One of my favorite instructional experiences that we provide at Treetops Resort is without a doubt the Ladies Golf School. These schools are a very fun 3-day learning experience where we have groups of anywhere from 4-20 ladies and provide instruction related to full swing, short game, physical conditioning, and course management. One of the leading requests that I always get during the schools is, “I want to hit the ball further.” Most golfers want to hit the ball further, PROBABLY ALL GOLFERS, but for many women this is especially important for helping them to lower their scores and enjoy the game more. In this post I am going to show videos of a couple of the lessons on this topic as well as discuss some specific exercises that you can do to achieve these changes.
One of the most important aspects to a golf swing that will immediately increase the distance that you hit the ball is completing your backswing. Imagine you are going to punch someone, and you only draw your fist back 5 inches when winding up. Then you make another punch and draw your fist back as far as possible… which punch will inflict the most damage? This is what we are trying to do to a golf ball on a long tee shot!
The first thing you must do to complete your backswing is rotate. There are two main portions of your body that must rotate, your hips and your shoulders. There are specific physical screens/exercises that I do with players to test their mobility as it relates to rotation. They are the Lower Quarter Rotation and Seated Trunk Rotation tests. Below are diagrams on how to complete both. Basically, what we are trying to do is test how much you can turn your hips and your shoulders independent of the other. The goal being somewhere close to 45 degrees from each area of the body.
For the lower quarter rotation test stand straight up with your feet together and raise one foot to the toe dragging it back a few inches. From there, while keeping your foot flat on the ground rotate your hips one way and then the other as much as possible. As stated earlier the goal would be to get close to 45 degrees if possible. If you can do this, you have good hip mobility!
For the seated trunk rotation test sit on a stool or bench and again put your feet and knees together. Grab a golf club or stick and place it on your shoulders behind your head. Try to rotate that club from side to side without moving your knees. This is a great way to test how well you can rotate your shoulders.
Check out this video of a lesson where we discussed the concept of turning more and how to do that. Notice that we staggered the stance of this student which made it easier for her to rotate her hips and make a bigger turn during the backswing. This change helped her hit her driver much better and add some distance!
The other important thing that you have to do in order to complete your backswing is get your arms up in the air. Now there’s a lot of things that can affect how high your arms get including the way your shoulders tilt, posture, physical build, mobility of your lat muscles, and mobility of your shoulders. We are only going to focus on the last two in this article. Much like rotation, there are also some physical screens that I do with students to test their ability to get the arms high enough during the backswing. One is the lat length test and the other is the 90/90 drill. Pictures of both are below. In both of these movement screens/exercises we are targeting the muscle groups in the shoulder and upper back area of your body. We really want to see if there is enough mobility in this area to get your arms high enough which in turn will get the golf club higher during the backswing and produce the leverage and length of swing that we need to hit the ball further.
For the 90/90 test get down in what we would call golf posture (as if you are hitting a golf ball but with no club) and extend your arm out where your upper arm is parallel to the ground and your forearm is pointing straight out forming a 90 degree angle. From there rotate your arm back as much as you can without moving your elbow back just rotating it. The goal would be to see if you can get your forearm past spine angle. You should feel some tightness in your shoulders if doing it correctly.
For the Lat Length Test do a wall sit and extend both arms straight out. From there, keep your lower back on the wall and reach back with your arms getting them as high as possible and trying to get all the way back to the wall. Make sure to keep your arms straight while doing this. If you can touch the wall with your thumbs you have good lat mobility!
Check out this video of a lesson where we talk about arm position during the backswing along with the corresponding changes. Notice that as a result of this student getting her arms higher, we were able to get the club in a position where it was pointing toward the target as well as increasing the overall length of the backswing. This change can really increase distance!
These are just a few of the things that we do to help ladies hit the ball further. For more specific info on how to complete these drills and to get your swing diagnosed please contact us at the Treetops Golf Academy.