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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.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. martin

    Mar 30, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    if you accelerate the club head down then the equal and opposite force on your body will be upward and your weight (ie the downward force your feet exert on the earth) will decrease.

  2. Mr Poopoo

    Mar 20, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    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.

  3. Steve S

    Mar 20, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    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.

  4. Philip

    Mar 19, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    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?

    • ROY

      Mar 20, 2017 at 10:01 am

      How did you prove that you did not increase your effective weight??

    • joey

      Mar 21, 2017 at 11:26 am

      It’s easy to measure with a swing catalyst force plate!

  5. Isaac Newton

    Mar 19, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Great video. From a physics perspective some of your terminology made the engineer in me cringe though.

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Instruction

WATCH: How to take your hands out of your swing

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In this video, I share two great drills that help golfers take their hands out of the golf swing. These drills encourage more rotation through impact with quieter hands to improve consistency.

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A simple formula to figure out the right ball position for you

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In this video, I offer my simple formula on ball position that has seen my students produce more consistency. Watch to see how you can adapt your ball position to hit more shots on target.

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How to fix the root cause of hitting your golf shots fat

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Of all the shots golfers fear, hitting the ball FAT has to be right up at the top of the list. At least it heads the list of commonly hit poor shots (let’s leave the shank and the whiff out for now). After fat, I’d list topping, followed by slicing and then hooking. They are all round-killers, although the order of the list is an individual thing based on ability. Professionals despise a hook, but club golfers by and large fear FAT. Why?

First of all, it’s embarrassing. Secondly, it goes nowhere — at least compared to thin — and it can be physically painful! So to avoid this dreaded miss, golfers do any number of things (consciously or subconsciously) to avoid it. The pattern develops very early in one’s golf life. It does not take very many fat shots for golfers to realize that they need to do something differently. But rather than correct the problem with the correct move(s), golfers often correct a fault with a fault.

Shortening the radius (chicken-winging), raising the swing center, early lower-body extension, holding on through impact (saving it), running the upper body ahead of the golf ball and even coming over the top are all ways of avoiding fat shots. No matter how many drills I may offer for correcting any of those mistakes, none will work if the root cause of fat is not addressed.

So what causes fat? We have to start with posture. Some players simply do not have enough room to deliver the golf club on a good plane from inside to inside. Next on the list of causes is a wide, early cast of the club head. This move is invariably followed by a break down in the lead arm, holding on for dear life into impact, or any of the others…

“Swaying” (getting the swing center too far off the golf ball) is another cause of fat, as well as falling to the rear foot or “reversing the weight.” Both of these moves can cause one to bottom out well behind the ball. Finally, an excessive inside-out swing path (usually the fault of those who hook the ball) also causes an early bottom or fat shot, particularly if the release is even remotely early. 

Here are 4 things to try if you’re hitting fat shots

  1. Better Posture: Bend forward from the hips so that arms hang from the shoulders and directly over the tips of the toes, knees slightly flexed over the shoelaces, seat out for balance and chin off the chest!
  2. Maintaining the Angles: Casting, the natural urge to throw the clubhead at the golf ball, is a very difficult habit to break if one is not trained from the start. The real correction is maintaining the angle of the trail wrist (lag) a little longer so that the downswing is considerably more narrow than the backswing. But as I said, if you have been playing for some time, this is risky business. Talk to your instructor before working on this!
  3. Maintaining the Swing Center Over the Golf Ball: In your backswing, focus on keeping your sternum more directly over the golf ball (turning in a barrel, as Ernest Jones recommended). For many, this may feel like a “reverse pivot,” but if you are actually swaying off the ball it’s not likely you will suddenly get stuck with too much weight on your lead foot.
  4. Setting Up a Little More Open: If your swing direction is too much in-to-out, you may need to align your body more open (or feel that way). You could also work with a teaching aid that helps you feel the golf club is being swung more out in front of you and more left (for right-handers) coming through — something as simple as a head cover inside the golf ball. You’ll hit the headcover if you are stuck too far inside coming down.

The point is that most players do what they have to do to avoid their disastrous result. Slicers swing way left, players who fight a hook swing inside out and anybody who has ever laid sod over the golf ball will find a way to avoid doing it again. This, in my opinion, is the evolution of most swing faults, and trying to correct a fault with a fault almost never ends up well.

Get with an instructor, get some good videos (and perhaps even some radar numbers) to see what you are actually doing. Then work on the real corrections, not ones that will cause more trouble.

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