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More Distance Off the Tee (Part 3 of 3): Rotary Power Training

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It is no secret that being able to rotate with speed, efficiency and power is a big part of the recipe to hit it long off the tee. I am going to outline the top-three rotational exercises that we use with our athletes to increase this type of power… but we have to talk about something else first.

If you did not read “4 Critical Tests to Compare Yourself to the Pro’s” yet, do it now. You need to understand that if you can’t rotate at your hips, spine, shoulders and neck, the exercises that follow below are not going to help. If you have not yet earned the right to move fast in rotation because you don’t have the mobility and you still try to do these exercises, you are asking for a injury. Before reading any further, make sure you actually have the mobility to rotate! If you’re still reading, I will assume you have great rotary mobility and are ready to take your rotational power to the next level. That is where these three exercises come in.

As with the other power articles (Part 1 and 2), make sure not to do more than 6 reps per set to assure you are able to go as hard as possible on each rep. Take a rest between each set and make sure you are not out of breath when you start. In order for these exercises to be the most effective, you need to be able to go as hard as you can on each rep; that is not doable if you are sucking wind.

Cable Machine Push/Pull

The key here is to keep your feet planted about shoulder-width apart and don’t be afraid to use your hips in generating as much speed as you can. This is a fun one. Let it rip!

Iron Man Throws

If the cable machine push/pull was fun, you are going to love Iron Man Throws. There are a couple variations: a standard Iron Man Throw, a throw after a hop back, or a throw after a step behind. Keep your throwing elbow high and drive it through the ball. Make sure you are throwing it against a cinderblock wall or something that won’t break when a 6-10 pound ball hits it. Dry wall will crumble!

Landmine Pull to Push

As with the first two exercises, using your legs and proper sequencing is critical for maximum benefit from this exercise. Make sure your hips are always below your shoulders and drive from your legs up and out through your hands.

Definitely make sure that you take your time with all of these exercises between sets and rest as much as you need to assure proper form and maximal speed/force with each rep. Good luck and have fun!

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Chris Finn is the founder of Par4Success and a Licensed Physical Therapist, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Titleist Performance Institute Certified Medical Professional and trained to perform Trigger Point Dry Needling in North Carolina. He is regarded as the premier Golf Fitness, Performance & Medical Expert in North Carolina. Since starting Par4Success in 2011, Chris has and continues to work with Touring Professionals, elite level juniors & amateurs as well as weekend warriors. He has contributed to numerous media outlets, is a published author, a consultant and presents all over the world on topics related to golf performance and the golf fitness business.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Kevin

    Feb 16, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    Been following these articles closely. What advice can you offer for people who don’t have a brick wall handy to use for medicine ball exercises?

    • steve

      Feb 16, 2018 at 5:29 pm

      Don’t buy a medicine ball …. 😛 😛 😛

    • The dude

      Feb 17, 2018 at 6:12 pm

      Use the side of your neighbors house…….about 6 am

  2. OB

    Feb 15, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    “You need to understand that if you can’t rotate at your hips, spine, shoulders and neck, the exercises that follow below are not going to help.”
    Well …. that eliminates 99% of all so-called golfers worldwide …. 😀

    • steve

      Feb 16, 2018 at 5:28 pm

      Yup…. buncha stiffs whiffing at golf balls with the latest game improvement clubs. 😛

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Opinion & Analysis

An open letter to golf

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Dear golf,

I know it has been some time since we last spoke, but I need you to know I miss you, and I can’t wait to see you again.

It was just a few months ago I walked crowded isles, stood shoulder to shoulder, and talked endlessly with likeminded individuals about you and your promising future in 2020 at the PGA Show. At that time, the biggest concern in my life was whether I had packed the perfect dress-to-casual pant ratio and enough polos to get through the mayhem of six days in Orlando. Oh, how the times have changed.

On a professional level, what started with the LPGA Tour a few weeks prior progressed quickly at The Players Championship, when you ground to a complete halt within days. As much as it was a tough decision, it was the right decision, and I admire the judgment made by your leaders. Soon after, outside of the professional ranks followed suit and courses everywhere began shutting doors and asked golfers to keep away.

