Simple Tips To Power Up Your Golf Swing

Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach Katie Dawkins explores how you can add more power to your golf game

PGA pro Katie Dawkins hitting a drive at Essendon Golf Club
(Image credit: Andy Dow (@adpy_sports))

Power is something we all long for, especially when it comes to tee shots. But actually creating a powerful move in the swing that sends that ball soaring is often something many women struggle to achieve.

First, let’s strip it back to basics. To get more power in your golf swing, you need to be prepared. It’s no good setting up to the ball like you’re about to have a siesta. Get ready, be athletic, and that balance you hold in your address position will convert into control and speed through the ball. 

Give your golf swing posture the heel tap check. Set up to the ball and ask yourself: “Am I a toe-tapper or a heel-tapper?” If you can tap your toes like you’re listening to a catchy tune then you’re balance will not be up to scratch. Your weight will be sat back on your heels, which will mean you can’t wind up power and might explain a few things if consistency has been a struggle.

PGA pro Katie Dawkins demonstrating a good way to get into your golf swing address position

Settle your weight onto the balls of your feet at address

(Image credit: Andy Dow (@adpy_sports))

At address you should be poised with the weight gently settled on the balls of the feet, as if about to return a serve in tennis or catch a ball. So a heel tap is a great way to check this as part of your pre-shot routine. It will also tap out any unwanted tension. 

Now you are balanced you will be able to get your body involved in your swing. A lack of power often goes hand-in-hand with the arms being the dominant force. We all know if we want to throw a ball or skim a stone across a pond, the arms can’t be the only engine working. The kinematic sequence or weight transfer in the golf swing occurs works from the ground up. 

The body drives power through the feet from back to front as the body unwinds and shifts towards the target. I often use a slightly flat football during lessons and get pupils to throw this towards the back of the range wall. If done correctly and with efficient power the ball hits the wood hard directly on the target line. If the sequence is out if sync the throw feels lacklustre and is often wonky.

So our number one mission when ticking the power box is to get the bigger muscles involved. This is what unlocks decent weight transfer. Here are a few great moves that will get you feeling strong and confident in your swing.

Rest, rotate, reach

This drill helps you get that all-important feeling of power by making the shoulder turn the motor of the swing. Set up with an athletic stance. Now lift the club up and gently rest it on the shoulder furthest from the target. From there, make a really neat shoulder turn (with the club still resting) so your back is towards the target. 

Now STRETCH your arms out so your lead arm is straight. You will feel your stomach muscles working and I guarantee talking at the top of your swing will be a challenge. That feeling of coiling up is torque. You’ve charged your backswing with stored energy the same way you charge a rubber band when you stretch is backwards. 

PGA pro Katie Dawkins demonstrating a great way to improve your golf backswing

This drill will improve your shoulder turn

(Image credit: Andy Dow (@adpy_sports))

The downswing sequence is a reaction to this. Letting that rubber band go will result in POWER. This drill gives epic width at the top. The amount of turn you can achieve will be dependant on your flexibility so take it easy and swing within yourself. A short swing with decent torque is far more powerful than a long collapsed one. 

Talking of focusing on a shorter, more powerful move, have a go at just swinging from L-to-L. A great pitching exercise that also isolates the impact zone and is a great test of efficiency. 

Flower power

Our brain’s relationship with our muscles is a pretty incredible one. Sometimes just a reminder that triggers a move is far more effective than a complicated instruction. I love this drill as it can be used on the range then transferred to the course to also assist with alignment. 

Utilise the wildlife for a second and find a blade of grass, or even better a daisy (when the sun has been shining). Place this an inch or so ahead of your ball. This is your mini-target and will help you with how to aim in golf. Your mission is to hit your ball and collect that mini target. If you do this your club will have remained lower for longer and if you’re on the grass you may even have taken a divot. 

PGA pro Katie Dawkins using a flower to help with golf alignment

Use a mini-target to help you aim

(Image credit: Andy Dow (@adpy_sports))

If you missed the daisy then the likelihood is that you hit the ball on the up and were trying to 'scoop' it or help it in the air. Your weight transfer will not have been effective and power will be the last thing you’ll have experienced. Fear not as you can change this pretty fast. 

Resort to half-shots, as if punching the ball out from under low tree branches. A giant chip shot of sorts. Master this smaller move before hitting full shots with a small target ahead of your ball. You’ll be amazed how far that little swing can send a ball when that magic ingredient that is power is added. Build from here.

Taking this drill onto the course is easy. You can’t hunt for daisies and put one in front of your ball (this is not allowed), but you can take note of what is just ahead of your ball - something in line with your target. Use this to help you aim. Collect that mini-target on your way to a finish and the ball will just get in the way. Those great shots that feel effortless will begin to happen more and more. 

If you’re still struggling to generate a bit of oomph in your shots, then head to your PGA pro for a lesson or, more importantly, head to the gym. Lifting weights WILL give you a better sequence and therefore more power. So get squatting and deadlifting and reap those rewards. 

Katie Dawkins
Advanced PGA Professional and freelance contributor

Katie is an Advanced PGA professional with over 20 years of coaching experience. She helps golfers of every age and ability to be the best versions of themselves. In January 2022 she was named as one of Golf Monthly's Top 50 Coaches.

Katie coaches the individual and uses her vast experience in technique, psychology and golf fitness to fix problems in a logical manner that is effective - she makes golf simple. Katie is now based on the edge of the New Forest. An experienced club coach, she developed GardenGOLF during lockdown and as well as coaching at Hamptworth Golf Club she freelances, operating via pop-up clinics and travelling to clients homes to help them use their space to improve. 

She has coached tour pros on both LET tour and the Challenge Tour as well as introduced many a beginner to the game. 

Katie has been writing instructional content for magazines for 20 years. Her creative approach to writing is fuelled by her sideline as an artist.