Thursday, May 1, 2003
Formulas For Power
Maximize your distance by learning the methods of some of the Tour?s longest hitters"How do those guys hit it so far?” has got to be the most common question asked by recreational golfers in regard to the pros. Strength training, stretching, finely tuned equipment and lots of practice are certainly part of the reason, not to mention outrageous amounts of talent. But while it’s relatively easy to understand why tall, strongly built guys like Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh can crush their tee shots, it’s not clear to most golf fans why a lot of the average-sized guys on Tour can do it, too.
The fact is that creating powerful golf shots is more a question of speed and leverage than size. Obviously, a taller player with longer arms is going to be able to create a larger swing arc and more potential power. But the key is that it’s only “potential power” until that player learns how to unlock it. And this fact holds true for a golfer of any size. If you want to hit the ball as far as you can, you need to have a swing that can translate your potential power into yards.
How It's Done
The golfers in this story were chosen specifically for their respective abilities to produce a lot of speed and power through the use of efficient mechanics. The drills contained in the following pages are designed to help ingrain the same.
C/AL = P + Tq
chest and left arm connection = power and torque
Charles Howell III
The connection Charles Howell III maintains between his upper left arm and chest is the hallmark of an explosive, yet synchronized swing that’s powered by the body, not the arms and hands. At no time in the swing is this more apparent than just after impact when the body’s pivot is still moving the club into the finish. This connection ensures the arms will stay close to the body where more leverage can be utilized with less opportunity for the club to move off the proper swing path.
The terrific extension Howell demonstrates after impact can be very misleading. It may appear that his arms are long because they’re tight and rigid. Nothing could be further from the truth. In order for his arms to look this long, they must be extremely relaxed. The proper sequence of the downswing shoots the arms out of the shoulders, creating a whip-like effect through the impact zone.
Left Hip Clear
CHIII’s right hand may seem to be rolling over the left after impact; however, this is a bit of an illusion. In fact, his body’s rotation is in time with the appearance of rotation in the hands and arms and is the real power behind the release. While there’s a minimal amount of forearm rotation through impact, Howell’s arms and hands still remain in front of his body, with the butt end of the club pointing at the navel as it was at setup. This “body release” of the club is more powerful and consistent than relying on the hands and arms.
Left Arm Connect Drill
The purpose of the Left Arm Connect drill is to feel the proper sequence of movements that begin the downswing while experiencing the connection between the upper left arm and the chest, as Charles Howell III executes to perfection swing after swing. This drill is most effective without a ball. It begins with the left hand on the club and the right hand grabbing the left forearm/wrist from above. After swinging the left arm and club to the top of the backswing, pull up on the bottom of the left forearm/wrist with the fingers of the right hand. While lifting the left arm with the right hand, slowly begin the downswing with the feet moving toward impact. The rest of the body should begin to follow. As the body attempts to rotate into impact, use your right hand to restrict the left arm and, thus, the club from catching up. This will impart the proper feel of stretch in the left arm while serving to connect the upper left arm with the chest. After completing the drill several times, the proper sequence of movement should be clear.
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