There are so many tips out there, let’s analyze ‘Accelerate the arms into impact’
1. ‘Accelerate the arms on the downswing’ – This tip has been around and was even given during the REMAX World Long Drive Championship. Make sense, right? You need to swing fast, right?
2. Here comes the earth shattering part – You actually have to have a HUGE DECELERATION of the arms on the downswing. I know you’re questioning me here, but I’ve got evidence. If you look at the Kinematic Sequence (the arms curve is the blue curve) and you’ll see a huge acceleration and then a huge decel. For more evidence, Bob Grober (Head Physicist @ Yale), has just released a new paper explaining this phenomenon: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1001.1137v1
I’ve attached graphs from his paper that show exactly what happens. If you look at what happens from the open blue circle to the red star to the blue star, you see that on the downswing the arms have a rapid acceleration, then a huge deceleration, and then a small amount of time to reaccelerate.
To get a basic of understanding of this, try this experiment. Pretend you’re going to try to ‘sting’ someone with a towel (or better yet grab a towel). In the first case, try to accelerate your forearm as fast as possible. In the second case, try to accelerate your forearm and then decel your forearm as fast as you can and notice what happens. The energy will transfer to the towel and it will snap!
3. Kernel of truth – It is true you need that acceleration to start, but if you keep accelerating, the energy won’t release to the club. If you didn’t have a lever, then you’d need that to accelerate the entire time….but you do have a lever, so you need to transfer that energy.
4. Drill – A great drill for you to try is the ‘Hit and Hold drill’. It works best with a Speedball. You take a 3/4 backswing and then try to hit the target hard, but try to stop immediately after impact. This drill really helps you feel the decel. Also, it gives you great feedback to find out where you are post impact. Are you flipped? Are you chicken winged? Or are you in that Y position. When you first try this drill, make a small easy backswing and then try to stop post impact. Work your way up to bigger swings. You don’t want to hurt yourself by trying to make a full swing and stopping abruptly.
Once you learn to do this drill correctly, take that same feeling and try to apply it to a full swing. Your arms/hands will begin to act correctly.
Bottom Line – As with anything golf, there is a difference between feel and real. I don’t feel a huge decel of my arms, but that is what happens. I do try to keep my arms going, but the forces involved are what decelerates them. Just try the hit and hold drill and that should start to train you. (Shameless Plug – best done with mirrors and a Speedball) That is why I love drills to train a golfer. Once you learn to do the drill it will help you. Tips, on the other hand, are sometimes vague and it’s hard to know if you’re doing them correctly.