If you take one thing from this article, I want it to be how launch angle and power are linked and how you can get more yardage without swinging any harder. Some players seem capable of generating easy power – that is they swing within themselves and yet their distance is always good. This is because their launch conditions are spot on. With a driver in hand, this means you need the right launch angle. A good way to think of it is to imagine you are holding a hose – if you lift the end of the hose up the water goes further until the angle becomes too great and then the water starts coming back to you. With your driver you should be aiming to find the optimum launch for distance. In my experience, players often launch the ball too low and this has a huge impact on the overall yardage.
No matter whether you are hitting a driver, an iron or even a putt you should be aiming to return to your address through impact. That’s why you should pre-set the ideal launch angle at address. Notice how my ball position is forward, my sternum is behind the ball and my weight is set on my right side. Your left shoulder should also be a little higher than your right. If you can find this position you will be pre-setting the perfect launch angle to optimise your distance. Also, don’t forget about the tee height – half of the ball should be above the top of the driver. Given how launch angle and power are linked, this is a crucial element to get right.
A good rotation is another crucial ingredient to power. The basic idea is that your upper body should rotate to around 90˚ while your hips turn to around 45˚. The difference between these angles helps to create good clubhead speed. However, in my experience many golfers struggle to rotate their hips to 45˚ and this restricts the upper body rotation accordingly. Place an alignment stick through your belt buckle as I have done here to highlight your own hip rotation. If it is less than 45˚, hit some shots with your right foot moved back as I am doing here. This will help improve your hip turn and your body rotation for extra distance. Then try to bring this feeling into your normal swing.
One of the biggest power killers in the swing relates to the way your wrists work. In the backswing, your wrists will naturally hinge to help the club reach the top. The angle in your wrists here is a huge source of power and you want to release this as late as possible in the downswing to maximise your clubhead speed through impact. Often players release this angle too early losing speed before they reach the ball. To help, make some right-handed swings holding an alignment stick. The loudest swoosh should come as the stick swings through the impact area. If the swoosh is early, work on retaining the angle in your right wrist for a little longer. Along with understanding how launch and power are linked will huge impact on your overall power potential.