Power alone can’t shave strokes off your golf handicap. But power combined with accuracy can. Together, they can put you in great position to attack the green in regulation. The more greens you hit in regulation, the better your chances of making pars and birdies. If you can squeeze out another 20 to 30 yards off the tee while still maintaining accuracy, you’ll dramatically increase your chances of reducing your golf handicap.
But weekend golfers often try to create power the wrong way—by either swinging their arms faster or firing their hands at the ball. This approach sacrifices accuracy for distance. If you swing your arms faster or fire your hands at the ball, you may get more distance but you’ll probably miss the fairway. So how do you increase distance off the tee without sacrificing accuracy? That’s easy—engage the four key elements of power that weekend golfers too often ignore—tempo, stability, torque, and a dynamic lower body.
Everything starts with tempo. Sometimes a tight fairway or menacing bunker tempts you to change your swing. Resist that temptation. Abandoning the basics seldom works. That’s why golf lessons emphasize them. The basics are the key to hitting the ball longer and straighter because they produce solid contact. If you want make solid contact you must maintain good tempo. Unfortunately, weekend golfers abandon tempo when trying to hit bombs. The result is a lot of fast, jerky swings that deliver poor contact. Savvy golfers keep tempo in mind whenever they’re on the tee.
Good golfers also concentrate on maintaining a solid base. Keeping your rear knee flexed as you take the club to the top is the secret to achieving accuracy and power off the tee. This move helps you shift your body weight to the right side so that it rests on the inside of your right foot (left foot for left-handed golfers) during the backswing. It also helps prevent you from executing a reverse pivot and allows you to make a powerful move back to the front side in the downswing. Without a solid base from which to hit, you’ll leak power and curb accuracy.
Create A Wide Arc
In addition to maintaining good tempo and a solid base, you’ll need a wide arc width on the tee. It creates the torque you need to hit it longer. If you want more distance off the tee, you must create a wider backswing than normal without disrupting your tempo. You can do this by maintaining a solid—but not locked— rear arm. This move creates maximum arc width. Folding both elbows at the top, which you see golfers do a lot in golf lessons, creates a narrower arc width and a significant loss of power. That’s because it forces you to pull the club too far inside on the takeaway, robbing the backswing of the arc width needed to generate more power.
Drive Your Weight
The last of the four basics for generating distance and accuracy—and perhaps the most important—is an active lower body. You must drive your weight toward the target on the downswing, if you want to hit longer, straighter drives. You want to feel like your throwing your legs at the target, while actually staying steady. This move is also known as making a power shift. Failing to do this short-circuits your power, resulting in a weak tee shot.
To check your weight shift, take your address with a driver. Then, tee a second ball just inside your back ankle. Make your normal swing, moving your weight away from the target going back and toward it coming down. If you transfer your weight correctly, your back angle will roll inward on the downswing, knocking the second ball off the tee. If you leave the ball on the tee, you know you haven’t made a good power shift, leaving yards on the table.
Using your lower body to generate more distance is a forgotten power fundamental. It’s one of those golf tips that really pay off if executed properly. When combined with the other three power elements—tempo, stability, and torque—you can add an extra 20 to 30 yards to your drives. That enables you to power the ball over menacing fairway bunkers or cut corners on doglegs and still find the fairway. In addition, it increases your chances of hitting more greens in regulation. Hitting more greens in regulation will result in making more pars and birdies and lowering your golf handicap.
Jack Moorehouse is the author of the best-selling book “How To Break 80 And Shoot Like The Pros.” He is NOT a golf pro, rather a working man that has helped thousands of golfers from all seven continents lower their handicap immediately.