The role of the body in the golf swing is a critical component in producing distance. It provides the base around which the arms and hands work as well as producing power through coiling and recoiling during the swing.
From an athletic address position, the upper body coils into the backswing while the hips react to this motion and the legs stay relatively still. At the completion of the backswing, the shoulders are approximately 90 degrees to the target line and the hips are about 45 degrees. There has also been a definite weight shift to the rear foot.
Many of the people I see who are struggling for distance never achieve this amount of coil and loading at the top of the backswing, robbing themselves of potential club head speed and ultimately distance. A great drill to feel the correct position at the top of the backswing is a coiling drill with a golf club on your shoulders.
Take your normal address position, cross your arms and place a club across your shoulders. From this position allow the upper body to coil into your back swing, with the lower body and legs only moving as a reaction to the upper body coil. Keep turning until the club on your shoulders is at 90 degrees, and your hips about 45 degrees to the target line. There should be a feeling of loading into the rear thigh and hip with your weight slightly favoring the rear leg. This is the powerful, loaded position you are looking for at the top of the back swing that will produce the added distance you are looking to achieve.
Try this drill at home, preferably in front of a mirror, before taking it to the range and ultimately the course. With a little practice you might be surprised how much longer you can hit the ball.
Derek Hooper is the Director of Instruction at Lake of Isles Golf Academy • 1.888.475.3746 • firstname.lastname@example.org