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


In golf, the “hard-wall player” hits across the straight front leg, just as the home run hitter does – while the “soft-wall player” generates less velocity but more accuracy using a slightly bent front knee.

Annika Sorenstam played with a soft front leg later in her career – she wasn’t a short hitter when she dominated the LPGA Tour, but she purposely geared back a bit for accuracy, and it certainly worked out well, making her one of the top female players ever. Justin Thomas, despite his small frame, is a long driver of the ball because he hits across a straight front leg. He demonstrates the formation of the front brace or wall that all good players establish in order to release the club the same way every time. It’s just physics – slam on the breaks correctly, and everything that isn’t tied down (your arms, right hip, right knee and most importantly your clubhead) shoots forward automatically with a powerful slinging action.  

Most golfers simply slide their hips laterally toward the target; however, this failure to rotate denies them the front side resistance needed to max out power. One reason a Tour swing looks so smooth is that the release is caused by hitting the front wall and not by a conscious manipulation of any other part of the body.

Two Ways

There are two ways to build your front wall: 1) The first is a soft wall where the hips rotate fully, but the front knee remains flexed through impact. As long as the link before it in the kinematic chain of power transfer slows, energy keeps its flow. Timing is the ability to dump the energy into the ball at the correct time, so how and when you erect the wall is a power fundamental. 2) The other type of wall (the hard wall) occurs when the front leg snaps straight by virtue of the knee moving backward, away from the toes into an almost hyper-extended position.

Both types of players (soft and hard) can hit the ball well, and some switch back and forth as they play. When Jim Furyk wants a long hard hook, he turns his left foot inward, so it points toward the target line, giving some extra snap and more distance. Other players use the hard wall for the driver and the soft wall for the irons. Which type of wall you should use depends on your physique, flexibility and mental attitude. Usually aggressive, power-players gravitate to the hard-wall, while control- players favor the soft-wall.

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

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