How to Get More Power in Your Golf Swing | Swing Surgeon - Don Trahan Peak Performance Golf Swing

How to Get More Power in Your Golf Swing

Sat, 07/12/2014 - 08:00 -- Don Trahan

Before I went under the knife, I tried to shoot as many short videos as I could. That's because the questions just keep rolling in from the Surge Nation. Today, I'm going to share a revelation that a student of mine had at one of my golf schools he attended. It had to do with power and the understanding that it does not come from rotating your hips. Instead, your power should come from how fast you swing your arms.

Whenever I talk about this topic, I like to share a story about when DJ was on a practice range while I was with a student. Right before DJ was about to take a swing, my student asked him what he does whenever he wants to hit the ball farther. Without even taking a second to think about it, DJ looked up and said, "I hold my knees more and I swing my arms faster [towards the target]."

I think when a lot of people hear this story, it clicks in their head that a powerful swing doesn't just come from a big rotation of the hips. DJ didn't make the cut this week at the John Deere Classic, but he did average over 300 yards off the tee, which should tell you right there that using a vertical swing does not sacrifice power. 

Just remember that power in the PPGS does not come from hip rotation. It comes from swinging your arms faster towards the target. Try to maintain a quiet body so you can swing your arms faster to the PPGS finish and you'll start being the long guy (or gal) of your foursome.

Keep it vertical, 

The Surge

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Comments

jon.lucenius's picture

Submitted by jon.lucenius on

Surge - thanks for the sharing and the video. Like to relate a story about what happened earlier in the week, as it directly relates to this topic.

I played golf after work, and stopped by the house to get my clubs. When I got to the course, I realized I forgot my GOLF SHOES at the house. I decided I would wear my office DRESS SHOES. These are your typical black Docker dress shoes with a rubber sole. Last year I wore sneakers to play golf, and landed flat on my back a few times, and swore it would never happen again.

With less traction in these shoes, my only thought on the first tee, with a driver, was DON'T FALL DOWN. I kept my weight very evenly distributed, as I could feel the heels of the dress shoes on the surface. My other goal was balance - so I kept my knees quiet and stable as well.

The results were AMAZING. Each and every shot was on line, the ball flight was amazing, and I got crazy distance all evening. I averaged easily 300 yards off the tee (maybe 20 or 30 better than lately) , but what I liked was the slight right-left ball flight with the DRIVER. The whole round my only swing thought was DON'T FALL, and I had to stay in control, on balance and I swing faster to the target. The finishes were over my head, on line, and vertical. Had a bunch of GIRs and a nice 11 holes for the round.

THANK YOU for teaching this awesome golf swing. I felt great afterwards, and now have a real feel for what balance really means, and where our power comes from. The arms/hands are capable of moving much faster than our hips, and more speed under control = more distance and/or power.

Also, I signed up the advanced club fitting with Doc in CT at the end of the July. Looking forward to getting fitted and the right clubs!

Keep it on the line, in balance, and down the middle!
Jon

kjmduke@aol.com's picture

Submitted by kjmduke@aol.com on

That is a great story and the fact that you kept it up through the round shows how well it worked for you. I will work on the thought process you provided. Thanks, Kevin McCarthy

jon.lucenius's picture

Submitted by jon.lucenius on

Thanks for the comment Kevin. Been thinking about my next round - I plan on wearing dress shoes again - maybe ones that are a little less dressy and more shoey (sp?). What struck me is that I had no choice but to ensure I was stable and on balance. Everything else was secondary and it just worked. One day I hope it translates to proper golf shoes, but for now it is dress shoes for me.

Next round is Thursday on my birthday, on a course that my Dad played for years at Ft. Dix NJ. Looking forward to going back and making my own memories.

Cheers,
Jon

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Jon,
Dress shoes leading to 300 yard drives. Awesome. Reading how it forced you to be balanced is interesting and makes sense. Whatever leads to better golf right? Very cool indeed.
Hope you do build some great memories at your Dad's old course. I think of my Dad every time I golf and also occasionally play some of the same courses he and I played together. He got me started in the game and took me to some amazing places and courses. I could never thank him enough.
Have a nice day playing Thursday and make yourself some memories - good ones:) Keep us posted on the shoes. Hey maybe it's a million dollar idea!

Dave Everitt's picture

Submitted by Dave Everitt on

Hi Jon,

Thanks for your excellent blog. It helped me realize that my problem with the driver was directly related to too much forward knee and hip movement during the back swing. Having two bad ankles I wouldn't want to play without my ankle braces and golf shoes so I looked for some other way to stabilize the lower body.

