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Harnessing Ground Reaction Forces: The Key to Hitting the Golf Ball Further

Hi friends and golfers! My name is coach Erik Schjolberg of EJS Golf located in beautiful Scottsdale, AZ. You can find my academy at McCormick Ranch Golf Club. Are you wanting to understand how you can move a bit different and leverage the ground to hit bombs like you see on TV? This is where you find the big difference, well, one of them when you talk to professionals vs. amateurs. When you start to feel the ground as your driver in you golf swing, you have worked hard and are on track to some great golf!

This comprehensive post is dedicated to helping you understand and utilize the power of Ground Reaction Forces (GRFs) to hit the golf ball further. GRFs are key biomechanical aspects of the golf swing that, when harnessed correctly, can significantly increase your driving distance. So, let's dive in.

Video - Stomp n'Go Drill for Power and Speed

Part 1: Understanding Ground Reaction Forces

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction; this is a fundamental principle of physics introduced by Sir Isaac Newton, which also lays the foundation of GRFs. When you make a golf swing, the force exerted by your body on the ground is met with an equal force from the ground back onto your body. This returning force is known as the Ground Reaction Force.

Three types of GRFs exist: Vertical, Horizontal (Shear), and Rotational (Torque). Each type has a unique role in the golf swing and influences the ball's distance and trajectory in different ways. To hit the ball further, it's crucial to generate and efficiently use all three types of GRFs.

Part 2: Generating Ground Reaction Forces

Generating powerful GRFs begins with a solid setup and effective weight shift. Here's how:

1. Vertical Force:

The vertical force is the up-and-down interaction between you and the ground. It helps create "jump" or "push-off" during the swing, crucial for maximum clubhead speed. To maximize this force, set up with a slightly wider stance, ensure a good dynamic balance, and focus on a robust weight shift in the backswing.

2. Horizontal Force:

Horizontal or shear force comes into play when there's lateral motion between your body and the ground. This force helps with weight shift during the swing, crucial for power generation. To generate sufficient horizontal force, focus on shifting your weight towards your target during the downswing.

3. Rotational Force:

The rotational or torque force involves the turning or twisting action between your body and the ground, crucial for an efficient release of energy. To optimize this force, set up with your feet slightly flared outwards and focus on a full hip turn in the backswing and an aggressive hip rotation in the downswing.

Part 3: Utilizing Ground Reaction Forces

Now that we've covered generating GRFs let's discuss how to effectively use them to hit the golf ball further:

1. Synchronization:

Synchronization of GRFs with your golf swing is critical. You must know when to generate which force and how to transition smoothly from one to the other. The order in which the ground reaction forces measured by my 3D Dual Force plates peaked in the downswing was remarkably consistent, no matter what player I have looked at. This order is: horizontal (back/front) force always peaked first, torque always peaked second, and the vertical force always peaked third. This is the kinematic sequence.

2. Efficient Energy Transfer:

The total force exerted on the ball isn't just about how much force you can generate but also how efficiently you can transfer it. The key lies in maintaining a stable and well-angled club shaft at impact, allowing the force to be efficiently transferred to the ball. This is where braking forces come into play. We have to have an accelerator and that is typically the straightening of the lead leg.

3. Customization:

Every golfer is unique, and hence, the application of GRFs will differ. Factors like body type, flexibility, and swing characteristics can influence the amount and type of force a golfer can generate. As a coach, I advocate for a personalized approach to harnessing GRFs, tailored to each golfer's capabilities. I have learned from Mike Adams and Terry Rowles that players are on of three posts: middle, front or rear. There is an easy test for this. This needs to be known so I know what to focus on with the golfer in front of me.

To truly tap into the power of GRFs, you need more than just theoretical knowledge. Practical, feedback-driven practice is crucial. At EJS Golf, we leverage advanced technologies like Trackman 4 Launch Monitor, 3D Pressure Plates, 3D Video, Hackmotion, and more, all aimed to help golfers understand and apply GRFs effectively. The main component is the pressure plates.

Remember, it's not about getting worse before you get better. It's about improvement from the get-go. For that, you must train smartly, not just hard. If you are based in Scottsdale, AZ, join us for Scottsdale Golf Lessons at McCormick Ranch Golf Club. If you are somewhere else in the world, we got you covered with our Online Golf Lessons. You can find more information on our lessons at and respectively.

Harnessing GRFs is not an overnight process, it's a journey. However, with a dedicated commitment to daily, feedback-driven practice, it's a journey that will undoubtedly lead to improved performance and increased driving distance. There are tons of drills to get you, the golfer, to feel what you need to feel to gain confidence pushing hard into the ground.

