Leveraging your Golf Game

frozen golferAs many of my golf instructors and pro golfer friends have told me, a powerful golf swing basically comes down to learning to use leverage. Think about it. If you had to play a round where, instead of hitting the ball you had to pick it up and throw it, it would take you a hell of a lot longer to make it to the hole. Thanks to the leverage of the golf club, you can knock your ball out there 250 yards and end up on the green and in the hole after only 4 shots (as long as you don’t slice it into a gator-infested water hazard).

But here’s the tricky part: where does the “lever” begin? It might be tempting to say with just the club, but really, your arms also serve a leverage function. That’s the advantage of the conception of the swing championed by Pause-n-Throw’s guru, Mike Austin. Austin saw the power of the swing as coming from the legs and torso. That power is transferred to the club, and then the ball, through the arms, with several pivot points (that’s the origin of Austin’s concept of the “whip-like” transfer of force).

But how does power transfer from the torso to the arms? Austin saw the shoulders as key, and to make the arm motion more effective, he called for a swing in which the relation between the axis of the shoulders and left arm (for right handers) would remain constant at the moment of impact, forming a sort of upside-down L throughout. He talked about keeping the L together throughout the swing.

Another great teacher, John Marshall, also a fan of the Pause-N-Throw golf swing training aid, helped me with my swing by urging me to “stay connected.” This means learning not to swing your arms but using the turning of the torso to drive your left arm around your body. Austin had his own training aid for this called The Flammer . It’s now very hard to find but I am the proud owner of one in my collection of Mike Austin memorabilia.

How well does leverage work? Well, using this swing, Austin was able to hit a record breaking 515 yard drive in tournament play. When I asked him if he swung extra hard to hit it that far, he answer, “I felt like I was just swinging at cruising speed.”