but it will certainly cost some club head speed.
One of the most common problems for handicap
golfers is the left arm softening on the backswing and then
never straightening out on the downswing. It is very difficult
to be able to get the arms to then rotate to help square up the
clubface when this lead arm is bent. If the clubface is left
open the ball will go to the right consistently. Pretty soon
with this clubface remaining open through impact the swing path
will start to go to the left to compensate and then you will
start to get more of a glancing blow. This cutting
across/glancing type of action will make the ball go much
shorter than with a solid strike and the problem in most cases
goes back to the arms. So at the same time as the arms are
swinging up, down and up they also need to be rotating perhaps a
quarter of a turn on the backswing and again on the through
swing. It is much easier to get the arms to rotate naturally
when they are straight.
Address wrist position ........ from target view ............ Full wrist cock ...........
from target view.
The third part of your body that contributes to developing club
head speed is the hands or the wrists. When the wrists can cock
up on the backswing as the arms swing up and as the body turns
it will set you up for a powerful downswing.
As the body turns and the arms swing down the
wrists should begin to uncock. If they can uncock from near
when the left arm is at horizontal then the club head will
probably be travelling at it’s fastest in the hitting area.
This is sometimes known as the late hit and is desirable. Most
players can develop a 90 degree angle between the left or lead
arm and the club shaft during the backswing and downswing. When
to have the wrists cock in the backswing is a preference and
instruction will vary however it is recommended to develop an
early cock so that the hand action is happening at the same time
on the backswing and downswing.
It is also benefit to have this early wrist cock
for a number of other reasons. Firstly it is helpful when trying
to build or rebuild your swing that you can use some references
which are easier to monitor when using your hands in the bottom
part of the swing.
The second reason is that you can learn to play
half shots, three quarter shots and full shots with the same
hand action but with less body and arm swing. This means that
in windy conditions or when you want to vary the trajectory of
the ball flight you can simply lengthen or shorten your swing.
One of the most important things to do with
wrist cock however is not when to use it but how to do it. A
good grip is most important in ensuring that the wrist action is
one that helps to add extra club head speed but does not have an
effect on the clubface control. The hold on the club should not
only ensure the club is in control but also it should be one
that encourages an up and down cocking action. So the angles
that are formed between the back of the left wrist and the
forearm, and the back of the right wrist and forearm should
basically stay the same during the swing.
This can happen when the wrists are cocking in
the correct manner. If there is a bowing of the left wrist in
the backswing that will close the clubface and usually lead to
hooked shots and if there is a cupping of this wrist it will
open up the clubface during the swing and normally lead to
sliced shots. So to help to hit straight shots it is important
that the wrists work in this manner.
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