So, just how do you develop the most efficient power sources in a golf swing? It takes coordination between the backswing and forward swing, of course, and that takes great golf footwork. I’ve come up with a simple and straightforward training system to do just that, and the only tool you need (besides your clubs and golf balls) is a common cinder block.
As it relates to creating momentum and power to swing the golf club, there are three major components.
- Wrist cock
- Weight shift
In the backswing, we rotate the body and cock the wrists with a little weight shift to the back foot. This stores up energy for the purpose of unloading power through the ball in the downswing and follow through.
Photos 1 and 2 above illustrate the backswing power storage.
FOOTWORK FOR UNLOADING
The key to unleashing power is to begin the downswing with your hips while rotating and shifting your weight to your front foot. In order to maximize your power out-put, your back heel should move towards the target as you rotate your body through the ball. The white vertical line in Photos 3 and 4 above help to illustrate this point. Perform the move successfully and you will have the majority of the weight on your front foot at the end of the swing, while finishing up on your toe, with the sole of your foot in a vertical position parallel to the white vertical line (Photo 4). At no point should the heel ever break the white vertical line. Rotate and have this footwork in your swing and you will be using your lower body effectively in an athletic fashion.
SPIN OUT AND FALL BACK
A major power loss in the golf swing is the spinning out of the back foot as the body is rotating through the ball. This results in hanging back through the shot, with the heel breaking the vertical line (Photo 1) and falling back at the finish of the swing, with the weight on the back foot instead of the front (Photo 2). A swing like this looks unathletic and upper body dominant with a tendency to make contact behind the ball.
Your goal is to make a solid and athletic move with your lower body in the downswing to maximize your power through the shot.
ATHLETIC MOTION TRAINING: SOLID AS A BLOCK
The first step to having a solid athletic move in your swing is to train this move into your body.It is very difficult to incorporate a feeling into your swing when you do not have the feel of it. Athletic motion training exercises will help you feel it first, then incorporate it second. Although there are many athletic motion training exercises, I will concentrate on two using a cinder block off the back foot to ensure proper footwork.
NOTE: In order to have sufficient feel, each exercise should be done for at least five minutes.
Overhand Throw: Place your back foot up against the block with no space between the heel and the block (Photo 1a and inset). While in a standing position, take a golf ball and throw it while focusing on moving a heel towards the target as you rotate and shift your weight to a full and
balanced finish (Photos 2a and 3a).
At first glance these exercises may seem easy to perform, but when you rotate and transfer the majority of the weight to your front foot, you’ll find it challenging to hold a balanced position. Focus on holding this balance point until the ball has stopped. This will help you hold your finish position when you swing the club.
Underhand Toss: Place your back foot up against the Block with no space between the heel and the block, Photo 1b and inset photo. While in a golf posture, take a golf ball and toss it to a full and balanced finish, while focusing on moving a heel towards the target as you rotate and shift your weight to a full and balanced finish (Photos 2b and 3b).
TRANSFER OF FEEL
Now, that you have performed your athletic motion training exercises, it’s time to transfer that feel into your swing. Start off by doing practice swings for two minutes with the block to achieve proper feel (Photos 1, 2 and 3). After you do this, hit balls for five minutes without the block and then repeat, if necessary.
STUCK IN POOR FOOTWORK
The purpose of the BLOCK is to give you feedback if your foot is spinning out. If you do not shift your weight with the proper footwork as you rotate your body, you will get stuck in poor footwork (Photos 4 and 5).
If you don’t have a cinder block, you can use a full basket of golf balls or the bottom of your golf bag to work on weight shift with good footwork.
Chris Johnston, PGA is a master innovator of training tools for over 30 years with over 200 built throughout his teaching career.