When it comes to increasing a golfer’s length off the tee, there is only really one number that matters…ball speed. Once you have achieved the ball speed you want, then it is all about optimizing the launch angle etc that will maximize the distance for you off the tee.
That being said, there are a few things that go into creating the ball speed you desire. Quality of contact and club head speed are two such elements that can impact ball speed for example. The rest of this article will focus on steps that a golfer can take to maximize club head speed.
To maximize club head speed, there are four major components that a golfer needs to be aware of: equipment, technique, mobility and power. I like to think of it as a pie chart of four equal areas in general, but in reality the percentages are going to change from golfer to golfer.
A new driver, a better fitting ball or a fitted shaft are just three pieces of the equipment world that can help your club to move faster, or even more importantly, help your ball speed to be maximized. Not to mention that a proper fitting set of clubs will improve accuracy and overall scoring consistency.
Technique improvements such as those you can gain by working with a PGA or LPGA professional can also reap incredible rewards when it comes to increasing the swing speed. I have personally seen some golfers jump 10 mph after a simple technique change in how they were delivering the club to the ball…that’s about 30 yards!
Now we get to the two remaining components that address the golfer’s biggest asset and the one that affects the first two, their body. Without a proper functioning body, the first two areas don’t matter. If a golfer is in pain or unable to swing due to physical limitations, no amount of technology or swing modifications can help.
Mobility, the third component to increasing club head speed is critical, particularly in the 4 major rotary centers of the neck, shoulder, thoracic spine and hips. If a golfer is not able to rotate in any of these centers, they MUST compensate somehow. This leads to undue stress on the other joints above and below and eventually injury, not to mention the power lost on every single swing or the shot dispersion that widens due to inconsistency.
Here is a link to a free home golf fitness mobility assessment you can take yourself to see if you pass. Shoot us an email at [email protected] after you take it if you fail anything so we can send you some fixes!
The final component that is critical to increasing clubhead speed is the one that a lot of people don’t talk about correctly, power.
Power is the sum of force produced (strength) + speed of movement. How much force you can produce and how fast you can move it creates power output that in the golf swing is expressed as club head speed. The faster you swing the club, the more power you are creating.
To increase power, you can either increase your ability to produce force (get stronger) or increase your ability to go fast (nervous system training). To increase force, there are different strength training protocols that work better for different golfers, which is critical to understand.
For the junior golfer, conventional training outperforms the average 12 week gain in clubhead speed by 37% compared to other training. For the 50+ golfer, triphasic training (focusing on each of the three phases of movement) outperformed the average 12 week gain in clubhead speed by 50%!
If you are looking to increase your strength or ability to produce force, using the correct strength training protocol for your age is critical. If you use the wrong one, our research has shown it can have up to a 12% detrimental effect on your clubhead speed gains compared to the average expected gains in 12 weeks. Know what type of training you need and make sure you are helping yourself and not hurting your game!
The final component of power is speed development. The key to this is training the nervous system to move faster than it is used to. Overspeed training is one type of technique that can be used to maximize how fast the nervous system is moving that we have seen up to 15 mph gains (an extreme example and not the usual) in 15 minutes. The average that we see in a golfer’s first session is about 5-7 mph. Stay tuned for an article on the different methodologies and protocols coming soon!
Other more athletically focused development that works on increasing the nervous system’s ability to increase speed and power production includes plyometrics, jump training and sprint work as well as medicine ball work and olympic lift variations.
As you can see, there are a lot of different variables to consider and nuances to get right as you dive deeper into each of the four primary components (Equipment, Technique, Mobility & Power).
As you look to improve your speed, let us help you figure out which of the four components are most important for your successful season coming up! Give us a call at 919-377-2084 or shoot us an email at [email protected].
You can also set up a complementary phone or in person consult here
Swing Faster. Play Better. Hurt Less.