Some Players have lots of available power, while others seem to struggle to hit the ball from even the shortest rough. In this article, I will outline some physical factors that will help you understand the real meaning of power, which will be followed by an overview of the importance of maintaining an efficient centre of gravity.

Power is described by Paul Chek as: “A term that is used to describe force with respect to time.” This is not strictly true, but it is perhaps a way in which the layman can understand the concept of power. It may be thought of as the rate of doing work that is measured in either Watts or Horse Power. Chek also states: “To apply the principle of power to golf, consider how fast the club head is moving at impact. The faster the club head is moving, then the more powerful the golfer.”

Power is not the same thing as force, for example a powerful machine is not necessarily a machine that can exert or apply a strong force, it can, however, transfer a lot of force or energy in a short space of time. We often hear sports commentators say that so and so has “explosive power”, sprinters need it, as do gymnasts and golfers.

Imagine that we have identical twins with identical swings, not too likely, but we are using our imagination aren’t we? Now, assume that we stop them both at the top of the swing: they have exactly the same distance to cover in order to strike the ball and, if they are swinging the same club in terms of design, weight, length and flex, then the amount of work to be done is the same. If one of the twins were to return the club to the ball earlier than the other then there would be a difference in power.

So the formula for Power is:

Power =     Work done (joules)

                  Time taken (seconds)

In order to find the amount of “work done”, we must use the following formula:

Work done = Force x Distance moved

Centre of gravity

Centre of gravity can also be called centre of mass: “If a force pushes from behind a mass and is not directed exactly through the centre of mass, then the mass must rotate”.

It is therefore vital that the mass is pulled, as the laws of physics dictate that when a mass is pulled it must align with and follow the force, therefore a club is more stable during the swing when it is being pulled.

Dave Peltz states that: “As the golfer pulls the mass down towards the ball, he/she creates a stable swing. The heavy club head follows the lightweight shaft in the direction of the golfer’s hands. If the golfer continues to accelerate and consistently pulls the club head through impact, the club will continue to travel on a stable path.”

During a swing, the ability to maintain centre of gravity line over the player’s base of support is vital to the success a player will have in maintaining their optimal swing path and axis. The centre of gravity is the point through which the whole weight of an object seems to act.

It was very common to hear the old professionals state that good players were less than six feet tall. Of course, as the years have passed most players are now at least six feet tall, with some as much as six feet and six inches tall! With the extra height that these players have, some huge advantages in terms of width of arc and angle of attack are found, but unfortunately they also have to work hard to maintain their balance, due to their natural centre of gravity being positioned higher from the ground.

Next article: Spin and swerve                                            

GOLF is written by Tony Bennett the head coach of Bennett’s Golf Learning Centres (BGLC), with centres located in Alto Golf, Alvor, Quinta da Ria, Tavira, Montado, Palmela and Santa da Serra, Madeira. For more information, advice on a specific point or general enquiry please e-mail [email protected], call 932 524 253 or visit If you would like to subscribe to our monthly newsletter then please e-mail [email protected]