Lesson Six - Power

To deal with power as it works and feels in the golf swing is to think a lot about the top of the back swing. Freeze your back swing with the driver at the top and hold it there. The first consideration is how balanced you are. Find the center of gravity hopefully inside to middle of the right foot, even heel to toe. Now check your knee flex, hopefully there is buoyancy to the knees but always are the knees to stay level. The body weight is very much resting on the knees, carried by the strong bracing through the thighs. The left half of the back should be stretched pretty tight, and the back of the left arm should feel good and solid. The fingertips of the right hand are soft and they are perfectly sensitive to the shaft and club head. Unless there is such balance and muscle sensitivity and control the 'transition' is not in place and the subsequent downswing will be without full power.

In the golf swing, there is a slight droop of the shaft and club head just as the back swing is completing itself. The player needs their entire body muscles well braced but relaxed enough to feel this 'sag'. It is pretty clearly felt in the hands and forearms but how about the back and legs? Without this 'touch' the transition is not really at rest as it needs to be for the forward thrust. The softest sense of gravity starts the downswing. The arms sort of 'hang there' while the ankles, knees, hips, and shoulders proceed to release. When the club-head seems to lag way behind, like it resists swatting the ball, the club-head acceleration on the way down is out of this world. Like Slammin' Sam said, "I blackout somewhere in the downswing every time".

For power, the spine angle needs to be maintained into the transition, the left shoulder should be well tucked under the chin, and the club not laid off the plane. The club is "above" and the player is looking down at the ball and feeling very much 'over' the ball as opposed to looking at it from the side. The perception of the right shoulder path and drive to fire down the target line is maybe the greatest sense of power in the full swing. Good rhythm means that the knees or hips have not overacted and blocked the 'slot'. It also means that the "delayed" arms and club can rotate down on plane, and that now the right shoulder drive on 'down and through' the ball can and does work the shaft as much as possible for accurate timing or release into contact with the ball. 

Practicing full swings with one half to three-quarter power is good work with balance. Rhythm is something that can be learned and practiced, but it is individual and the player must work to find their best sense of pace. Finding the whole body coordination to work as a single unit is the most important mechanical goal for power. Good balance and rhythm mean that the body's muscle tone is able to stay secure and patient 'at the top' in order to allow the transition to conclude. Mental and physical patience at the top of the back swing is what allows the downswing to naturally develop in sequence and the ensuring power is optimal.

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