Like a high-performance engine that stalls when it leaks oil, water or fuel, a golf swing comes to an idling stop when the potential energy created in the backswing is emptied well before impact. Here are three tips to help keep power from leaking out of your game and also add horsepower to your motion.
Make A Differential Impact
When you watch long-hitting players on the PGA Tour, pay attention to the relationship of their hips and shoulders at impact. The secret formula here is what I like to call 30/5. At impact, the hips should be open about 30 degrees, and the shoulders open somewhere between zero and five degrees. Practice a few golf swings with a mirror and hold your impact position. If your hips are square and shoulders are open, keep making practice swings until you get a feel for the 30/5 ratio.
Find Your Slot
Often, golfers will try to increase their swing speed by overpowering the downswing with their arms and shoulders, regrettably resulting in the dreaded over-the-top move and slice-induced blow to the ball. Real power comes from delivering the club on the correct angle. Midway through the downswing, the clubshaft should bisect the right forearm (left for left-handers). Make a practice swing with a mirror to your right and, at 3__ã4 of the way down, stop and verify that the clubhead passes over your right elbow in the mirror. Perform this drill in slow motion first until you get a feel for correctly slotting the club. Once you do, you can kiss the over-the-top, smothered shot goodbye.
Release And Rotate
A proper release through impact guarantees the maximum release of energy into the ball. A fundamentally solid release features extended arms following contact, with the right forearm positioned above the left forearm. In addition, the forearms should be touching. To make sure you're fully extended through impact, place a sweatband, watch or towel (attached with a rubber band) on your left forearm. Following impact, you should feel your right forearm touch the worn item. Practice this move until you no longer need a reminder and you'll soon find yourself a few extra yards down the fairway.
PGA teaching professional Dan Campbell is the director of instruction at Whisper Rock Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.