Power Leaks Part 2: First Move Down
Continuing the topic of power leaks, the second most common I see is a very inefficient first move from the top of the swing. Almost all recreational golfers of mid- to high-handicap begin the downswing with a move of the club with their hands — more typically, their right hand (for right hand players). What this does is make the body turn follow the attempt to move the club with the hands.
What counts most in generating maximum clubhead speed through impact is a progressive application of power from the top of the swing through the ball. A good follow-through is the result of that action.
At the top of the backswing, you should have coiled your body with a sequential backwards extension of your arms ... which turns your shoulders, which turns your hips and shifts some of your weight to the inside of your right/back foot. To swing properly requires a slight pause at the end so that you can reverse this entire action.
The first move from the end of the backswing should be a lateral slide of your body core to get "stacked" over your left foot. This will drop your hands and the club inside, where your upper right arm is close to your side. The knees remain flexed.
From this position, you can begin to rotate your body core, from the hips to the shoulders, because your mass is centered over your left foot. The arms and hands, and therefore the club are pulled down and through the impact zone.
I use the analogy that the golf swing is a pulling motion, because you have — in effect — a chain with several links. And you cannot push a chain!!! The club is a fixed link, as are the forearm, upper arm and chest. The connections — wrist, elbow and shoulder joint all are variable. If you push the middle of this chain with your right hand, what has to happen? It breaks down. So if you pull this chain through impact, from your torso, the other links have to follow the first more consistently. Does that make sense?
If you want to add power to your golf swing quickly and easily, get that grip right, then focus on holding on lightly, primarily with the last three fingers of the left hand, and pull the club through impact. Thinking that way will encourage your body to lead that entire action and you will generate more clubhead speed with less effort than you ever believed imaginable.
To get the feel of this, do it on half wedge shots. Get your pitching or gap wedge and make half swings, feeling the end of the backswing. Start down by shifting your weight to your left/lead side and turning your body core through. Let the body lead the arms and the arms lead the hands. Hold on lightly and just let it happen. You'll feel the sensation of effortless power that might get the light bulb to go on.
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