Boosting power to best you can
By Kim Jeong-kyoo
Hitting big drives is arguably the most satisfying and fun part of the game of golf. Golfers at all levels want to hit the ball farther. Harnessing full distance potential gives you a huge advantage over your opponents.
Indubitably, hitting shots far and straight off the tee makes your short game easier, too. A longer drive denotes that you have a shorter approach shot, which presents a better chance of hitting the ball closer to the pin, which, in turn, leads to shorter putts. Having a shorter putt indicates more chance of holing it, meaning more birdie and eagle possibilities.
Crucially, hitting the ball a huge distance to the middle of the fairway gives great pleasure, which permeates throughout the round, leaving you brimming with confidence. Obviously, big drives off the tee are a great morale booster.
To hit the ball longer you need to get your swing synchronized both going back and coming down. For this to happen, you are better swinging the clubhead back first during the takeaway.
In a golf swing the clubhead travels farther than the hands, shoulders, legs and hips. Not only to be sure that the clubhead swings in harmony with the body during the backswing, but also to let everything finish its respective backswing movement all at once, it's essential for it to travel first and faster.
That is, it needs to always move first away from the ball before any part of the body.
Better yet, taking the clubhead from the ball away first encourages the generation of centrifugal force, which will carry your hands and arms with no extra effort during the entire swing if it is built up at the initial stage of the takeaway.
To learn the correct takeaway, assume the normal address position and sole the club behind a ball. Then, place another ball directly behind the clubhead and push it away to begin the backswing. You will find yourself starting to turn your hips and shoulders only after the clubhead has completed pushing the ball back. You cannot push the second ball straight back if you turn shoulders and hips too early as you take the clubhead away from it. For a proper takeaway you need to keep them remaining motionless until the end of the takeaway when the left hand is in front of the right thigh.
Yet, keeping the shoulders and hips still does not necessarily mean that you should not shift your weight to the right at that time. You need to let your bodyweight transfer slightly to the right as you push the ball back. It is not a slight weight shift that you should steer clear of during the takeaway. It is a premature body turn that you have to ward off at the early stage of the backswing.
After all, to crank your power and distance up, you need to start your backswing by slightly shifting the weight to the right, which can be accomplished by a slight lateral hip move to the right at the initial stage of the backswing. That encourages a smooth backswing at a sedate pace, which sets the scene for solid, powerful shots.
For a good backswing imagine yourself as a quarterback pitching the ball and try to feel your hands and arms pull your chest in the direction of the toss. Once you've pitched the ball, continue to turn like a tennis player onto the right leg, with the majority of your bodyweight staying on the inside of the right foot.
A good backswing will naturally allow you to swing down in the proper fashion and hit the ball to the best of your abilities. A golf swing comprises a chain of actions and reactions.
However, to ensure more solid, powerful shots, be careful not to move the whole body toward the target at the early stage of the downswing in a desperate effort to bust a big drive. That only spells poor contact, causing a loss of distance.
By the same token, a good way to assure a proper downswing is to focus on the movement of the left shoulder.
At address there is a certain distance between the left shoulder and chin. As you turn the left shoulder to the right away from the target, this distance disappears. To hit to your full distance potential you need to restore this gap on the downswing by moving the left shoulder down, the chin remaining still.
A good way to get a feel for this is to initiate the downswing by pushing the left shoulder downwards with the chin, keeping the head and upper body staying quiet. This promotes a smooth, balanced downswing totally free from violent, brute force, having a very rhythmical movement that enables increased distance and accuracy.