Today we're going to talk about three distance killers off the tee that you may or may not heard of. Two of them are going to be interesting for you for sure because they're unique and not a lot of people talk about them or understand them.
I'm going to talk about how you're doing things in your golf swing that are going to cost you a ton of distance with your driver and how we're going to correct those things to get you more power and more distance than you ever thought possible in your golf swing.
If you're not carrying the ball at least 250 yards in the air, listen up! Because I'm going to show you exactly what we need to do to start getting more distance off the tee with the driver.
Distance Killer #1 - It's NOT Your Flexibility
The first one that's really, really common is one that's extremely overlooked, and it actually leads to people believing they have limited flexibility in their swings. It's having poor posture at setup limits your rotational mobility. If you're going to the top of your backswing and you can't make a full shoulder turn, which so many golfers out there can't ... Or they can, but they don't ... it's because you're setting yourself up in a way that you're making it literally virtually impossible for you to make a full turn or you're just not prioritizing turn.
What I want to talk about today is the poor posture, because each vertebrae only has about a degree to a degree and a half of rotational mobility. What that means is, if you're going to make a full shoulder turn to get a full 45 degrees of separation between your upper half and your lower half, you need to get every single vertebrae working together correctly.
If you're hunched forward at address, like so many golfers are, they round their upper spine and they let their shoulders and arms drop forward.
This is called protraction.
As you let your shoulder blades roll forward and your upper thoracic spine roll forward as well, what you're doing is you're essentially locking the facet joints of your spine in place and you can't get that degree, degree and a half of rotational mobility from each vertebrae that you need.
We need every single vertebrae to move freely in the backswing in order to make a full turn, because a full turn is not only critical for power, of course, but it helps set the swing plane.
So many golfers, if they don't make a full shoulder turn, they tend to swing right over the top right away because the arms don't get deep enough in the backswing and if they do get deep enough, they're the wrong way. You're just flinging your arms across your chest. Of course, we want to keep our arms more in front of our body during the backswing.
In order to do that, we need to rotate our shoulders, or rotate our chest, a full 90 degrees away from the target to help move our hands into what I call the depth dimension of the golf swing. You don't swing your arms back into that depth dimension in the backswing. You want them to get moved by your body rotation. But if you have poor posture at your setup, it's never going to happen.
Let me assure of you of one thing: EVERYONE Can Make a Full Shoulder Turn
So I want you to experience this for yourself. It's going to be a really simple, eyeopening drill for you while you're sitting there listening right now, whether you're listening in the car or listening in your office. All I'm going to do is take your shoulders and your upper back and your chin. Tuck your chin down your chest and just roll forward.
Now, put your arms across your chest where you're in this rolled forward, hunched position like you see so many golfers on the driving range. Now, try and turn back and forth. You'll notice it's pretty constricted here. It's hard making a very big turn at all. Maybe you can only turn 25 degrees or so.
Now, stand up out of that and imagine I attached a string to the top of your head and I pulled it straight up so you're standing nice and tall, almost military posture, but relaxed. Shoulders are back, so now we're retracting those shoulder blades. So our chest is out and our arms across our chest, and now do the same drill.
Rotate back and forth and tell me what you feel. If you want to make a full shoulder turn, you must set up with your joints in neutral alignment.
As soon as you roll your spine forward and let your shoulders protract, all of a sudden you're limiting half your rotational ability and it's going to be impossible for you to make a full shoulder turn, which is going to cost you a tremendous amount of power in your golf swing.
So if you want more distance off the tee, you've got to make sure you're set up correctly. Of course, we've got tons of great videos on the golf setup. I'm going to reference one right here. If you click the link, you'll be able to access the video that's going to show you exactly how to set up correctly and make a full shoulder turn. That's the first big distance killer that a lot of people don't think about.
Check out this PREMIUM golf instruction video below on us and you'll learn how to setup to the golf ball perfectly just like a tour pro.
