Feel the Force! How to Use the Ground to Hit Longer Drives

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There are so many buzzwords in golf nowadays, a new one seems to come each week. Science has gradually crept into golf as people look to unlock the mysteries and myths of this great game, and biomechanics has come to the fore. We are able to use 3-D analysis machines now to look inside the body to see how our components are harmonizing to create and transfer energy. So if video analysis is an X-ray of your swing, 3D is the MRI.

Ground Force Reaction is based on Newton’s Laws: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” So basically, if a player coils up on the way back and then pushes down into the ground in transition, the ground is pushing back with equal force. This stored energy can then be transferred to the ball with the action of the body through impact. As you will see, an athletic and springing action from the ground is needed to transfer the latent energy. This can be seen in all long drivers of the golf ball.

A word of warning to all teachers, however. Golf is not just about how far you hit it; it’s how straight you hit it, too! So be careful in spending so much time trying to rip it that you end up losing some of the key geometry and subsequent control of the ball. I do not agree with the doctrine of “smash it and find it.” Golf is an accuracy and finesse game most times, but it has a component of explosive hitting with the tee shot.

Watch the video, try the move and the ball will go much further. Science says so!

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Jonathan Yarwood is a proven tour and elite development golf coach with more than 24 years experience coaching winners at the highest level. He has had great success at both ends of the spectrum, ranging from taking students of 11 years old to the tour through many years of work to coaching Michael Campbell to his major championship victory at the 2005 U.S. Open. He has also coached two U.S. Amateur winners, two U.S. Girls Junior winners, three AJGA Players of the Year, and winners on the PGA, LPGA, European, Challenge, Asian and Australasian tours. His players have also recorded a slew of amateur victories.

Jonathan was voted a UK PGA Master Professional in 2011, and he has also been recognized for his work by Golf Digest Magazine. In 2006, he was voted a Top-20 Teacher Under 40 and was voted a top teacher in the state of Florida for a decade.

"Your swing needs to be good enough to control the ball, that's all," Jonathan says. "Your short game does the scoring; your mind glues it all together."

Jonathan is currently a senior instructor at Bishopsgate Golf Academy in Orlando.

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  1. Hmm.. all this time I thought “ground force reaction” was the involuntary need to launch helicopters following me burying the bottom 4 grooves in the turf behind the ball from the middle of the fairway.

  2. Interesting but basically not much use. “Hitting it miles” is a function of swing speed. Which is a function mostly of hands, wrists and forearms. Years ago Harvey Penick used to demonstrate this point by sitting in a ratty old lawn chair and hitting 230 yard drives..when he was in his 70’s.

  3. So a golfer increases their effective weight by up to 100 pounds … can you explain how you proved this? Cause all of my attempts have not increased my effective weight one bit. Then again why would one’s weight change? If every action creates an opposite and equal reaction (assuming the object being pressed against does not move), then wouldn’t one’s weight remain constant as the forces are neutralizing each other. You wanna know my theory … how about the body is just reacting to a motion in such a way so that it keeps it’s balance and doesn’t fall over?

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