The X-Factor Secret for More Clubhead Speed

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You can generate more clubhead speed by getting your lower body to rotate first and your upper body following behind and catching up directly after impact with the golf ball. Director of Instruction at the TruGolf Academy Jon Watts presents a great lesson on how to improve your clubhead speed in your golf swing. Using some very clever visual aids to teach you the relationship between your lower and upper body rotation in the backswing which becomes your source of power in the downswing. By placing an alignment stick through the belt loops of your trousers across your hips you can very clearly see your hip rotation plane. Hopefully, it is circular with minimal lateral movement. Hip flexibility will vary between golfers but 30 to 45-degree hip rotation is fairly typical. By placing a club across your chest, you can now see the rotation of the upper body relative to the lower body rotation. Again, hopefully, both are rotating on the same plane, but the upper body should rotate in the range of 90 degrees or more. The difference between the amount of upper and lower body rotation is referred to as the X-factor stretch.

Disassociation Between the Upper Body and the Lower Body

The transition is the brief stage of the golf swing when the golf club reaches the top of the backswing and is just starting into the downswing. In the transition we want to look at the connection or the disconnection between what's happening with the lower body and the upper body. We don't want both our upper body and our lower body working at the same time and speed.

At the top of the backswing, good efficient golfers start their lower body a little bit before the upper body in the same way that you would if you were throwing a ball, serving in tennis ball or skimming a stone across water. Your pressured move to your trail foot and the first movement wouldn't be the upper body and it wouldn't be the upper body and the lower body at the same time.

To demonstrate this desired body movement and synchronization, we have a simple visual aid, which is an alignment stick placed through you belt loops. You can also use a little bit of cord with some velcro on it, so it's actually tied around your back and sits it right across your hip bones. This provides an idea of the actual amount to hip rotation in the back swing and the start of the downswing. When the alignment stick is through your belt loops, there will tend to be a little bit of slack, and it will move a little bit more, but it will still give you a good idea and a good feel of what your hip rotation.

Cane and Club Drill

The exercise you should perform is to put a 7-iron across your shoulders and then cross your arms across to your chest.  Hold it in you're going to be focusing on the golf ball trying to keep your head relatively still. Now make a back swing. What we're aiming for here is about 90 degrees of shoulder turn and my hips have turned about 35 to 40 degrees. The gap between your shoulder and hip rotation, at 40 degrees of hip turn a 90-degree shoulder turn is a 50-degree x-factor stretch. We're trying to increase that gap. This brings more clubhead speed, more power and more distance. The bigger that gap between our upper body and lower body as we start the downswing in our transition the more speed, we're going to be able to generate through impact. The best in the world at this is Rory McIlroy. With a driver, his figures are 105-degrees of shoulder turn with only 45-degrees a hip turn. He's got a huge x-factor to stretch.

The first exercise was the club across your shoulders and the alignment stick across your hips - then wind up to the top of the backswing and try and start your downswing with the lower body first. The upper body shouldn't catch up with a lower body until about two foot after impact, at which point your hips should be around 30 to 35 degrees open. Your shoulders should catch up and marry up with your hips after you've hit the golf ball. One of the big problems we see with a lot of golfers is that they are leading their downswing with their upper body. Their upper body will actually catch up to the lower body before they ever hit the golf ball. This means they're generating the highest speeds of their golf swing at the midpoint of the downswing and actually slowing down into impact. We don't want that.

Two Cane Contact Drill

Another great exercise to build this upper and lower body disassociation is to put another alignment stick into the ground behind you. Your goal is to have the alignment stick that is placed across your hips to make contact with the alignment stick in the ground behind you before making impact with the golf ball. You can practice by taking practice swings or hitting a tee peg on the ground. Once you've gotten used to the movement, go ahead and actually try it with a golf ball. Wind up to the top of the backswing and try and get the alignment stick across your hips to hit the one in the ground, getting the feeling of the lower body out racing the upper body. This will probably feel over-exaggerating if this is a fault of yours where you're under using the lower body.

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