#2 Distance Killer - How to Stop Casting the Golf Club
Now, distance killer number two, that a lot of people do think about but don't understand fully is casting the club. Now, most golfers understand they need to have lag in their golf swing. But they don't totally know why.
Well, lag makes up about two thirds of your overall club head speed. That's right. Just from the release of your wrist angle in the golf swing, that's going to make up about 66% of your overall club head speed. So lag is critical.
You can imagine giving up two thirds of your swing speed. It's a terrible thing, and that's why so many amateurs can't swing the golf club over 100 miles an hour and everybody gets stuck at that 90, 92 mile an hour club head speed, because they're casting the club. And you simply can't make up for it.
You can't rotate your chest fast enough, you can't throw your arm fast enough. You can't make up for leverage. Physics is always going to win, so you want to put Newton back in the driver seat of your golf swing.
To do that, I want you to remember this mantra. It's kind of your job description. I call it the rotary swing thesis statement, and that is you have one job in the swing to do.
That is to create, maintain, and release lag.
Now, think about that. If two thirds of the vast majority of your club head speed's coming from just this lag angle, you can understand how critical your job description is. So the primary thing that you have to focus on when you're working on your golf swing is this creating, maintaining, and releasing lag.
The rest of the stuff is relatively less important. It's just kind of details, and making it easier for you to create lag to maintain it and release it.
The first key in creating lag, it starts with not setting your wrist too early in the backswing. Some instructors actually advocate this to tell you to set your wrist right away. I want you to think about this for a second. If you set your wrist right away during the backswing, what are you doing to the muscles in your forearms?
Well, you're creating tension, of course, because that's what's moving the golf club.
Now, tension, as you know, is a swing killer. No matter what swing philosophy you subscribe to, tension is never part of that theory. So if you set your wrist really early in the golf swing, the tendency is to create a lot of tension in your forearms. Now, what does your body want to do with tension?
Well, it should be pretty obvious. It wants to release it, right?
So all you're doing is, when you're setting your wrist early and creating a lot of tension early in your swing, is making it where it's going to be predominant that it wants to throw it away as soon as you can.
Tension is a horrible thing for creating lag, so if you set your wrist fully right away, during the golf swing takeaway or during the backswing, where else do your wrists have to go? They don't have anywhere to go but out by casting the club.
The last thing you want to do is ever to set your wrist fully. You'll notice most golfers on the PGA, who are the vast majority, probably 98% of them, set their wrist gradually throughout the entire backswing. The reason is, we want to be able to have some place for them to go during the golf swing transition.
What I mean by that is, if you go to the top of your swing and your wrists are fully set, they have nowhere to go but out. But if your wrists aren't fully set by the time you get to the top of the backswing, they can down cock. This downcocking move is what, not only helps you create more lag at the right time in the swing, but it helps you maintain it late into the downswing.
That's really important because we don't need a ton of lag during the takeaway. It doesn't do is any good at all.
The only time lag really matters is halfway down the downswing. If we've still got that leverage angle to release in the downswing, then we're in good shape. Doesn't do you any good at the very top of your swing, doesn't do you any good during the takeaway, doesn't do you any good during halfway back.
It only matters halfway down because all this lag angle is is potential energy and the only time we need that energy is during the later half of the downswing. So don't set your wrist early because it's creating tension and it doesn't give your wrists anywhere else to go to set that club.
Another key that you want to focus on is keeping your wrists soft and supple, at the top especially. Again, we're doing the opposite of creating tension. We're wanting to keep the wrist relatively relaxed. They're responding to the weight of the club, making them want to set. It's a natural motion.
You don't need to try and manipulate it. If your wrists are soft and supple at the top and you shift your weight back to the left, what do you think's going to happen?