Remember, every golfer has the potential to improve and hit the golf ball further. The first step in that journey? Understanding and leveraging Ground Reaction Forces. Let's embark on that journey today, together.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. For more insights into golf theory, mindset, anatomy, physics, biomechanics, and human learning principles, do visit our website and our about page at Remember, in 15 minutes per day you can become a completely different golfer that you have only dreamed of in the past.

Erik Schjolberg

EJS Golf Academy

Scottsdale Golf Lessons

Online Golf Lessons


Hi friends and golfers this is something called The Stomp and Go Drill so this is for those that really struggle with interaction with the ground how we're supposed to use it where are we moving into our feet so we can get some good ground reaction forces and I know that's the kind of buzzword of the day ground reaction forces but what is it and why why is it such a big buzz these days well so what happened is you know through technology we start finding out more and more things and so we start measuring and then we measure more like why is this person you know creating more swing speed than this person and you you start breaking the swing down and then they had the ability to start looking when certain sensors came out and applied them to golf to look where our Center pressure is and then it built up and that just kind of said where our pressure is moving Mass versus pressure so pressure is more important to you I try to not use the word weight we're moving around we're moving pressure I don't ever want to move Mass like this I want to move pressure Okay so it kind of showed where the center pressure is moving along a path so then we started looking at horizontal then you have vertical these are the the uh you know the ground ground reaction force and they have rotational and so typically a golfer is a better and one of them is usually their Prime well when they're best at you know then they'll have a second and third usually not as good so kind of at the beginning of this thing when they started to find out more about grinder action forces like okay so if you're really good at say rotational really good and then finally you know you get to um vertical and you're you know you don't even make the charge for a pro you're really low well so let's just increase vertical then because the other two what it was great the other's right on the tour average the third one is awful so let's increase that third one sounds reasonable doesn't it well like many things found out that didn't work okay so because what you're doing is you ended up taking away basically something that they're really good at to give them something that they'd have to work really hard and never truly excel at it okay so you kind of want to I'm not saying you never want to work on one of those threat you're not great at but what's really work on let's see the thing is you know getting into this is everybody's different so I don't want to say everybody's the same with us but if you are a person that is if I go like this we have different posts front middle rear if I go like this this is a rear post player they're moving over their leg they're going to probably be a very a person who's very lateral movement is where they create their power okay now we got middle so just the person's kind of in the middle and then you got somebody who's going to the front so they kind of load up more on the front leg they're going to be vertical um the rotary for the middle okay so those would be what they're dominant at just by the movement that I showed you to figuring that out okay all you do is put your plug right here on your upper thigh and just kind of go back and see where you are I kind of go in between very middle to a little bit to the front um so I think I'm kind of the middle and I mean I know I am it's just it's with the stash show too so we learned more about the ground reaction forces and what the what how they work and how they can help us so Newton's Laws help a lot too to understand what we put in we're going to get back equally so we put Force into the ground we're gonna get that back it just doesn't come out of nothing I have to push if I push in I'm going to get some I'm gonna get that back okay so let's go over a drill like that's going to help you start to feel the movement of what we want to do um of moving our a feeling where we're kind of moving with our feet and pressure points in our feet to start to get a little bit of a grip grip of what happens down low and I'll add one more thing here that um when you talk to um high-level golfers um it's interesting you'll find verse let's say the regular amateur and you'll ask the high level very high level golfer about their golf swing what will they typically what they'll say is you'll hear them talk from the ground up about their golf swing typically now you ask any most amateurs and where are they top down typically oh my shoulders my hips my elbow any of those things one of the other guys are talking about the ground and so and I I can just tell you this when you can and I see this in my students all the time that jump to that next level when they start to understand their interaction with the ground and that becomes what they use to move now you're already using it but it's more it's more of what I'm saying is being fully aware so they're aware now that they're going to start their golf swing by using the ground in a certain way and they're going to continue with the ground in a certain way you know when when they have those feelings and start talking to that manner that's they've gone over to this new realm of a golfer and um that's to me that's really neat to see from you know just working at that hey you know this is we just built this new golfer that is talking very very different than when I met him um so how are we going to start there's many different ways I'll set it right right off the bat just start working on this but I think a really good way to kind of feel how we want to kind of move um it's simple it's just basically I just want you to set up let's try this without a ball here first so we're just going to set up like normal