How Do I Improve Swing Speed in Golf?

By Brian Hill
A long, smooth swing generates speed and power.
A long, smooth swing generates speed and power.

Golfers all want to hit the ball farther. Being able to hit long drives gives you a significant advantage over your playing partners. They might have to hit a 3-iron to the green on a long par 4 whereas you are able to hit a 9-iron--generally a much easier shot to hit. The distance you can hit the ball is directly related to the clubhead speed you are able to develop throughout your swing.

Improve your physical conditioning. Lengthen your swing by doing a regular series of stretching exercises. Yoga-style stretching can help golfers develop more flexibility and a wider shoulder turn, which results in the potential for building additional clubhead speed. Watch any PGA Tour pro in action and you will be impressed with how his legs drive through the ball, generating speed and power. Try swimming, running, working out on stationary bikes or treadmills to build greater strength in your legs.

Relax when you step up to the ball. Make sure your shoulders are not tight. Maintain light but firm grip pressure. Holding on too tightly sends tension all the way up your forearms and into your shoulders. Muscles that are too tight have the effect of restricting your swing. Strive to develop a long and free swing.

Take a smooth backswing. Maximize your extension by starting the swing slowly and making sure you complete the swing--going back as far as you can while maintaining your balance and not straining your shoulders. A full shoulder turn helps you build coiled energy going back. This energy supplies the power when released on the downswing.

Begin the downswing deliberately. Don’t get so anxious about developing downswing speed that you rush your swing from the top. This has the effect of dissipating power rather than building it. Learn how to gradually start the club back down. Try a technique used by multiple PGA Tour and Champions Tour winner Bob Murphy. He visualizes a traffic light turning red when he reaches the top of his swing. This pause sets him up for a well-timed and powerful downswing.

Improve your tempo. Swing, don’t think. Poor dancers count out the beat in their heads. Good dancers simply hear the music and let their long hours of training tell their muscles what to do. Minimize your swing thoughts--those mini-lessons playing in your head--when you get ready to swing. Let your swing flow freely, and you will be surprised how much more clubhead speed you develop.

Synchronize your swing elements. The challenge of golf comes from how many muscle groups are involved and how their actions must be timed precisely for the swing to be fluid and generate maximum speed. Learn when the leg drive should begin, and how to keep the wrists hinged until the last stage before hitting the ball.

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