For a lucky few, power comes naturally. Without thinking about it or trying to hit the ball too hard, some golfers are capable of producing prodigious distances that offer golden birdie opportunities. Rory McIlroy is one of those and his own power tips are well worth reading. Unfortunately, for the rest of us, we have to work on our techniques to make them as efficient as possible – that’s why you might find these power tips for golf useful!
So for my power tips for golf article, I’ve selected the 10 most common power killers and offered some advice on how to fix them. From too much tension at address to an inefficient upper body coil, the following feature highlights the pitfalls that every golfer, no matter what your ability, should try to avoid.
1 Ball too far forward
It is one of the first things we all learn. With a driver in hand the ball needs to be forward in your stance. You will often hear coaches say that power comes from the ground but too often a poor ball position at address prevents this. Henrik Stenson is a great person to copy if you are looking for a powerful athletic address position. The common problem comes however, when players exaggerate this. If the ball is too far forward, your upper body will be out of position at address – your shoulders will be open to your ball to target line. The result is an angle of attack that is too steep and a swing path that encourages the club to cut across the ball at impact. Both will kill your distance. So, simply set the ball, just inside your left heel. This will set your body behind the ball and help you find the ideal, shallow angle of attack. This will help you use your body as the engine of the golf swing. Of course, you should set your body square to your ball-to-target line. However, you can try this alternative set up if you struggle to clear your hips through impact, hitting weak drives to the right. This is a great tip for anyone who consistently struggles to create impressive clubhead speed.
2 Spine angle tilt
There are many things in your golf swing that are hard to control but your address is not one of them and getting the spine angle right is perhaps the most important. If you take one thing from this article understand that to hit the ball along way, your address needs to be spot on – it might not sound very exciting but it is the most important of these power tips for golf. With the ball set just inside your left heel at address your shoulders naturally tilt – your left higher than your right. A great drill designed to help you check is to place an alignment stick at the correct spine angle in the ground. As you address the ball simply try to mirror this angle with your spine. This will help you find the all-important angle of attack that will deliver maximum yardage for minimum effort.
3 Too much tension
It is a natural reaction when you want to hit the ball a long way, to grip the club a fraction tighter than usual. This however, is counter productive. Too much tension restricts both the length and freedom of your swing and it will prevent you from creating lag in the downswing. This is the secret move that transforms an effortless swing into raw distance! You need to make sure that at address your grip is relaxed. A good tip is to either waggle or hover the club – Jason Dufner is a good example of a top player who uses the waggle to great effect. This will help you stay loose and maximise the fluidity of the swing.
4 Lack of resistance
Now that your set up is solid, it’s time to focus on the mechanics of the golf swing. Your body is the engine of your swing and it’s always a good idea to check that it is working as efficiently as possible to produce the resistance you need. One of the biggest power killers is over-turning – this prevents the resistance you need to create the x factor power move and hit powerful shots. At the top of the backswing your upper body should rotate against a solid lower body. If you have let your hips rotate too much, you’ll be destroying the resistance that will add force to your downswing. Your hips should naturally turn by around 45˚ but your upper body should rotate 90˚, if you can. To check, just hold your top of backswing position for a couple of seconds, you should find it hard to hold.
5 Stack and tilt
A few years ago there was a trend for coaches to teach a method called ‘stack and tilt’. But what is a stack and tilt golf swing? This is where you stack your weight onto your left side at the top of the backswing, where it stays through the downswing. I much prefer the traditional method of swinging where your weight coils up over your right side at the top of the backswing. As the club drives through the downswing, your weight shifts onto your left side. For me, this is the natural, sporting way of swinging the club with the correct weight distribution in the golf swing. think about how you throw or kick a ball and the same simple laws apply. So, without swaying, make sure your weight moves right and then left through the downswing.
6 Reverse pivot
This is one of the most common faults that I see. This is caused by players looking to get the ball up and away. As a result their weight moves in the opposite direction to how it should. They move left on the way back and right on the way through – this is known as the reverse pivot. As they stay on the back foot through impact they cut across the ball causing poor contacts and very often, slices. To resolve the issue, hit some drives off the ground. If you fall back, you’ll hit the ball fat. This is a great drill that forces you to keep your sternum over the ball through impact. By coiling up behind the ball you will deliver far more power.
7 Too steep
As we have already mentioned there could be a fault in your set up that is causing your to attack the ball from too steep an angle. Alternatively, you upper body might be moving ahead of the ball during the swing. You need to shallow out the swing and encourage a full release through impact, both of which are important sources of power. Here’s a drill to help you turn and release for more power.
8 Losing your spine angle
One of the most basic mechanics of a good golf swing (and one of the most important power tips for golf) involves setting the right posture at address and maintaining that spine angle through impact. Dipping or lifting is often to blame for inconsistent ball striking. A good way to resolve the issue is to get a friend to video your swing. You’ll soon see if your spine angle changes and you should be able to rectify the problem (just feel as if your chin is sat on a ledge throughout the swing).
9 The wrong driver
If you are using an old driver or perhaps you weren’t custom fitted for your current model, there is a good chance that you will be throwing away important distance. A driver fitting that uses a launch monitor is important as it will help you find a specification that delivers a high initial launch but low spin. This is the combination that every player, regardless of his standard, is looking for. It will help you get the most from your driver so is well worth considering when you think about these power tips for golf.
10 Back hitting
So you are standing on the tee of a reachable par 5. You know that two solid blows will get you there and the adrenaline starts to flow. One of the big problems that arises here is that the takeaway becomes jerky – what I call, ‘back hitting’. Remember that for maximum power the speed needs to build towards impact. Starting smoothly will allow you to make a full turn and create the resistance for maximum clubhead speed. One very common mistake is to cast the club from the top of the backswing. This will cause you to lose energy and speed too early in the swing. In this scenario you need to delay your release until you reach impact to get the most from your drives.