Centrifugal vs. Centripetal Force

Bradley Hughes explains the difference between centrifugal and centripetal force, and what comes into play in different phases of your swing.


Centrifugal force is when the club moves away from us, and that can happen on the backswing. Club is moving away from me. That's fine. That's creating some width to be able to load it centripetally back into my body.

So a lot of people will go this way, that way. They're actually getting the club away from the body, a lot of the time because they are too narrow on the way back. When we're here, we have no space to move so we have to start working the club away. So they work the club away, and then they work it further away. A lot of timing involved in that because we're working it away, trying to get it on the ball.

And then working it away again in an effort to try and keep some speed on the club, because it's actually slowing down from doing this. So the best players, they did not get too narrow on the way back because they knew the downswing transition was a loading, was a loading force. And we'll see that in Sergio and Hogan, especially how we'll see the club work back into them, back into them.

Centrifugal-- centripetal, then we use centrifugal force, yeah, the want of the club to swing, to hit, to get moving again. It's really the late hit. But what they did is they didn't let the club move away from them too much on the way through.

There's a few people that will look a little bit released. I tend to release a little bit centrifugal, away from me, but I have the knowledge that my body has to keep moving so it doesn't affect my golf ball too much. I can still control my ball because I'm not just stopping my body. So I may look a little bit like this, but my body is continuing. That's the key. We've talked about in other videos after impact, very important part of the swing.

So what the good players did is they went wide, load, centrifugal, centripetal, and they didn't centrifugal force the club away from them again. I'm going to run out of clubs soon. They actually fought the urge of that by working the arms back in and closer to them and utilizing the body on the way through. So they fought the centrifugal by again, keeping centripetal on the way through. That's why they got up to the high finish.

Centrifugal when we throw away. We'll see a fold. Centripetal, we'll see high finish. That's a really good guide to understand a lot about what's happening through the swing, what the forces are. Forces are tough because we can't see them.

If you know what you're looking for, you can understand a little bit more. So the good player didn't work it away. They, they kept it tighter to them on the way through. They fought the opposition of the club moving away by accelerating late and using the body, and we can see how much straight that club went. It didn't fly off to the right.

So that's the difference. It means a fair bit in the golf swing. We can mix them up a little bit, but the big key is backswing, we want to create centrifugal force, or use centrifugal force. We want to load the club back in, which is centripetal, club coming back in towards us. Centrifugal to get the speed of the hit again, and then don't just eliminate what happens after impact.

It's a real-- you can see it in guys' necks, see it in their arms when they're hitting. You can see the veins. They're not just la-ti-daing the club off.

They are fighting the resistance of that club to move away from them by keeping the arms closer, turning out of the way, and putting a centripetal force where it keeps closer to them on the way through. So that's how they got the most control. That's why that was so good.