In this new Compleat Golfer series, PGA professional GRANT HEPBURN demonstrates some of the key concepts in generating more power in your golf swing.
You have probably heard about better players referencing hitting against a firm left side (for right-handers) to generate extra power and improve their stability.
In this month’s instruction tip, I’ll cover why it is important for all players to firm up their left leg during the downswing, and how it will help you improve your distance and ball striking.
Getting it right
In this sequence, you can see how, from the top of a good backswing, my weight shifts back to my left side through the deliberate use of my legs, as I push towards the target during the downswing.
As I approach impact, note how my left leg firms up (straightens). By doing this, it gives me a solid axis around which I can create speed and force. It also promotes a full weight transfer, so that I can uncoil my upper body and swing hard at the ball.
The feeling you are looking for is hitting into a solid, straight left side that supports the full body weight as you shift aggressively on to it.
The other thing the braced left leg does is help clear my left hip up and out of the way. When this happens, I am able to create more centrifugal force because the hip whips open as the leg straightens and it creates a clear path for my arms and club to swing through unobstructed.
This is how the bracing of the left leg can improve speed and power.
Getting it wrong
A common mistake many amateurs make in the downswing is for the left leg to remain bent and flexed. The problem is that, as this continues into impact, both legs tend to sag and the player doesn’t have a firm, balanced brace around which they can deliver the power and speed they need.
Another problem that occurs here is the hips remain in a more closed position, which reduces your ability to add centrifugal force and speed.
What’s more, your hips can’t clear out of the way to allow for the arms and clubhead, and sling themselves freely through the ball. It’s a nasty power leak that can be easily fixed with some practice and, perhaps, a trip to your nearest PGA professional.
– Hepburn has been a regular face in Compleat Golfer for more than a decade. His CV includes time coaching on the European and PGA Tours, and an impressive list of top amateurs and pros. He is the CEO of Golf RSA and the South African Golf Development Board. Follow him on Twitter @granthepburn.
– This article first appeared in the December 2021 issue of Compleat Golfer magazine. Subscribe here!