Most golfers are consumed with getting more distance in their drives. Well, the production of power has many avenues, but one of the main sources of power is the coiling and uncoiling of the body.
Many golfers have too much hand and arm motion in their swing and not enough coiling and uncoiling of their body. When I say "coil" I am talking about a rotation of the upper body around a somewhat stable lower body. In an efficient backswing, the upper body turns much more than the lower body.
The torso turns around 90 degrees on the backswing where the hips turn about one half that much. This will give you the feeling that the upper body is turning around a resisting lower body. When doing this, you will feel like the left shoulder is turning over the inside of the right leg. Some people might call this "getting behind the ball at the top." This will give you the maximum amount of coil possible. In other words, the spring is wound up and ready to release.
None of this can be accomplished if the lower body is not providing some resistance on the backswing.
Some golfers are more flexible than others and they can coil more, but the main thing is that you are making a coil over somewhat stable legs. At the top of the swing, the back should be facing the target with the back leg in a flexed position. Many of us lose our coil and our power by taking the left heel off the ground at the top of the swing. Yes, I know. many great players have taken their left heel off the ground at the top of their swing, but it is better to keep it planted on the ground if you have the flexibility to do so.
Pure power is achieved by a natural "uncoiling" of the body on the downswing. But this can only be achieved if the backswing is correct. Most golfers feel this uncoiling by starting the downswing from the ground up. By this, I mean the first thing to move in the downswing is the lower body, followed by the back, the shoulders, the arms, the hands, and finally, the clubhead. This sequence will be quite natural if you have coiled correctly on the backswing.
The longest drivers of the ball maintain this coil far into the downswing with the upper body staying "coiled up" as long as possible. This have been labeled the "X" Factor as it represents the amount of coil retained in the downswing. This separation of the upper and lower halves of the body is really what creates the distance.
If you can, imagine the golf swing is much like a model airplane. We are winding the propeller of the airplane as tight as we can so it can unwind and create energy on the downswing. The better the coiling and resistance from the lower body on the backswing, the more potential energy you can create on the downswing. The greater the separation from the upper and lower halves on the downswing, the longer your drives will go.
So if you want more power, work on distance through resistance. Feel the coiling and uncoiling of your body, and let your arms and clubhead just follow your body rotation. Soon you will be adding those 10 extra yards.
Dr. Jim Suttie, 2000 National PGA Teacher of the Year, is available for lessons at Suttie Golf at the Club at Twin Eagles North Naples and Cog Hill Golf Club, Lemont, Ill. For lessons and program information call 800-765-3838 or Jmsuttie@aol.com.