This is the right decision. For now and for the foreseeable future, as much as I don’t like it, I understand how important it is we let experienced health medical professionals make choices and craft policies for the wellbeing of people everywhere. Although, judging by the indoor short game trickery I have witnessed over the last 10 days, handicaps could be dropping when you finally return.

As a game, you are over 200 years old. You have survived pandemics, wars, depression, drought, and everything else that has been thrown at you. Much like the human spirit, you will continue on thanks to the stories and experiences others passed down and enjoyed.

I know you will survive because I also plan on surviving. As long as there are people willing to tend to your grounds and maintain your existence, I will also exist ready to take on your challenge.

When you are able to return in full, I will be here.

Sincerely,

Ryan Barath (on behalf of golfers everywhere)

 

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Improving your short iron and wedge impact

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One of my most appreciated aspects of this nearly 40 years in the golf equipment industry is the practically endless stream of “ah ha” moments that I have experienced. One that I want to share with you today will–I hope–give you a similar “ah ha moment” and help you improve your ball striking with your high lofted short irons and wedges.

As I was growing up, we always heard the phrase, “thin to win” anytime we hit an iron shot a little on the skinny side (not a complete skull, mind you). When you caught that short iron or wedge shot a bit thin, it seemed you always got added distance, a lower trajectory and plenty of spin. It was in a testing session back in the early 2000s when this observation met with some prior learning, hence the “ah ha moment” for me.

I was in Fredericksburg, Virginia, testing some wedge prototypes with a fitter there who was one of the first to have a TrackMan to measure shot data. I had hit about two dozen full pitching wedges for him to get a base of data for me to work from. The average distance was 114 yards, with my typical higher ball flight than I like, generating an average of about 7,000 rpms of spin. What I noticed, however, was those few shots that I hit thin were launching noticeably lower, flying further and had considerably more spin. Hmmm.

So, I then started to intentionally try to pick the ball off the turf, my swing thought being to actually try to almost “blade” the shot. As I began to somewhat “perfect” this, I saw trajectories come down to where I’d really like them, distance increased to 118-120 and spin rates actually increased to about 8,000 rpms! I was taking no divot, or just brushing the grass after impact, but producing outstanding spin. On my very best couple of swings, distance with my pitching wedge was 120-122 with almost 10,000 rpms of spin! And a great trajectory.

So, I began to put two and two together, drawing on the lessons about gear effect that I had learned back in the 1980s when working with Joe Powell in the marketing of his awesome persimmon drivers. You all know that gear effect is what makes a heel hit curve/fade back toward the centerline, and a heel hit curves/draws back as well. The “ah ha” moment was realizing that this gear effect also worked vertically, so shots hit that low on the face “had no choice” but to fly lower, and take on more spin.

I had always noticed that tour players’ and better amateurs’ face wear pattern was much lower on the face than that of recreational golfers I had observed, so this helped explain the quality of ball flight and spin these elite players get with their wedges and short irons.

I share this with you because I know we all often misinterpret the snippets of advice we get from friends and other instructional content that is out there. To me, one of the most damaging is “hit down on the ball”. That is a relative truth, of course, but in my observation it has too many golfers attacking the ball with their short irons and wedges with a very steep angle of attack and gouging huge divots. The facts are that if the club is moving only slightly downward at impact, you will get the spin you want, and if the clubhead is moving on a rather shallow path, you will get a more direct blow to the back of the ball, better trajectory, more distance and improved spin. Besides, shallow divots are easier on the hands and joints.

If this is interesting to you, I suggest you go to the range and actually try to blade some wedge shots until you somewhat groove this shallower path through impact and a lower impact point on your clubface. As you learn to do this, you will be able to zero in on the proper impact that produces a very shallow divot, and a great looking shot.

[TIP: If you will focus on the front edge of the ball – the side closest to the target – it will help you achieve this kind of impact.]

It will take some time, but I believe this little “experiment” will give the same kind of “ah ha moment” it gave me.

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On Spec

On Spec: Interview with Trevor Immelman, 2008 Masters champion

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In this episode, host Ryan speaks with Trevor Immelman about his career, what it was like growing up around the game as a competitive amateur in South Africa, and what it’s like being a Masters champion.

Topics also include his experiences working with the design team at Nike Golf as well as his current “What’s in the Bag” which includes equipment from Titleist and the process he went through to get it dialed in.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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