it's totally normal okay now I want you to do this I want you to lift your right heel up off the ground okay I'm gonna bring the club up here to start now I'm gonna go real slow so when this club comes back I'm going to hammer this heel down and I'm also gonna start picking up this front foot so I'm going to end up I'm hammering the heel down so I'm feeling when I say heel it's inside right below where you tie your shoelaces so about right here okay not back here okay that's where that's where I'm feeling when I move when I do my swing I'm feeling pressure into my trail heel I'm right here I I feel like I push really hard into the ground right here so I don't go like that or anything so it's not Masons isn't going over there I am pushing pressure hard so when I get on a pressure mat or plates and look at mine you know I'll see myself Spike up to 80 or 90 and my body hasn't moved it's still in the same spot but I'm pushing so hard into that and creating pressure and that's a lot better than just moving your mass over there because you can't get your mask back in time most likely if you're doing doing it like I see most amateurs um so we're just gonna go we'll finish this off heal up pile that down and now so when we get to the top of our backswing okay I have moved into my trail heel and told your shoelaces and then my left I'm on my front toe okay toes let's say kind of the pad not the toes and the heels off the ground okay so before I even had gotten to this point I should have I'm going real slow but I will slam that down the heel down and I'm starting to rotate now when I'm rotating I slam that down I'm starting to push back on my left side now that I'm moving out towards my toe on the right so I'm feeling this movement like this to help me get out of the way so what actually cleared your hips this is like this huge misconception you know I see most people oh I gotta clear my hips because what do they see on TV or something you know they turn off like this or they just they try to spin out like it is never a good idea and I promise you this to try to clear your hips in the golf swing by doing any movement this like this this tried effort like that because it's false okay it needs to happen from the origins of the ground what we do so when I'm on the ground here so I've done that and heels up now watch when I go I push my heel down watch As I push back from my toe towards my heel I'm pushing really hard on the ground look what it does you see my leg gets straightened up but look what happens at the same time when I push back the hip look what it does so if you see I'm now I'm on the outside my foot you'll see Bryce and it goes really hard he'll eventually go like that but there's your sign you've done it okay so that's that's kind of the up and down we want to do so we're feeling this boom to toe we're going to slam this left one down our front and then we're just going to rotate it's going to feel pretty natural if we do it so start off pretty slow now remember when we are getting the uh the heel Down Under on our front leg um that has to happen when we do it right before I finish my backswing so I would be like this well this well the club is still going up I've slammed that down okay so that's the same thing like when you're throwing a ball see how the my midsection is going like this and my arm is still going back same movement of anything for baseball or whatever when you're hitting you get those the separation of the two and that's what we need to do in golf that's why you'll see all those drills I show of Step drills and stuff like that you'll find on under my name online YouTube or wherever Instagram they're all to help with that feeling of separation of your lower and upper Okay so you just want to work on this drill and start to you know pick up pace with it you'll find out eventually it's going to be easier the faster you go okay and this is something we can definitely you know hit balls with gonna go like this so I'm not going to try to hit this hard I'm gonna go here heel up Okay so I'm slitting my stats here on track man so you know I hit it a little thin but it was almost pretty dead straight I have it set up to a pin I put it about I don't know uh 10 feet away so you know club path was one five face angle was 0.2 um you know I just caught it a little bit thin tack angle was down 4.9 about four inches out in front so this is the drill you wanted to start to learn how the ground how you are going to interact with the ground boom boom before you finish your back swing and let that push to open okay so if you want to know if you're not aware of exactly what impact looks like you need to know this um I can't tell you how many times I'm in a lesson with somebody who's even been playing a long time and ask them can you show me what impact looks like and they just say like I don't know so think about this how are you ever going to get in a good impact position if you don't even know what it looks like right just we're not going to so impact how are we going to do it just kind of watch what I do here.

Look I'm out here hips are probably 30 something degrees shoulders maybe slightly open okay you're gonna see this tilt back my head's going to be still back on the ball and here hands are nicely ahead I'm going to be coming down like that perfectly on it catching it the ball first and probably below 0.4 inches ahead Okay so hands leading right so we should see if we look at a video that the swing will go hands wheel left the club will kind of be out here okay so we're going to work on this heel up and you can just practice do it with uh without a ball okay if that helps you feel start to feel we're doing with the ground uh it's something I took had to take a lot of time off this last two years um due to my hand I just started being all Swinging with hand surgery many of you already know um it's something I need to do at find time to because I just noticed like doing these I just don't feel you know as comfortable you know doing them but as I you know used to be so it's something I'm gonna have to add into my routine to get that good feel of going again of working with the ground so building blocks right.

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