The top players on the LPGA hit impressively long drives with seemingly effortless swings because they have learned to tap into a variety of power sources to create clubhead speed. One power source many players engage comes from torso rotation through impact, part of a full-body release led by their hips and lower bodies. With a few drills, you can learn to rotate your torso through the hitting area to add punch to all of your shots.
Before you start performing the drills, you should understand what position you're trying to achieve at impact with them. After studying the best players in the world, swing coach Jim McLean found the top players open their hips over 40 degrees to the target line at impact. The hip rotation causes the shoulders to rotate around your spine. The shoulders open about 20 degrees to the target line when the club hits the ball, according to McLean. It should feel llike your hip rotation causes the torso to unwind around your spine, which retains the same tilt you created in your address position.
Preset Impact Drill
To develop a feel for rotating through impact, you can set up in a simulated impact position. Address the ball like you normally would, then shift your weight onto your front foot and push your hands forward in front of the ball. Turn your hips and move your right shoulder slightly toward your chin. That’s what your body should feel like at impact. Turn back until the club is waist high, then rotate through to waist high. It should feel like your body rotates through the impact position you started with.
Many instructors use this drill to work on rotation back and through. Take an address posture. Hold a golf club across the front of your shoulders and work on rotating back and through. In the downswing and follow-through, use your hips and lower-body rotation to rotate your upper body. If your upper-body rotation gets ahead of your lower-body rotation, you're likely to pull the ball. When you swing a club, try to reproduce the same feeling of torso rotation through impact.
Ball Toss Drill
Ben Hogan used the image of throwing a ball to describe how the torso rotates in the golf swing. It also makes a great rotation drill. Assume a golf setup position, holding a ball the size of basketball or soccer ball instead of a club. Your goal is throw the ball down the target line. Pivot back with your arms and torso. Then, shift your weight forward, turn your hips and throw the ball forward, rotating your torso toward the target as you make the throw.
- The X-Factor; Jim McLean
- Golftipsmag.com: Five Keys Simplify, Your Golf Game Now
- The Plane Truth for Golfers; Jim Hardy
- Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf; Ben Hogan
David Raudenbush has more than 20 years of experience as a literacy teacher, staff developer and literacy coach. He has written for newspapers, magazines and online publications, and served as the editor of "Golfstyles New Jersey Magazine." Raudenbush holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a master's degree in education.