Nerding it up golf: the key concepts and exercises to increase your long game!


Want to hit the ball further? If you love your golf as much as Dr. Tim Sayer, you will know Bryson Dechambeau (US Open winner 2020) or Dustin Johnson are clear examples for the benefit of long drives. Many golfers try to mimic them without much success, so I hope I can provide you with some insight and share with you some key drills to help you swing like a pro. 

One of the biggest problems with amateur golfers is their assumption that improving their long game simply means they should swing faster. From a physics point of view, yes, increasing your swing speed is a key determinant for hitting the ball further, as it will improve your smash factor (the transfer of energy from the club to the ball). However, the problem many amateur golfers face is they try to swing faster using their torso and arms, which changes the rotational sequence of the golf swing and consequently increases the clubface angle, causing shot inaccuracy. So how do the pros do it? They spend hours refining their swing timing and building their rotational power through specific exercises tailored to the unique nature of the golf swing.

Concept 1- increasing force

So, what are rotational power exercises? Well, to understand the physics of power, we first need to discuss force. As you may remember back in your high school days, force is equal to mass multiplied by acceleration as depicted in the formula below.  


In a golfing sense, mass (m) can be thought of as your bodyweight, and acceleration (a) is the rate at which an object changes its velocity (which is the rate of change in position with respect to time). Now this might be confusing and sound like a bunch of jargon, but let me give an example. Professional golfers always commence their downswing with pelvic rotation. As they start to rotate their pelvis, it begins to accelerate, which combined with their mass (bodyweight) will produce force. So, if a golfer can be larger and accelerate their pelvis quickly, then they will produce more force. Does this sound like anyone? It’s a big reason why strength and conditioning in golf has become so popular, as players like Bryson DeChambeau produce massive amounts of force which translates to >320 yard (290m) drives consistently. But force alone is not the whole story, as power is the key metric to your long game.  

Concept 2- increasing power


As the formula above depicts, power is essentially force x velocity. Remember that velocity is the change in position with respect to time. Now you might be thinking how is that different to acceleration? Well, think of the example we used before where the pelvis begins rotation at the start of the downswing.  As you begin the movement, you begin to accelerate the pelvis, because your changing the rate/speed at which your pelvis is moving. This in turn, influences the position of the pelvis with respect to time, velocity. In essence, acceleration increases velocity, which multiplied by force equals power.
Now that you understand power, hopefully you appreciate that to increase clubhead speed physics plays a large role. For most amateur golfers this means two things to improve your long game:

1. Increase your muscle mass


2. Increase your ability to accelerate your pelvis and torso through your downswing


3. Maintain the correct timing of your swing

If you can start to build these physical attributes-I guarantee you'll hit the ball further! So, try these basic exercises to progress your rotational power and if you want any more tips, get in contact as we'd be happy to help progress your golf fitness.

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