Everyone wants to hit the ball further. Right. Well, it seems logical to swing harder, right? Have you ever had the X Factor Explained to you? Well, 99% of players swing too hard and it only creates more off-line shots because the harder you swing the less accurate your clubface angle is at impact. To hit the ball farther you need to get your shoulders to turn more into the back swing and to un-turn more efficiently on the down swing. First, however, lets discuss what needs to happen on the back swing.
X Factor Explained
Generally speaking, the backswing entails as much shoulder turn as possible while limiting the hip turn. The difference between the shoulder turn and hip turn at the top of the back swing is known as the “x-factor”. The bigger the separation between shoulder turn and hip turn creates more potential power/distance. When the shoulders turn (mobile) and the hips are limited in their turn (stable), a stretch in the upper back and shoulder muscles on the target side of the body is created. Think of what happens when a large rubber band is stretched to the max from a fixed point. When you let go of one end of the rubber band it moves with great speed due to the stretch in the first place. If the rubber band is stretched very little, then very little speed is created, therefore very little power/distance is produced. Therefore, we want to be able to turn our shoulders as much as possible while limiting how far the hips turn on the back swing. This explains why the “x factor” is so important on the back swing. Now that it is understood how our golf body needs to efficiently move on the backswing, we can focus on how our golf body needs to efficiently move on the down swing.
To begin an efficient down swing it is necessary to get the hips to turn before the upper body. Look at the photo above on the right. The hips have nearly turned back to the address position while the upper body has stayed behind. This creates extra “x factor” and produces an efficient leverage system creating more power/distance. It is important to realize which muscle groups are responsible for this efficient movement pattern. When the hips turn first on the down swing the upper ab muscles are stretched similar to the “rubber band” analogy explained earlier. Look at the photo on the left. The green shows the ab muscles that are stretched at the beginning of the down swing. When these ab muscles are stretched in this way there is more potential for power. In other words, the increased muscle power of those stretched abdominal muscles should increase the uncoiling of the upper torso and generate faster upper torso rotational speeds. In the end, more body speed relates to more clubhead speed, therefore more distance. As you can see, it is imperative that we learn how to turn the hips first on the down swing. Many of my students explain to me that “the limited hip turn on the backswing makes it easier for the hips to turn first on the down swing because the hips do not have very far to go anyway.” Exactly, I reply!
So, what do you need to do with your golf body to get all of this to happen? First you need to have mobility enough in the upper and mid back to maximize your shoulder turn on the back swing. You need to have adequate strength in the glutes as well to create stability in the hips on the back swing. Then the down swing requires the proper brain/body connection (muscle memory) necessary to get the hips to turn first assuming there is strength in the ab muscles to increase the rotational speed of the upper body.
The off-season is the best time to get your golf body in shape to be able to move efficiently. It will increase your distance off the tee, reduce fatigue late in your round, and perhaps reduce any chance for nagging injuries. Call Barry at The Ultimate Golf School at 802-324-GOLF (4653) to plan your golf fitness program today.