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 By Christopher Warner
Master Teaching Professional

Power is one of the most highly used words in golf. It’s also one of the most misunderstood words, as well. In general, people tend to think of power as brute strength, the ability to apply a greater force to an object in an attempt to move it faster or further. In golf, however, power is referred to as a form of technique.

If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, look at some of the longest hitters on Tour. They’re not particularly muscular. They have mastered the ability to combine their body movements in a way that all work together to combine their force. In essence, the movements are synchronized. With that, one is able to apply the forces of nature referred to as leverage, which will either work against you or with you. The ideal thing is to use them to your advantage. Any time there is a hinge or turn in a moving object, there is a lever involved. In a golf swing, there are several levers involved. I’m sure at this time that you’re probably wondering what I’m talking about. Well, I’ll explain.

We’ll pretend that the end of my fingertips is the head of the club. The ultimate goal is to achieve a high rate of speed. After all, that’s how we get greater distance, right? We’ll start with the first lever, the shoulder. If I move my arm up and down in a particular motion, I will achieve a certain speed at the end of the object. If I do the same thing with the elbow only, it will give the same general results. If I combine the two levers together, notice how much faster the finger tips are moving. Now if we add the wrists as a third lever, we add additional speed. The combining of these levers is referred to as compounded levers.

In the golf swing, however, there are additional levers involved. If you’ve ever been to a carnival or county fair – someplace that has rides – you probably recall some of the rides that have several turning points simultaneously. It’s a ride that will give you a feeling of a slingshot. This is where the hips come in. We like to think of the hips as an accumulator as well as an accelerator. It takes a moving object and multiplies its speed in the same direction. Now you’ve really got a great amount of movement. This all works to your advantage as long as the levers are aligned in the same direction. This is where the swing plane comes into play and why it’s so important.

If you were going to grab a hammer and drive a nail into a board, you would get your best results if the arm, wrist, and the hammer are all in alignment. If you turn your wrist in one direction or the other, you will significantly reduce your power and leverage. Even if you swing the hammer at the same rate of speed, the results will be much less effective.

These are simple movements to achieve, and they are crucial to getting the desired results. It’s not something that you need to bog yourself down with. It’s just important that you understand their significance and how they come into play.

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