When we look at golfers on the PGA Tour and see their ability to consistently hit the ball as far as they do, we are quick to ask how this is possible. Cameron Champ is earning quite a reputation for his driving distance, averaging 322.4 yards off the tee so far this season (up 6 yards from the 316 yard average this time last year). He is able to generate 129mph club head speed on a regular basis; these numbers are only achieved by a rare few professionals and really speaks to the level of training involved in the game today.
So how do these guys do it? Well for starters, they have engrained very efficient mechanics allowing them to use energy from the ground, store it, retain it, and release it all at the appropriate times during their swing. One common trait among big-hitters, however, is their ability to separate their upper body and lower body. Having the ability to create the incredible range of motion in each area is step one, but controlling that range of motion through segmental stability is what allows these athletes to use that stored energy so efficiently.
To give you an idea of how much Rickie Fowler rotates throughout his swing we first must look at the difference in separation between the upper and lower body at the top of the backswing for an average golfer. Ideally, we would like to see 45 degrees of hip rotation paired with 90 degrees of torso rotation to create about 45 degrees of separation between the two. If the athlete is able to produce this position consistently they will be set up to create power as they move toward impact. For comparison, according to the GEARS system we use in our Evaluation process here at GPC, Rickie Fowler rotates his upper body 117 degrees and his lower body 36 degrees at the top of his backswing, creating 81 degrees of separation. As he transitions down toward the ball his separation increases to 84 degrees as his hips fire first and create another 3-5 degrees of stretch between his upper and lower body.
Contorting the body to achieve his numbers is going to be unrealistic for many of you at this time, but if you are curious as to how much range of motion you have the ability to create don’t hesitate to reach out to set up some time to go through it!
SEE YOU IN THE ZONE!
Photo courtesy of Golf Monthly