Paige Mackenzie on the golf channel this morning was showing her routine for setting up with a driver. She said that a key for her was keeping the left hip in place while tilting the spine back for a driver. This setup key resulted in very solid and long drives on the driving range and the golf course today.

I think that the reason it worked so well was my tendency while doing the actual swing was to try to keep the left hip where it was at address. If I do this, the left knee and the hip turn much less and I have much more of a coiling of the upper body against a stable base and swinging the arms freely as Surge teaches.

This is the best way that I've found yet to stabilize my front knee during the back swing and keep from overturning the hips. If anyone is having trouble keeping the front knee under control, stabilizing the left hip a bit, might be worth a try.

Dave Everitt's picture

Submitted by Dave Everitt on

Deleted

cfuhrman4270b's picture

Submitted by cfuhrman4270b on

August Golf Digest has a great article on snap speed. The analogy with PPGS is very close. Yes, there are also meaningful differences but "Physics" is/are "Physics". Great stuff.

cfuhrman4270b's picture

Submitted by cfuhrman4270b on

Thank you for the links. The similarities to PPGS are more important than the differences. Would be great to see a discussion with Surge and Bender talking about the value of wrists in the swing. The PPGS emphasis on swinging through rather than down is likely better for the body. Not sure whether the result from a
more divot oriented approach is better for the golf game.

cfuhrman4270b's picture

Submitted by cfuhrman4270b on

Thank you for the video. Interesting that Roberts sets his club much earlier than Gallageher. Gallagher also takes a divot. Roberts just sort of skims the grass.

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

Terrible camera angle for looking at swings, probably because they were trying to get both at once, but it's pretty obvious even from that angle that neither guy gets very deep in the back swing, especially Gallagher, and yet they both get the shaft perfectly in line with the right forearm in the slot.

That's the position they've all got and we all need. LOL

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

Gallagher doesn't go as deep as Roberts but neither man goes very deep...and both men get the shaft in line with the right forearm in the slot (like all good players do).

jon.lucenius's picture

Submitted by jon.lucenius on

Thanks for the kind words and encouragement. I am sure we'll have a great time and I'll definitely report back. My Dad was the inspiration for both my brother and I to play golf. He served 21 years on active duty in the Marines and was a mustang officer. By the time he was 70 he could shot his age on a regular basis, and played to par golf most of his life. If I can do half of what he did on the golf course it would be a great blessing.

Take care all and have a good week!

Thanks again Robert,
Jon

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Okay golf fans, who will win the Open?
My vote is for Henrick or Sergio. Sergio finally breaks through? Yes why not.
Wild card choice is Ricky Fowler. Tiger will barely make the cut and then wins the PGA Championship later this year.
What say you?

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Surge has said time and time again that the big "A" is the most important fundamental in golf. Here is an interesting article from one of my favorite 'other' sites backing up that premise.

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?tab=wm#inbox/1473f80b0ff16653

My step son Kory has recently taken up golf and asked me to teach him. He has joined Cindy and I nearly every week for the past two months. He's making great progress. His tendencies as far as alignment confirm what I have seen in most new golfers. From the tee and mid-fairway most righties line up too far right and fight hitting it right. Convincing him to get his feet, knees, hips, and shoulders aimed parallel LEFT is challenging because even after telling him time and time again he wants to take one last look and re-align which makes him shuffle too far right again. The other mistake both he and Cindy made (early on) was not setting the club face square to the aiming line. The tendency is to have the club face slightly open. It looks square but is open. That has us pre-set to hit it right even if we are correctly parallel left otherwise. Finally the last two times out he has seen a break through. Down the middle and fairly long he is. Yaah!!
Close to the green most have the opposite problem. Here our vision fools us again. Most aim too far left while chipping around the green. As with Cindy (when she was just learning) I have to remind Kory all the time to aim more RIGHT. We need to pick a spot on the green to land the ball and line up with that spot drawing a line back to the ball with a spot just in front of the ball. He is gradually learning this too. Fun stuff.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

It's here and much more is coming. Many of us older codgers (that's any of us approaching 60, lol!) many of us are still not convinced we need adjustable drivers and gps or rangefinders. Though I do have all three and I'm sure many of you do, I find I am slow to change do to old habits and costs. There are lots of things already out to mimic track man qualities for much less money and lots of other things in the coming months and years. I must admit, a lot of it is really cool and sci-fi gear heads will be drooling. Have a look.

http://www.mygolfspy.com/buying-into-the-system-how-golf-companies-will-use-technology-to-compel-your-loyalty/

Especially intriguing to me is that eventually each golf club making company will have 'systems' that will compel our loyalty. Golf now and in the future will still come down to execution and no amount of technology golfer can make ugly pretty:)

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

And I would have the same question about those.

