Find the x factor power move

Golf Monthly Top 25 Coach Kevin Craggs reveals how to increase your swing speed for improved power and distance off the tee

Golf tips: inject some power
Golf Monthly Top 25 Coach Kevin Craggs on how to get more driving power
(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Golf Monthly Top 25 Coach Kevin Craggs explains how to find the x factor power move to create more speed through impact for extra yards

There are certain occasions when a little extra power off tee could help you reach a par 5 in two and this is why you need to find the x factor power move. However, swinging harder at the ball is a risky option - you might lose your timing as well as your accuracy.

Instead, try to focus on the mechanics of the swing that generate speed and more distance. What I mean by that is the mobility of your upper body. Before you address the ball, make a few practice swings with your right foot drawn back slightly.

As you reach the top of the backswing you should feel the resistance between your upper and lower body and if you pause for a moment here you should find this hard to hold - that's a good thing! It is this 'tension' that creates speed that allows you to unwind powerfully through the ball.

Make a series of practice swings feeling this resistance through a strong upper body coil and then try to replicate the move as you address the ball for real.

Importantly, your upper body needs to turn by about 90˚ (so that your back is facing the target at the top of the swing) but your hips should only turn a fraction of this amount (maybe 45˚). It is the difference between these two angles that is sometimes described as the 'x' factor and is essential power and control.

If you can find the x factor power move and groove it into your golf swing, you'll add distance without having to swing any harder. That's a combination we can all enjoy!

Guard against this: Many golfers swing their arms without turning their upper body. You may feel as though you've reached the top, but you're cheating yourself out of much-needed power. You need to swing your arms with the turn of your body.


Neil Tappin
Digital Editor

In his current role, Neil is responsible for testing drivers and golf balls. Having been a part of the Golf Monthly team for over 15 years and playing off a handicap of 3, he has the experience to compare performance between models, brands and generations. For 2022 he thinks the main trend in drivers is: "In a word, consistency. Whilst all the brands are talking about ball speed (and the new drivers are certainly long), my biggest finding has been how much more consistent the ball flights are. Mishits don't seem to be causing the same level of drop-off or increase in the spin numbers. This means that more shots seem to be flying the way you want them to!" As far as golf balls are concerned the biggest development is in the, "three piece, non-Tour, urethane-covered section. For regular golfers, these models offer superb performance at both ends of the bag without denting your wallet quite as much as the premium Tour-played options."

Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he is now the brand's Digital Editor and covers everything from Tour player interviews to gear reviews. In his time at Golf Monthly, he has covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points. 

Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSR2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X