Vertical Peak Power and Jump Height
Looking further into our vertical peak power score with jumps, we wanted to look at if having a certain level of vertical peak power could almost guarantee a specific club speed. If these measurements are actually valuable, then the highest jumpers will also have the highest swing speeds.
When looking at the top 95th percentile of jump scores for males (which ended up being over 9,000 W), this group’s average swing speed was 118.8 mph, with a range of 99.9-133.1 mph. For our entire sample of 700 male golfers who we calculated a jump score for, the average swing speed was 98.7 mph, lower in fact than even our slowest male with a high-end jump score.
For the females, with a sample of 312 ladies who we calculated a jump score for, the average swing speed of our top performers (jump score over 7,000 W) was 96.4 mph, far above the average for the entire data set of 84.1 mph. Our minimum swing speed in the high-end jumping group was lower relatively than their male counterparts, at 77.3 mph, meaning the relationship was not as concrete for the females as the males when it comes to having both high-end (for this population) jump power and swing speed.
To give an idea of where this puts athletes in terms of weight and jump, an 185 lb athlete will need to jump 28” to reach the 9000 W threshold. As you can see, for most sports this is a relatively low threshold.
Isn’t This Obvious? Most Every Sport Tests and Emphasizes Vertical Jump!
Lower body power tests such as a vertical jump are not standard operating procedures in most golf fitness analyses, but are rather substituted for things that look far more “golf-like” and make sense to the average golfer of looking enough like a swing to probably be helpful. It is also our goal to combat the utter lack of data that exists for these golf-like movements and drive the industry towards accepting data-backed outcomes as the main determinants of performance.
Vertical Peak Power from Multiple Realms
The beauty of using our scaled score was that it also brought up conversations with our athletes about their weight. For our juniors, it drove a bigger emphasis on fueling their high activity levels in order to produce good muscle mass and protect their bodies. With many of our juniors playing and practicing 4 or more hours per day, they are burning a serious amount of fuel, especially in hot and humid North Carolina. Without the proper caloric intake, we were seeing a stall of weight gain, or even worse, weight loss. Despite the players’ best efforts in the gym, their speeds were not increasing. After even a few weeks of focusing on basic nutrition concepts, we saw an increase in speeds, energy levels, and a decrease in common overuse injuries like low back pain and wrist pain.
For our adults, our conversations turned into ways to keep their entire body healthy. With the effort they regularly put into the gym, we wanted to make sure their nutrition backed it up. For them and our juniors, there seemed to be a tipping point in our data where more body mass was beneficial up to a point – Bryson Dechambeau is certainly doing his best to find out where that line is! Focusing on better nutrition, while some folks lost weight, aided in producing better recovery from workouts, better improvements in jump height, and overall better scaled jumping scores which saw an improvement in swing speed as well.