That question is how well do they perform off of the ground from the fairway as a strong 3W?

Off of the tee I'm sure either would be fine.

Jerry Gaughan's picture

Submitted by Jerry Gaughan on

Surge: get well soon, hope all is going well with your rehab.
DJ: keep plugging away, hope to see better results soon:)
Surgites: I see talk of the mini drivers - I use a 400cc head which I got fitted for, love it. Great feel when hit good. Playing - last couple outtings ball striking has been spotty. I went over the foundations manual - I think my takaway has been too low, not lifting the club. Tried focusing on making the swing like a circle. Result - shot 79 on a par 70 wednesday twilight at Maple. Much better contact with every club. +9 tied my career best. Playing Timberwood sat, Marsh Oaks sun - two good tests to see if I can build on this last round.
Play well everyone and stay safe,
Jerry - Warren MI

beaglegolf's picture

Submitted by beaglegolf on

Hi all, I'm still new to the Swing Surgeon site and to the game itself. As I watch the Open, I have an observation regarding Jim Furyk's swing. Although he isn't getting much TV time and most of it is putting, I have a question. I know that Jim doesn't have a PPGS swing (fairly upright, but loops his swing). I noticed on his full swing and drives, that it seems that he flairs both feet and steadies (locks) knees like Don teaches. Am I seeing correctly?

My two questions regarding the PPGS swing are: I have purchased a few of Don's videos series already. One being the Fundamental Series and manual. Do you suggest I read the manual before watching the videos? 2 - In one of Don's recent videos, he discusses the impact position and club shaft position. I fully understand what Don is saying regarding g his teachings. And I fully understand the point that we are on a different side of the street from conventional teachings. When I go to the range, I rarely if ever take a divot, which has always bothered/worried me. So Don's teachings and philosophy lifted my confidence. But here is my question and I know it is coming from the perspective of previous videos and teachings and I have viewed. If you are impacting or coming in to impact with the shaft level (even) with the ball or even slightly behind, how do you compress the golf ball. How do you get any distance by not compressing the ball? Won't your shots be too high, obviously losing distance?

Any comments or answers would be much appreciated. You guys have already given me a load of valuable information. I guess being it's so different, I am still having difficulties wrapping my head around the concepts.

Regards,
Steve

Russty Kiwi's picture

Submitted by Russty Kiwi on

The way I see it , you don't need to hit down on the ball to compress it. It has more to do with matching the right ball to suit your club head speed. The slower your club head speed, the softer the ball needs to be, & more so in the cold.

beaglegolf's picture

Submitted by beaglegolf on

Hi Russty and Hal, much thanks for your comments. Like I said, I am new and I am trying to absorb and comprehend as much as I can. any information and comments that you present are much appreciated.

Thanks again,
Steve

beaglegolf's picture

Submitted by beaglegolf on

Hi Steve, I get your point, thanks. With higher club speed and of course Don's more efficient technique, even if you don't take a divot or a very thin one, you will still get great results. Also, you have the option of using more club if need be.

Now I am a little confused by your question, "I also don't know where you are getting the idea that the club head is past the hands at impact?" In one of Don's most recent videos (one of last three), he clearly states when describing how we are on different sides of the street, that with PPGS, we are either perfectly perpendicular at impact, or even slightly behind. And If you watch how he shows it, the club is past the hands. I agree with you 100% and I know even though I am new to the game that this will cause flipping. Believe me I know because I have struggled with. That's why the question. When I saw the video, I was a little shocked.

Thanks for the comments and imparting your experience. We can always learn from each other.

Regards,
Steve

shortgamewizard's picture

Submitted by shortgamewizard on

From my point of view compression at impact is when the lead arm and club shaft are in a straight line to the lead shoulder at impact (face-on view). This means the impact position leans the club shaft ahead of the body mass. The longer the club and more forward the ball position results in the club shaft-arm to the shoulder more vertical. Some players who have the ball placement forward of the front shoulder can have a negative angle and still create compression.

Flipping is when the club shaft is pointing towards the target at impact instead of up the front arm and at the front shoulder. After impact and when the ball is gone the front arm folds and the front wrist will appear to bend as the back arm swings the club up to the T finish. This can also be visualized as transferring the rock and string from the front arm before and at impact to the back arm post impact up to the T finish.

Dave Everitt's picture

Submitted by Dave Everitt on

This is one part of the Surge swing that I've never focused on before that is very well explained in the following Surge video link. The simple and easy to repeat thought of smoothly pulling the left upper bicep to the chin with the right side resulted in much better ball striking with every club in the bag last week.

https://www.swingsurgeon.com/daily-video-tips/left-arm-blocking-vision-top-backswing

Getting the upper left bicep to the chin works as a timing device and goes a long way to ensuring a complete 3/4 back swing every single time. It seems to get some extra stretch in the left shoulder that was missing before.

