Need More Distance? Learn to Properly Utilize Vertical Pressure!

with/ Nolan Walsh, PGA of Canada, Candidate for Membership

Teaching Professional, Loyalist Golf & Country Club

As any teaching professional will tell you, one of the most frequent concerns expressed by students is a lack of distance. Can you blame them? With the advancements of technology that seem to only make the longer players longer, and the new strong, athletic style of player like Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy that are now dominating the PGA Tour driving stats, the game is changing. Golf courses are getting longer and the every-day amateur player is struggling to keep up.

Unfortunately, there is no magic trick that will allow the average amateur player to begin averaging 300+ yards off the tee. There are simply too many factors that go into creating the type of swing speed that someone like Dustin Johnson creates, but do not despair! There is one fundamental that every single Tour player does to create power and speed that too many amateurs ignore in their constant pursuit of more distance – proper pressure shift.

Proper pressure shift is so vital in maximizing the power that one can generate from their golf swing that it is often the first thing I will cover when teaching a junior looking to learn the basics. It is one of my favourite fundamentals to cover because it is so simple and effective – think of how you generate power in almost every other sport. Have you ever seen a quarterback throw a hail-mary pass without stepping into his throw? What about a pitcher throwing a fast ball? Or a hockey player taking a slap shot? In all of these examples, the athlete is looking to generate power and speed and does so by loading pressure on their back foot before transferring it to their frontside on their follow-through. They are effectively utilizing vertical pressure to create the necessary power to propel the ball/puck forwards at maximum speed. It is no different with the game of golf!

Next time you are on the range, pay attention to your weight distribution and where your “pressure points” are. At the top of your swing, your pressure point should be the inside of your back foot, meaning that this is where the majority of the vertical pressure should be built up (Fig. A).

As you begin your down swing, this pressure should begin to transfer to your front side (Fig. B) creating the momentum that will translate into a faster swing speed and the greater distance that we all seek!

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