Well, I've got a little secret for you. Weight shift is what helps you really create and maintain more lag at the right time in he swing. See, as the club is going back during the backswing to the top of the swing, it's starting to move toward the target. As you begin to shift your weight back to the left and you begin to unwind your hips, what does that do to the club?
Well, it starts pulling it down because obviously your arms and hands are attached, so as your pelvis moves to the target, moves to the left and begins to unwind from that closed hip position at the top, that pulls your hands down.
Now, the club still has momentum traveling back toward the target, and now your hands are going away from the target because they're being pulled down by your hip, turn, and shift. That movement, your club's going in one direction and the wrists are going in the other, causes the wrists to set even more. That's how you create a natural downcock.
You never, ever try and manipulate it to create this lagging while coming down. It happens totally naturally as a byproduct of shifting your weight and unwinding your hips. So, with the rotary swing that's one of our top priorities. In fact, that's the first thing we teach you at Rotary Swing University during our RST five-step process, is walking you through how to shift your weight correctly because that creates and maintains lag. Is critical. It's two thirds of your speed.
Now, I'm going to give you another little secret, and I want you to practice this when you're at home and you have a golf club. I want you to go to the top of your swing. Keep your wrist nice and soft and supple. Don't fully set them at the top. I want you to shift your weight to the left, but before you do that I want you to take your right hand completely off the golf club.
That's right. You don't need it there!
You'll be shocked, but I want you to video yourself, or do it in front of a mirror so you can see this. Don't rely on your feel.
Feel and real aren't the same.
Video cameras and mirrors never lie, so with Rotary Swing University you're always practicing with a mirror or video camera so you can see what's really happening in your swing. We never just rely on feel. That's completely the worst way to practice. That's how you chase your tail around all over the place.
Go to the top of your swing, take your right hand off, shift your weight, and begin to turn your hips. If your wrist is soft and supple, watch what happens. Your hand is going to get pulled down to waist high at least, and you're going to have more lag than you ever thought possible. All you got to do is keep that wrist soft.
Now, if you find that you're still not having the lag that you want, you should have more lag than Sergio Garcia coming halfway down without the right hand on there. Take your left thumb off the club as well, because it's also in a position to push against the shaft in the same way that the right hand can.
So when you're practicing, if you just focus on holding on to the golf club with the last three fingers of your left hand and shift your weight and turn your hips, watch what happens. Watch the magic unfold because you're going to have more lag than you ever thought possible.
What you've just learned is that 9 times out of 10 casting is caused by trying to accelerate the golf club too quickly from the top with your dominant hand.
For most of us, that's being right handed. That's what makes golf so challenging, because what we want to do is go to the top of our swing and use that hand that we have a lot of coordination with and throw the club from the top as hard as we can, and all that does is cause you to cast it.
So, instead, what you do during that transition phase is shift your weight and turn your hips while keeping your wrist soft, and not having the club fully set yet allows the club to down cock. It has somewhere to go, so it increases the lag angle.
That's our first step, creating lag, and then it helps us maintain it because we're not doing anything with our arms and hands at all at this point. We're keeping our arms and hands in reserve until we get halfway down.
There's a video on the site called The Dump Truck and the Drag Racer. That's how I think about the golf swing when I'm trying to help my students understand how to build a proper golf transition, because the dump truck is going to do all the heavy lifting.
The dump truck's not going to go very fast, but it has a tremendous amount of torque and power, but it just can't go very fast. It's designed for moving big things really slowly.
The drag racer, however, can go really, really fast but it doesn't have very much gas. In fact, the gas tank's only long enough for it to get down to the end of the quarter mile, and then it's done. It's spent all its energy.
Most golfers do it backwards. They fire the drag racer, which is your arms and hands, first and the dump truck, which is your hips and core, never do anything. They just kind of sit there and respond to what the arms and hands are doing. By the time you get to the ball, you're already out of gas. The finish line was way back there, halfway down.
You threw all the lag away early, and so now you have nothing left to hit the golf ball with. You have no leverage left in your swing.
