Every student I meet wants more power so they can hit the ball longer. Power is great as long as you keep it in the fairway. I would rather be 15 yards shorter and in the fairway than 15 yards longer and be in the rough or the woods.

There are several elements of power that we need to examine to ensure that we are optimizing student distance. Clearly, equipment is an easy fix to make sure that the driver matches the player, with special emphasis on shaft flex. In truth, there are 21 items that we can customize on the driver (for more information, read Tom Wishon’s book Finding the Perfect Driver). The player setup consisting of grip, alignment, posture and ball position (GAPP) is essential, and lays the foundation for performance. For example, we need a forward ball position teed to a proper height to allow a positive angle of attack to reduce ball backspin. After looking at equipment and setup, we need to draw our attention to the swing and swing plane to maximize the kinematic sequence. If the sequence is off, we are going to leak power. We can measure the sequence using K-Vest, which is a great tool! Keep in mind that driver face angle at the moment of impact contributes 85% of the ball flight.

Power has two basic elements, strength and speed. Just look at the swing speeds of the long drive champions! The biggest problem you are going to encounter with players is range-of-motion limitations, in particular, pelvic hip rotation. There are 16 ranges that should be evaluated by teaching professionals, and an evaluation takes about an hour. You can prescribe exercises to correct the limitations, or you can teach around the limitation. Building a list of two drills per limitation will help you prescribe the right medicine to help player hit the ball longer.

By Bert Jones, USGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional
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