Column: Tips for fixing power leaks

Golfers lose strength on their swing when they don't need to, says Chilliwack Golf Club instructor Jennifer Greggain.

One goal that many of my students share is the quest for more distance.

There are a few issues that I see golfers struggle with that contribute to the most common ‘power leaks’ found in the golf swing.

The swing issue I see often is the lack of weight transfer. Ideally, an efficient full swing will shift weight to the back foot in the backswing, then transfer weight to the target side through the impact and finish position.

Many golfers, however, do not achieve enough weight shift, especially through the target side of the swing.

Golf is an energy transfer sport. Similar to other rotational sports like hockey, baseball and tennis, there must be weight transfer to deliver the most efficient speed and power. Many golfers, however, tend to overuse the upper body in the golf swing, leaving very little or no effort made by the lower body.

To determine if you have enough weight transfer in your golf swing, look to the finish position.

Your belt buckle should be pointed directly at your target, weight balanced totally on your target side, and turned completely onto your back toe. Anyone who watches the professionals on tour can comment on how majestically strong and balanced their finished poses look on a full swing. This allows for peak power to be delivered through the impact position.

The next most common issue relating to distance loss is ‘casting.’ Often referred to as ‘coming over the top,’ this early release of the hands in the downswing decreases efficient speed, and can also contribute to the dreaded slice.

The golfer who releases the hinge early in the downswing again is under utilizing the lower body. The arms must then overwork, causing this inefficiency in the golf swing. If you are loosing power and slicing the golf ball, be sure to start the downswing with your lower body, and retain as much angle in your wrists as possible until impact.

Finally, be sure your golf swing maintains stability through the entire shot.

Many golfers tend to have too much vertical or lateral motion in the golf swing. This illusion of power actually decreases efficient speed and contributes to inconsistent ball striking.

Specifically, players with vertical motion are those who lose posture in the golf swing. Keeping a consistent spine angle in the set up, backswing, and impact position is critical, but easily overlooked. Those with lateral motion will often sway and slide, again creating inconsistencies.

To combat these tendencies, be sure to engage key muscle groups such as the legs and core. Also keep an overall sense of stabilizing the body by turning and rotating around your sternum, rather than moving it laterally or vertically. This may initially feel like a smaller, less powerful golf swing. But maintaining an engaged, stable golf swing is key to more consistent ball striking, and thus more power and distance.

 

Jennifer played professionally on tour for over 10 years, including two seasons on the LPGA. She is the 2015 Pepsi Norhwest Open Champion and 2015 PGA of BC Women’s Champion, and is now the lead instructor of the Sardis Golf Academy.  She can be contacted at 604-798-9805, chilliwackgolfacademy.com, or at Jennifer@chilliwackgolf.com