My Golf Instructor

Gaining Distance
How to Add Power and Speed to Your Game

How Can You Get More Distance?
Increase Distance Through Leg StrengthLeg Strength is Crucial for Distance

I have yet to meet a golfer that wouldn't like to hit a ball further off the tee. It's just human nature. We want to be closer to the green than the rest of the foursome. Many would give the reason that it's easier to hit a shorter club into the green, which is true. But let's face it; nobody wants to be the shortest hitter in the group either, no matter how straight you hit the ball.

Hitting the ball farther requires mainly 2 things:

  • Speeding up your swing
  • Hitting the ball more squarely in the center of the club face

While there are a few things you can do in the gym to improve your ability to strike a ball more correctly, today let's focus on what you can do in your training sessions to make the club go faster. Just today, I witnessed one of our trainers swing a driver somewhere between 135 and 143 mph. Seriously. I give a range because I'm not quite sure how accurate our radar is, but nonetheless I've never seen a club go that fast. In fact I thought it was a misread. But when he did it 10 separate times with similar readings and the rest of us (including a couple NHL hockey players) checked our swing speeds to see if it was right, we came nowhere close to him. Granted, we have no idea where those balls were going, but if he ever gets one in the center of the club face, we're talking more than Bubba Watson kind of distance! What is it that allows him to swing so fast? Well, Tony was a college baseball player and is also a very strong man. The combination of those two things has allowed him to develop incredible power in rotational movements, which ultimately creates a very fast swing speed. So how does this help you? Of course most of us don't have the athletic background and strength that Tony does, but what we can learn from this is that by increasing your power output, or how much force you can generate, you can definitely improve your swing speed. And the best way to increase power is by getting stronger, especially in the lower body. Simply by introducing a solid leg strengthening program into your fitness routine, I personally guarantee that you will see an increase in distance.

Leg Strength Has Benefits Even Beyond Power

It is simple. The stronger your legs are, the more force you can generate from the ground up. That force is then transferred from your legs, to your hips, trunk, shoulders, arms, hands, and finally to the head of the club. Adding more leg exercises will also create other residual side effects that help your ability to hit the ball further including:

  • Increased range of motion in the ankles, knees, hips, and back
  • Better balance throughout the swing
  • Improved sequencing of body parts in the swing (because the legs are stronger, you won't feel the need to muscle up with the arms)
  • Less fatigue later in the round
  • Better posture in your stance
  • Increased "core" strength

Each of these individually can make a big difference, and you can get them all by implementing some fundamental lower body strengthening exercises.

The Situation:

You want another 5-15 yards off the tee so you can clear the water without having to move up to the forward tees.

The Solution:

The first place I would start would be to make sure you are working your lower body strength properly. The best exercises to add would be full range squats (within comfort limits), lunges, split squats, deadlifts, back extensions, reverse hyperextensions, and several other compound movements (using more than one joint). The main focus during these exercises is not so much in the weight that can be moved but in how good of postures you can keep and how controlled, yet explosive you can be with each exercise. The goal is balance and working through full ranges of motion. The more comfortable you become with the exercises, the more you can challenge yourself.

Jeff Pelizzaro

Jeff Pelizzaro is a licensed physical therapist that works with professional and amateur golfers as well as athletes and general fitness clients of all ages and abilities. He has earned a Master's Degree in Physical Therapy and is also a Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) Certified LEvel 2 Fitness Instructor and Level 1 Certified Plan Truth Golf Instructor.

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