Of course, being me, I had to add a little something to this thought. I picture myself gently squeezing something between my chin and upper bicep and say to myself SQUISH. Laugh if you want, but it works for me..Hahaha!!.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Ha ha Dave:) Whatever works right?! Thanks for the link. Bing-bang as Surge said. That was a great reminder for me. Especially off the tee where I tend to go after it with the driver a key to keep it neat and tiddy while 3/4's and a good one. As I unfortunately seem to need reminding often that I normally get plenty of distance with the 3/4 swing. A much better chance to keep it in the 'bowling alley' too that way. Good stuff Dave,thanks.

Dave Everitt's picture

Submitted by Dave Everitt on

I've made a few changes over the last couple of weeks that have been real game
changers. Maybe one of these changes would be helpful for others that are distance or direction challenged like I was before making these changes.

1. The back swing "squish " thought has made my swing with every club much easier to time. ( see previous blog)

2. Taking several aggressive continuous motion swings like Phil Mickelson does before every drive has become my routine now. I wouldn't call them a practice swing because they are really more for stress relief and getting the body ready for action.

3. I now have the feeling of being able to swing my arms as fast as I can around a stable base when hitting the driver. My key for keeping a stable base with stable knees is to concentrate on keeping the left hip from moving away from the target when setting the rearward spine tilt for a driver and when winding up for the backswing. If I do that there is no problem getting back to the ball and really smacking it straight down the fairway.

4. My bump is now a very controlled and small and easily timed shift of weight to the first joint of the left big toe.

5. I wanted to make the timing of the driver and short and mid iron swings as much alike as possible. Something that has helped a lot is Surge's video explanation of how he feels that he simultaneously reaches the what I call the "Squish position" ( Upper bicep touches chin) and the ring the bell position with the right index finger. It isn't necessary for me to think of ringing the bell with the driver but it has proved to be a great thought for hitting flag seeking approach shots. The feeling now with these shots is control with no flash hand speed and very clean contact with the ball.

Dave Everitt's picture

Submitted by Dave Everitt on

Hi Robert,

I thought you might be interested in this link. I find this method better sometimes when more of a body turn after impact is required for longer pitches. I setup the same as the Gary Pinns method but pull away from the target line as described in the link after impact. Contact and direction are very good. This swing also works surprisingly well for long bunker shots. Bunker shots from tough lies with a lot of sand to carry are no longer a problem if I use the push up and pull away motion described in the link.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFY-_9zMLjE

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

SGW, hey nice pic! Good to hear from you. I know we are a bit challenged to keep things going with fewer postings of new 'tips' by Surge with his current recovery situation. It's still nice to hear from familiar friends. Let's keep it going and hopefully in the coming weeks things will gradually get back to more frequent spirited discussions. Hope you're well and getting some rounds in:)

Kevin McGarrahan's picture

Submitted by Kevin McGarrahan on

I was talking to my 97-year-old uncle today about golf. He had been playing since the end of WW2 up until last year. We talk at least once a year and this time the discussion was about swing styles. He said he could never understand the reasons for the big turn and big divots (he's from the Sam Snead era). He said an instructor in the early '70s tried to talk him into taking bigger divots and the reasoning was rather comical: If you are swinging fast enough to really launch the ball and you tend to pick the ball off the turf, you could have a tendency to double-hit the ball with the vertical swing. By taking a big divot, the club head is slowed down until the ball is away :-D The other option is to take a rotational swing. Swinging back around the body makes you swing around on the forward swing, pulling the club head left of the ball's trajectory; again avoiding double-hitting the ball with a super-fast swing. ;-D) Both are rather hilarious to us. He doesn't remember who the instructor was, somewhere in New England, but remembers that lots of people started following his routine. My uncle stuck with his own swing and never lost a round to any of those following "the latest fad." He thinks the PPGS is what he has been using all these years and never knew it.

Brady's picture

Submitted by Brady on

A comment many people will make. Vertical swing was the way to swing a golf club till the whole X-factor thing took hold.

MikefromKy's picture

Submitted by MikefromKy on

Played 18 on my home course this weekend shot a 85 which is better than mid 90's and low 100's I was shooting. I missed 5 or 6 puts for pars the score shoulda coulda been better. I played 18 Sunday on a course that was much tougher a lot of different lies and tight shot a 91. So I guess the more I play the more it comes back getting some of my distance back to.

I guess its good to be a little patient