Need for speed

Need for speed

By Mary Doyle

January 24, 2020

How can I drive it as far as DJ?

Hitting the ball further brings with it many advantages in the game of golf. Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Brooks Keopka’s golf games have been big advocators of this, and it’s hard not to aspire to hit the ball as far as possible. But how do you gain more distance? Personally, this is one of the main areas I am looking to improve in my own game, so naturally I looked to the player who has one the fastest clubhead speeds I’ve seen in person for advice. My co-worker, Niall, can swing the big stick at 127mph and still managing to keep his balance after contact. After speaking to him, I’ve gained a greater insight about how building clubhead speed works and what factors can affect it;

  1. Centeredness of strike – Nothing makes the ball go further than hitting the middle of the clubface, if you can’t hit it out of the middle consistently, this is the first thing you should master. Off-centred strikes can lead to more curvature and less ball speed. If you have access to Trackman, have a look at your smash factor numbers – you should be aiming for a figure around 1.5 to reach your maximum carry distance.
  2. Custom fitting – Probably the easiest and most overlooked impactors on a player’s swing speed is ill fitted golf clubs. If you’re clubs are not fitted correctly, they can affect your strike and clubhead speed. The weight, length, loft and lie are oh so important, especially when you’re trying to reach your potential with regards to distance.
  3. Movement screening – TPI (Titleist performance institution) screening or any fundamental movement screen can help you become aware of your limitations. This is where ‘Swinging it like Rory’ may not be a possibility for everyone, since everyone’s body is different. Being able to rotate your shoulders and hips, being flexible enough to get into a good posture, and being strong enough to maintain good posture throughout the swing are all impacting factors in relation to getting some extra yards off the tee.
  4. Gym work – this is where you can work on both your body and golf mechanics. Building a solid and strong foundation, i.e. your body, can really help not only your clubhead speed but also your overall swing. Tiger, Keopka, the Korda sisters, Lexi Thompson are all gym fanatics, and their performances should be enough evidence to support the fact that working on your body is becoming a bigger priority in golf. Especially if you want to shoot lower scores and out-drive your playing partners. Nils Conway is a good account to follow on social media for some golf-related exercises!
  5. Working on speed – Similar to when you decide you are going to practice chipping, or putting, or iron play, you also must decide that you are going to practice building swing speed. Niall recommended a few different options for this; try using speed sticks and practice swinging with them right-handed and left handed, (N.B. you must build strength on both sides). You can also try building up your speed in a range session – hit 10 balls at 60% speed, the 70%, 80%, 90%, 100%, then hit 5 balls at your absolute max, or what Niall likes to call your 110% speed. Speed is a specific area of a player’s game, therefore if you want to see an improvement in that area, you must decide and commit to practicing/working on it.

These five tips should help increase your swing speed and allow you to hit it further. However, the main underlying point here is; everyone’s body is different, and therefore everyone will swing the club differently, giving way to unique abilities and strengths. Therefore, one person may need to get stronger in the gym to gain more speed, another might have to work on centeredness of strike, another may need a club assessment. It’s impossible to know what aspect a particular golfer would benefit the most from until they check in with a PGA Professional and ask the speed question.

GET ON TRACKMAN – At the Academy and see those numbers!

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About The Academy

Offering golf lessons, golf clinics, junior golf classes and a full custom fitting service, the GUI National Golf Academy and Driving Range has something for everyone. A team of professionals are waiting to deliver the best golf lessons available while state of the art technology is available with TrackMan 4 available for golf lessons and custom fitting.

Our full day and two-hour clinics are very popular with those looking for a general overhaul of their game, or for those that want to focus in on a certain aspect.

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