"I may be known for hitting my 3-wood, but I do take out my big stick when I feel like I can really attack a hole and go for broke" - Henrik Stenson
I would like to think I can keep up with the longest guys on Tour, yet lots of my power comes from things you can do, too – like being fitted for the right driver, creating a solid set-up and coiling up in my backswing so I can generate lag in the downswing.
Too many amateurs struggle to complete a full shoulder rotation and get the arms working independently from the upper body, throwing everything out of sync. It may sound simple, but all it takes is a few tweaks to your set-up and takeaway to break out your power potential
1. NAIL THE BASICS
Getting the basic set-up right is fundamental to giving yourself the best chance of hitting good shots. I play with a lot of amateurs who seem tense, which can really restrict how far they swing. I probably grip the club tighter than most, but I make sure I soften my elbows and let my hands hang naturally underneath my chest. If you feel like you're reaching for the ball you're probably standing too far from it, which can cause separation between the body and arms and throw the swing off-plane.
Advice: Keep your distance
Standing too far away can flatten the swing plane too much and promote an out-to-in path. Whereas, standing too close produces a more upright swing plane and promotes an in-to-out path.
2. TURN FROM YOUR SHOULDERS
The worst thing you can do in the takeaway is to let your hands manipulate the face by rolling your wrists. If you do that and either close or open the face, somewhere down the line you are going to have to compensate to get the swing back on plane. Instead, try to get the arms, hands and upper body working together by rotating your shoulders.
Advice: Feel poised and ready...
The worst thing you can do is have the weight on your heels. You need to be dynamic and ready to go – just like a goalkeeper – so bend from the hips and stand a little wider than shoulder-width apart to allow for a bigger rotation.
3. UNLEASH THE SWING
During the backswing I try to feel like I'm coiling up into my right side and 'pushing' pressure into my legs so I can maximise the power. I liken it to a spring. You need to load it up to be able to unload it. And the more stable you are as you do this, the better chance you have of doing that
Advice: Plane check
To check you're swinging on plane, stop the backswing when the shaft is pointing parallel to the ground. If you have rotated correctly, the shaft should be parallel to the target line with the toe pointing to the sky.
4. USE WHAT YOU HAVE
The most important thing is to get the maximum out of your range of movement. If you're not getting the club to a 90° angle in the backswing, there is no point trying to force it. Of course, you can do more stretches, or gym work to improve your flexibility. But even if you are at 100%, loaded and ready to go, you need to start down by getting the right shoulder and right hip working down at the same time. If your timing is off, you will really struggle to save the shot.
Advice: Sync arms and body
I see a lot of amateurs getting stuck behind the ball because their body outpaces their arms. To get the arms and body working in sync, get in the gym and practise doing some cable wood chops.
5. UNLOCK HIDDEN POWER
A lot of amateurs don't make use of their bigger muscle groups to transfer energy effectively. You need to use the power in the legs during the downswing and let the natural forces take over for a proper release. Amateurs seem to be reluctant to do that and finish with a hold off position. The clubhead needs to fully accelerate and reach its peak speed at the point of impact.
Advice: Power Overload..
I go pretty hard at it most times with my driver. Some players like to take something off it, but I go all out with a full swing. I don't see the need to chip one down there. If I need to hit it shorter, I have my new Epic 3-wood!