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IN GOLF SWING, POWER SHOULD COME FROM LOWER BODY

QUESTION (continued): Last week I described a drill showing how to turn properly in the golf swing and discussed the takeaway and backswing. The thought you could use for that part of the swing could be "turn and cock the club to the top." The next most critical part of the swing occurs as we begin the downswing. The problem occurs because we all want to add power with the arms, hands and shoulders. However, in a good swing, the power comes from the lower body and is transmitted through the arms to the wrists for final release into the ball.

The first move of the downswing is complex because you are finally in a position to hit the ball, but the upper body cannot do the hitting. In fact, the upper body must be passive during this initial phase. The conscious thought is to turn the lower body left, toward the target, while maintaining center. When you do this properly, the shoulders and arms lag behind the turning hips, increasing the springlike coil created by the backswing, and the hands and club will drop straight down into the hitting area ready to unleash the power developed by the stretched muscles of the upper body. Do not pull down with arms or hands; simply allow the turn (the action of the feet, knees and hips) to move a relaxed upper body so that the hands and club come back to the ball on about the same path they took on the backswing.You are in the "hitting zone" when the club reaches about waist high on the downswing. When you start down correctly, you enter the hitting area with the hips turned slightly open, the right arms near your right hip, your hands lagging behind the right side of your body, and the weight shifting to the left. The momentum you develop on the downswing accelerates the arms, hands and clubhead toward the ball, and the power of the turn is then automatically transmitted to the hands to create power and clubhead speed upon impact.

The unimpeded movement of the clubhead as it accelerates through the ball is called "clubhead release" and is the process where the the clubhead lags behind the hands during the downswing, catches up to them at impact, and then accelerates freely past them in the follow-through. The tendency during this phase is to try to hit the ball with your hands and arms. However, any effort to accelerate the club using the hands and arms will actually slow clubhead speed.

After impact, the power of the turn and the momentum of the clubhead will pull your arms out toward the target, and your right arm will cross over your left. The right knee is moving toward the left knee, and the weight is shifting to the outer part of the left foot.

The finish is simply the relaxed unwinding of the turn after the energy of the wrists and the turn have been released through the ball. The hips continue their turn until they face the target, the weight will be on the outside and back of the left foot, and the left leg will be straight but not locked to receive the weight of the body. The left arm will be soft and bent, and the right arm will be fairly straight with the hands over the left shoulder. You should be in balance and able to hold this position until the ball completes its flight and stops (from "Golf: Your Turn for Success.")

Well, there you have it. Let me suggest one more thing - get a lesson or two from your local golf professional. He or she can help you put all of these movements into one easy-to-use package and you will enjoy the great game even more. Good luck.