The game of golf would be so much easier if you could start at the top of the swing, and just swing down and through the ball. You’d eliminate so many pre-swing and backswing faults that mess up an otherwise simple move. If you could lift the club into a set position at the top, check and re-check everything, and then go – your swing would be pre-programmed and automatic. Easy as pie. Sadly though, the backswing is a requirement to a golf swing. Sure, you could hit a ball from the top, and could likely get reasonably good at it, but your swing would be half as effective as one with a backswing. The setup and backswing is indeed the source of many swing faults, but it is also, the source of one thing in particular – power. Your backswing, much like any athletic movement, is a requirement for building, storing and releasing power into the ball. The transition of power from the larger muscles progressively to the smaller ones moments before impact is only possible with one specific movement – the transition. This is the point in the golf swing where your backswing stops, and your downswing begins, and also, the point at which everything you’ve setup and completed in your backswing transitions into the powerful movement down to the ball. How powerful? That depends on so many factors before it. In this post we’re going to take a closer look at this move at the top of the backswing, and tell you what’s happening in the swing during this split second action.
A good transition truly separates amateurs and professions. This dynamic move is incredibly hard to perfect, but when its done, can deliver tremendous power with an effortless, rhythmic looking move. Every wonder how professionals can hit the ball 300 yards with a slow fluid swing like Fred Couples? While, amateurs are breaking a sweat… and their back trying to murder the ball, yet merely attaining a fraction of a professionals 110MPH downswings? The answer is a complicated connections of muscles, movements and the transferring of power.
In the split second at the top of your golf swing, a ton of things happen all at once. First and foremost, as the club is continuing to its apex in the backswing, in the meantime the lower body is already begin to unwind towards the target. This move is akin to rubbing your belly and patting your head at the same time. It’s not an easy thing to get at first, but eventually you can begin to grasp it. Your body is moving in opposite direction as your arms. This movement is one of the largest contributors to a smooth, rhythmic swing, and also to contributing to tremendous power. This move is your body’s final BIG stretch before a ton of tension is released.
Next, as the body continues to uncoil, there’s a point at which this movement forces the club to stop swinging back, and begin its move to the ball. For that split second that the club is completely motionless at the top of the swing, an amazing sequence of other events is happening. As the lower body continues to uncoil, the body drops lower, the wrists are fully cocked, and the torso begins moving towards the target. All the power generated from your setup and your backswing is built up in the tension you are creating in your torso, and just now being transferred into your arms and chest. Your arms now begin the downswing.
As everything shifts towards downswing mode, one particular part of your positioning remains very stable – and that is that your wrists are still fully cocked. This is the key to power right here. The sequencing of power transfer from large muscles to small in the transition is where effortless power comes from. The transfer of power from the largest muscles to the smaller ones is essential. As the club begins its movement towards the ball the power you’ve generated is now pushing your arms and torso through the ball, but this power still has two more places to go before impact. Your wrist cock is the stop gap. When this is finally released (and we’ll delve into that in our next post), the power is released and your wrists snap the club down the ball, speeding it up tremendously in a very short period of time. The same is true with every transition in every sport. Pro baseball pitchers achieve 100 MPH fastballs by accelerating the ball in a space of two feet through this same sequence of transferring power from large muscles to small ones. This is the secret to power, and this is the major separator between professionals and amateurs. If you can get this move right, you’ll be well on your way to hitting 300 yard drives, without breaking a sweat.
How to get there? Practice the movements, and watch professionals in slow motion to better understand the sequencing of events. You can actually see how the movements are transferring power into the downswing. Check it out!