Stop Trying to Muscle the Club Through the Golf Ball

I think every golfer has had the experience of trying to hit the ball a little extra and try to muscle the ball further down the fairway. The result, even when the ball stays relatively straight is that the ball lands shorter than his normal shot. Then when we are trying to just swing easy with “soft” hands, we hit the ball much further than normal.

Most people, especially most of us who grab our clubs and head to the course, don’t really think how we can apply physics to our golf swing. About half way through the explanation and our eyes glaze over. However if we can apply some simple physics concepts we may be able hit the ball farther with much less effort. Top-level golfers apply these concepts, of course, but they do it naturally through years of trial and error with their swing. Most of us don’t want to devote the time for trial and error.

Around 1200AD a siege device called the Trebuchet was invented. It could hurl rocks and other objects much farther than anything before its time, plus it was a relatively smaller weapon. I used to watch them demonstrated at the Tower of London, and all of their power came from centrifugal force. And because the power came from this force it was quite easy to launch these projectiles accurately.

It might take some imagination, but the Trebuchet is very similar to what the golf swing should ideal look like, only upside down. The motion of the Trebuchet is really the same as the golf swing that uses no wrist torque at all. We want a centrifugally powered swing where the only job of the hands, wrists and forearms is to make sure the club head becomes square for a clean strike on the ball.

So where does this centrifugal power source come from? Obviously for the most force we want it to come from our most powerful muscle groups, and that is our core. If we can get our hips to make the right movement timed with the hands bringing the club into hitting position with maximum force, club head speed goes up and distance increases. This happens when, simply put, the hip action starts the swing, the hands wait for an instant at the top while the core builds up centrifugal force, and the hips end at 90 degrees to the target.

It is said that golfers are divided into two groups in relation to their swing: the hitters and the golfers who just swing. The latter depend purely on centrifugal force for club speed, and don’t depend on the wrists and hands. Hitters depend on the wrists and hands for power. There are no pure golfers who just swing or hitters, but nearly all golfers should try to get more to swinging the golf club.

Posted in Gym

Michael Ortiz

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