First, a Few Club Head Speed Basics
We trust that you’re already smart enough to understand that swinging wildly out of our shoes won’t do your golf game (or your back) any favors. Ask yourself, what good has it really done you if you connect on the ball with a full body blast and pound your drive 300 yards but with a nasty 75 yard slice.
Instead, what the pros, and any real veteran golfer will tell you, is that there is a big difference between “swinging hard” and “swinging fast” – the latter of which involves generating club head speed that’s controlled, well-timed, and highly effective. Here’s is legendary instructor Hank Haney explaining this concept further.
There’s also a reason why pro golfers often look like they swing so slow, but yet their swing speed is 10-20 mph faster than the swings of amateurs. Essentially they understand, perhaps better than anyone, how to generate the most club head speed at exactly the right time. That time being at the very bottom of the swing, timed perfectly with impact.
So if you’re up there on the tee “swinging out of your shoes” chances are your wasting more energy than you think. The key to effective club head speed has more to do with tempo and timing at impact than anything else.
Understanding Average Swing Speeds
The best players on TOUR have an average swing speed of between 110 and 115 mph. Furthermore, some of the long drive champions have amazing club head speeds north of 140 mph, while the leading LPGA players have been measured between 90 and 100 mph. Contrast that to the average amateur male golfer with swing speeds closer to 80 and 90 mph.
That said, a relatively small increase in club head speed of just five or ten mph can translate to a significant amount of additional kinetic energy that helps the ball travel further, and often on a better trajectory.
How to Add Club Head Speed
Applying what we’ve learned, now let’s focus our attention on three simple ways to help you find some accelerated speed at the bottom of your swing:
#1 Find your “Whoosh”
Remember earlier when we talked about swinging “hard” vs. swinging “fast?” Far too often we see golfers working on speeding up their entire swing and wasting a lot of energy in the process. The reality is that when it comes to club head speed, timing is as important as anything else, and ideally you want to time your maximum club head speed with the moment of impact.
An excellent exercise for honing your swing speed and club head release timing is something often referred to as the “whoosh” drill. Here is Erika Larkin, PGA explaining how it’s done:
#2 Fix your Grip
Although it’s never an easy thing to do, fixing your golf grip can be essential to solving any issues relating to club speed, impact problems, slices, and hooks. A proper grip allows you to release the club through impact thus freeing up the club head to achieve maximum speed at just the right time.
See this video for an excellent demonstration of why a proper grip and club head speed are so closely intertwined.
#3 Improve your Fitness
A simple workout routine can help strengthen your torso and enable you to power though the ball better at the bottom of your swing. By picking up a set of elastic workout bands and doing basic torso exercises like Tubing Punches, or a simple Wood Chop, you can increase strength in your hips and chest to give you more twisting power and flexibility, both important keys to building club head speed.
Swinging a weighted golf club (which you can find on Amazon for about $25) is another way to help build strength in those golf-specific muscles used to generate the twisting motion that will ultimately lead to improved swing speed. A weighted club can also help you gain a better feel of the club head releasing through impact (similar to the whoosh drill above), which will help you better identify the moment of maximum club head speed.
So next time you’re out on the course and want to drive that 280 yard par 4, don’t be like this guy.
Instead, remember that club head speed is best improved through the application of key swing fundamentals, proper timing, and targeted strength and flexibility training.
Oh, and as the old saying goes, “you can’t improve what you don’t measure” so if you want a quick and easy way to track your club head speed try picking up a simple swing speed radar to use during your range sessions. Just don’t get too hung up on maxing out at crazy speeds, remember to work to improve in small increments and always keep your swing under control. Fast swings with errant shots are not the key to scoring better.
What are some of the ways you’ve worked to improve you own club head speed? Let us know by leaving your comments below.