Golf Distance and X-factor

When I start working with a golfer the first thing that I ask them is “What are your goals?” I have worked with a lot of golfers, and every single one has said “More distance” as one of their main goals. Increasing distance is as simple as increasing separation between your hips and shoulders, or X-factor. Obviously easier said than done, but achievable for every golfer from scratch to a high handicap. Let me help you get there.

X-factor is a big term in the golf fitness and golf instruction world, and all it means is how much can you separate your hips from your shoulders. If you want to hit the ball a far way though, you better be sure you create this magical x-factor at the right moment in your golf swing.

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Most golfers focus on making a full turn and getting to the top of their backswing. As you can see from the picture from Me and My Golf (great group by the way for instruction) at the top of the backswing you want about 45 degrees of separation between your shoulders and hips. The golfers that I work with can get to that position, but they sacrifice separation. What I mean by that is they get to the 90 degree turn with their shoulders, but have way more than 45 degrees of turn with their hips. So if you want to increase your distance start with creating more twist in your body. My absolute favorite exercise for that is an open book stretch.

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If you really want to improve your distance though, you have to be sure that you increase your x-factor as you start your downswing. The big hitters in golf start at that 45 degrees number for separation at the top of the backswing, but then increase it to 50-55 degrees as they start the downswing. Most golfers that I work with who can create the right amount of x-factor that the top of the backswing then throw it away by starting their downswing with their arms. This is a hard feel for most golfers to get though. Well no worries my friends, I’ve got you covered. Try this exercise. All you need is a piece of tubing, or something elastic (could be a bungee cord).

Honestly, in my personal opinion, it’s much more important to start the downswing the right way than it is to create a bigger x-factor. Look at the long hitters on the PGA (John Rahm and Tony Finau) and the top of their backswing position.

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It looks like they are taking a half swing! What you don’t see is how much separation they create as they start their swing with their hips. That is where the power is created that sends that ball a far way down the fairways.

So if you want to increase your distance you need to increase your stretch, and start your swing with your hips. I hope that helps you to make this golf season your best season.

OrthoCore Physical Therapy is here to help you get in the swing of your season! Contact us or make an appointment right here on our website!






How to Build a Powerful Golf Swing

Many of you may not know this but I actually started out as a volleyball player way before I was a golfer. I still play both sports and interestingly enough the more I train for volleyball, the more powerful my golf swing gets. I’m sure to most of you that doesn’t even begin to make sense. Allow me to explain why it works, and why you should start to incorporate some plyometric training into your golf fitness program.

When I talk about volleyball I’m purely talking about hitting. I LOVE hitting and I LOVE hitting it as hard as I possibly can. In order to be a good hitter in volleyball you need some key physical components. Other than being tall (trust me there are some great hitters that are short) you need to be able to jump. If you want to jump high you have to create a lot of what is called ground reaction force (nerdy physics term). What that basically means is the harder you can push down into the earth, the higher you will propel yourself up in the air.

Once you are up in the air you have to twist your shoulders and turn your vertical power into rotational power. To do this you have to have a really strong core. Otherwise all that great jumping power you have created will just be wasted. You might as well hit the ball with a wet spaghetti noodle because it will probably work better. Lastly you turn your twisting power into arm speed and turn your hand into a whip. When all that power meets the volleyball it goes DOWN!

So what does any of that have to do with the golf swing? Let’s start at the top of the backswing. As you start to come down into the ball the first thing you should do is squat. You are creating a ground reaction force by pushing your feet down into the ground. The only difference between golf and volleyball is the jump part. Actually if you look at some of the longest hitters on tour, some are actually off the ground at impact.

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Then...just like with volleyball you turn all the vertical power into twisting power with your shoulders. Lastly, use your hands like a whip and crush that little white ball as far as you possibly can.

Now the most important part. How do you incorporate plyometric training into your workouts to build a powerful golf swing? It’s really simple. Just start jumping. It doesn’t have to be complicated. You can do jumping jacks, jump rope, jump in place, anything that has jump in front of it, you can do (I feel like I just gave you a version of Forrest Gump talking about shrimp). The biggest disclaimer is you have to be sure you don’t have any pain. If you have any pain with jumping, you have to stop. You can safely perform plyometrics once a week and you will definitely start to notice some more pop in your golf swing.

If you have any questions please contact me here at OrthoCore Physical Therapy. I hope you enjoy your new, more powerful, golf swing this season!