Leverage in the Golf Swing

Back when I was playing high school and college golf, I was generally a fair bit longer off the tee that the guys I was playing with and against. Years later when the super senior division was created in the world of long drive, I was able to win two American Long Drivers Association grand national championships and qualify for the RE-MAX World Long Drive Championship on five occasions. At 5-11 and 185 pounds I was pretty much always the runt of the litter in all of these competitions. How did I do it?

Well, if you had asked me that in high school or college I would I responded that I had no idea. Years later when I had learned much, much more about the golf swing in general and mine in particular I could have written a book on the subject. But for the purposes of this terrific magazine, I can very easily condense it down to the basic concepts.

One of my instructional mentors many years ago was legendary long driver, Mike Austin who still is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest dive ever hit in a sanctioned golf event at 515-yards. And he did this at the ripe old age of 64!

The power in Austin’s swing came from leverage and not brute force. He often said that the golf swing was far more Ferris Wheel than Merry-go-round. In other words, he went up with the club, down with the club and then up with the club once again.

Think of a punter in football. As he takes a step or two toward the line of scrimmage and is preparing to let go of the ball his upper body is leaning forward slightly. But then the upper body leans back and the kicking leg simultaneously flies up into the ball. There is a direct correlation with golf.

From a golf swing standpoint, in the backswing my lead knee (left knee for right-handers) moves forward and down slightly as does my left shoulder. My right leg straightens which causes the right hip to be higher than the left at the top of the backswing. During the downswing and through swing the process is pretty much reversed. The right knee flexes and the left knee extends throwing the club upwards with great force.

Is there rotation going on the swing as well? Of course. And rotation creates power too. But if you want to amp up your driver distance to the max, add some leverage to the mix.

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