So, if you think the dump truck, or you can think of it as a tow truck, because a tow truck's got to move the drag racer to the track so the drag racer can do what it's designed to do.
That's how you should think about your swing. The first thing we got to do is we got to get that drag racer to the track.
We're going to use a big, heavy towing diesel truck to get that drag racer to the track, and then we're going to take the drag racer out of the trailer, fuel it up, and then it can fire. That is how you sequence the swing, and that is how you meet your job description of creating, maintaining, and releasing lag.
#3 Swing Killer - Ball Position
Now, the last one I want to talk about that kills distance for so many golfers is ball position. With the driver, it's a specialty club, especially these days.
The driver is designed to be hit with on a slightly ascending blow, so the club is starting to work up back toward the ball, what we call a positive angle of attack, and then the ball needs to be hit slightly higher on the face to help reduce spin. This is how you maximize your distance with the driver. So creating a positive angle of attack gives us a higher launch angle.
Hitting the ball higher on the face also gives us a higher launch angle because there's more loft up there because of the club face roll and bulge there. I talk about that in the Bomb Your Driver series. But what you're doing is you're launching the ball as high as you can with as low a spin as you can.
Now, it's not hard to hit the ball high if you put a lot of spin on it because the ball's going to climb up through the air and that's going to cost you a ton of distance. What you want to do is launch the ball very high with relatively very, very low spin and that is how you get the maximum distance off the tee. Again, this is stuff that's all covered in the Bomb Your Driver series.
Now, one of the most critical pieces is obviously to accomplish this, you have to move the ball up in your stance. Now, as you move the ball up in your stance, I want you to think about looking at your golf swing from up above.
Imagine you're up on a ladder and you're looking straight down on your golf swing. When the driver approaches the ball, it's approaching the ball on an arc, ideally an inside arc, unless you're swinging way over the top.
It's an outside in, but we're going to assume that we fix that stuff and we're swinging from the inside. Once it strikes the ball, then it begins to immediately move back to the inside in front.
Now, because you're moving the ball up in your stance of where it would normally be, that means that that club head is now beginning to travel back to the inside of the path in relationship to the target line where it was before.
What that means is you need to move the ball, not only up in your stance, but slightly to the inside to avoid hitting it off the toe, because hitting it off the toe is just going to create a lot of hook spin and cost you a ton of ball speed.
Hitting the ball in the center of the face is one of the most important and most critical things that you can do in the golf swing, and if you have the ball in the wrong spot and you have the ball too far back in your stance, you're going to hit down on it, and you have the ball too far back in your stance, you're going to have a tendency to hit it too far close to the heel. As you start moving the ball up to correct your angle of attack, it needs to come inside to avoid hitting it off the toe now.
Putting It All Together
So, you put these three things together. We've got better posture at setup. We can now make a full shoulder turn, critical for creating a proper swing plane and path, and it's critical for setting the club at the top of the swing in the right position and loading up these muscles in our core and trunk.
We've got to make a full shoulder turn, and I guarantee you, everybody out there can make a full shoulder turn. It has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with your flexibility. You're more than flexible enough to make a full shoulder turn. If you're not, I want you to take a look at some of my videos I talk about on how to make a full shoulder turn.
Second thing, your job description. Create, maintain, and release lag. Nothing else matters outside of this. If your number one thing that you're focusing on when you work on your golf swing revolves around those three things, you're on the right track.
If you're worrying about a bunch of other stuff and you're losing lag still, you're wasting your time because nothing is more important than the leverage that you have in your wrist angle.
Finally, ball position, having the ball in the right spot, is not only going to help you hit the ball at a positive angle of attack, higher on the face. You got to tee it up high enough to get the ball higher on the face to reduce the spin rate, but also slightly to the inside of where you would normally place it so you can hit it in the center of the face.
You put these three things in action, and you're going to hit the ball further than you ever thought possible!