Keep Thy Width

by Dr. T. J. Tomasi, Keiser University College of Golf Senior Faculty and Director of Research

There are many elements of the golf swing that create power – the length, the speed, and the solidness of contact are three, but also on the list is one you don’t hear much about; width. When you extend your hands as far as possible away from the center of rotation during the golf swing, you increase the mechanical advantage of the system, and that spells more power.

The key to maximum width is to make sure your lead arm is fully extended away from your upper swing center, located about ½ of the way down your sternum (breastbone) just below your throat. This extension not only maximizes the length of the lever (visualize a wrecking ball with a long tether) but also encourages center contact at impact by preserving the radius during your golf swing – if you strike the golf ball a quarter of an inch off-center, you can lose about 10% in distance, a power failure that can be nothing but bad.

How do you create and then maintain width? First, arrive at the top of your golf swing with your hands as far away from the center of your chest as possible using good golf posture. Next, you must start down by shifting pressure to your front foot – this tightens up all the connections in your power chain.

The last step in your width-maintenance program is to do nothing. And this is by far the hardest thing to do.

Annika Sorenstam was one of the best players in history, even though of medium size and weight – 5’ 6” about 120 lbs. Yet she was one of the longest drivers on the LPGA tour. Here she shows why. She has turned her hips about ½ as much as her shoulders, causing a body torque that will be turned into clubhead speed at impact. Please note how straight her left arm is while she keeps her hands as far away as possible from the center of her chest. This maximum width keeps all the other power moves in sync.

I’m posing in an all-too-common position of those who mistakenly collapse their lead arm and allow their hands to approach their head. Here I have arc-length at the expense of arc-width.


If you’d like to study with Dr. Tomasi and other PGA Master Professionals, contact The College of Golf today.

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