There’s an easy way to get more power, and hit straighter shots. Quit trying to hit the ball a long way, and quit trying to hit the ball straight. To do those things, or to stop doing them, you need only do one thing when you swing the club: quit.
One of golf’s major shot-wreckers is starting the downswing too hard; that is, powering into the ball from the top of the backswing. That’s much too soon. What will happen is the club gets thrown off track, the clubface gets out of alignment, and it is actually decelerating by the time the clubhead gets to the ball.
What I am suggesting is that when your hands reach their upper limit, quit. Let your downswing start by gravity alone. Let the club coast into the hitting area, accelerated only by your turn of your body and your arms, carried by that turn.
If you learn how to do this, you will find your clubhead flying through the ball with massive, and seemingly effortless, acceleration, square and in line.
The idea here is that you begin your swing only once. Once it has begun, let it continue to its conclusion. Do not start it again in the middle, which is what you do when you hit from the top. Instead, let the club start downward by itself without you making it go down — without you starting a downward movement.
Let’s go over how this is done. It’s easiest to learn with a chipping stroke. Say you’re about twenty yards off the green and you will chip on with a pitching wedge. You would take the club back until your hands are about hip-high. From there, just let gravity start the club down, using your arms and turn only to guide it. Do not add any power. Once the club gets near the hitting zone, you still won’t need to add any power, because the natural acceleration you have created will be more than enough.
The point of this exercise is that you don’t add any “hit” to the shot, because this one doesn’t need any, but more importantly, you learn what it feels like when you don’t apply power from the start of the downswing. You learn that the shot you get out of it is more authoritative than you might think, and goes straight with clean contact.
Practice this shot a lot until you are comfortable with the feeling, believe in what you’re doing, and learn exactly how to “quit” and get a good shot out of it. Only then can you gradually lengthen your backswing until you’re making a full swing, but with the “quit” feeling to start the downswing.
I think you will find that what happens is that the club accelerates freely and easily into the ball. The swing becomes effortless. The shots you get go straight and just as far as before. You get more from doing less.