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What's the Meaning of Power in Golf?


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What's the meaning of Power in Golf? When I use the words "power," "strength," "energy," or even "moving force," some golf players take no notice whatsoever - they do not try to understand or analyze what I mean.

Some golfers of course do try to understand, and they soon realize the difference between the expressions I have so carefully selected to indicate power and those which they had previously confused with them, such as "speed," "quickness," "velocity," and even "hurry." The distinction is highly desirable, because, if they aim at speed, quickness, velocity, and hurry, they will kill any chance they may have of swinging with strength.

It is the strength of the swing of a very good player that intrigues us. He seems to swing slowly, even lazily, yet drives prodigious distances, and we marvel at it and wonder why we cannot do the same.

For me there is nothing to wonder at; a player swings strongly from his legs upwards while we swing quickly from the club head downwards by means of our shoulders, arms, and hands.

He tries to produce power in his swing; we try to impart speed to the club head.

And please remember before we go on to consider its application that power at golf is centered around the hips.

Please note centered around; the power is not produced by the hips (or very little of it is) but by the feet, calves, and thighs - but it is gathered up and given the correct centrifugal golf direction by the hip brace and pivot. And we will fail to drive the ball far and straight as soon as we fail to take control of the club from the top of the swing with the feet, calves, and thighs.

Now each shot in golf is a separate situation, and when we contemplate a situation-preparatory to playing the shot-we have to sense through our carefully built-up sense of feel how much power we need. How much power, not how much swing.

A half-shot with a mashie does not mean a half-swing with that club but a swing with half power.

We can play - or we should be able to play-a three-quarter shot with a full swing or a full shot with a three-quarter swing.

I realize that this conception may be difficult to grasp, but it lies at the root of the superiority of the really great golfer.

I say the really great golfer because there are many well-known and successful players who can play nothing but full shots; a controlled shot is right outside their golfing range. Yet the great golfer plays every shot controlled, that is he plays every shot with what he feels to be the correct degree of power not at full pressure. This control is the secret of his greatness.

I will talk about golf and control in the next part of this series on power in golf....

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