STRIPE IT FROM THE SAND – Don’t Let Your Swing Bottom Out Too Soon.
May 9, 2017
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Add Distance: Turn & Burn – Ripping It With Your Lower Body

By: Shaun Webb
Photos by: Dom Furore

When you talk about the concept of speed in the golf swing, it’s easy to get confused and frustrated.
Many players’ first instinct–to make their hands and arms go as fast as possible right at the ball–leads
to things that actually make the swing slower. It’s a common sight on the range and the course: The
more effort and brute force players put in, especially with the upper body, the shorter and more off line
their shots seem to go.

Real, usable, repeatable speed doesn’t come from trying to kill the ball with your hands and arms, and it
doesn’t come from creating a lot of “X-factor” in your swing, meaning a big shoulder turn against a restricted
hip turn.

Biomechanical research on the swing tells us that power comes from actively using the muscles in your upper
legs and hips to tilt and rotate your pelvis correctly back and through.

Get it right, and you’ll be able to take advantage of the biggest muscles in your body to initiate a chain reaction
of forces from the ground all the way to the clubhead. That’s what allows tour pros–many of whom are probably
smaller than you–to create “easy” power and make it look so routine.

It’s time to start thinking about swinging the club smarter, not harder.


To get the most benefit from the lower-body movement you’re about to learn, you need to be in the right
position to deliver the club. Take your normal stance with a middle iron, but split your hands so that your
right hand is holding onto the midpoint of the shaft. Make some backswings using your right arm to pull the
club back (above), feeling like the movement is pulling your right hip up and around, which will straighten
your right leg. The split grip will also help you feel the wide route your hands need to take to the top of the
swing and down to the ball again.

Getting your right hip higher than your left sets you up to deliver maximum energy into the ball, not spin out
and wipe across it.


You’ve probably heard about loading to the right on the backswing, but most players try to make that move
with the upper body, which produces a weak, flat hip turn. If you can load by shifting your lower body while your
upper body stays more over the ball, you’ll increase power and make it easier to hit the ball flush. To feel the
right kind of load, take your normal setup, then pull your left foot back until the tip of your shoe is even with your
right heel. With your left heel slightly off the ground, make some backswings and feel the pressure build under
your right foot without shifting your hips away from the target.


Just as a lean away from the target with your upper body on the backswing is bad news, so is a big lower-body
slide toward the target coming down. You want to shift the pressure back to your left foot without sliding too much
and giving up the leverage needed to create a slingshot effect through the ball. A great way to feel this move into
impact is to practice a baseball-style leg kick. On the backswing, let your left leg come in toward your right leg
(below, left). Then replant your left foot before starting the downswing, and feel like you’re pushing upward off the
ground (below, right). That aggressive lower-body thrust is the essence of power in the swing.

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