Five Tips to Improve Your Swing Speed
By Brendon Elliott, PGA
More speed = more distance off the tee.
When you can hit the ball further, it usually leads to lower scores — shorter shots into greens being the biggest reason why. There are many factors to consider when creating a speed training program.
Senior golfers should place a high priority on safety and avoiding injuries while still achieving speed. For juniors, the emphasis should be on speed while maintaining good swing efficiency.
To help PGA.com readers, Scott Shepard is a highly decorated golf performance coach and the owner of Driven Golf Fitness in Lake Mary, Florida. He is also the Golf Performance and Therapy director at Orlando Health Jewett Orthopedic Institute.
First, I wanted to ask an important question: What’s the biggest misconception regarding creating speed in the golf swing?
“The idea that you should just swing as hard as you can and throw out all technique is, in my opinion, one of the most dangerous ideas in modern speed instruction,” says Shepard. “Golf is all about having efficiency and consistency, so you want to make sure that golfers chasing speed will not end up hurting their mechanics.”
Below are Shepard’s top five tips for creating more swing speed the right way.
Band exercises can help harness power
The first step in your golf swing is to understand the position. Golfers can use resistance bands to help them become stronger in certain positions and increase their power. You can use resistance bands with some positional holds— start with lighter versions and work your way up — to achieve this. Do 2-3 sets of six reps, with five-second holds in a few positions like your takeaway or top position of your backswing.
Stabilization helps pulldowns increase speed
Golfers can improve their golf swing by overloading certain movements. They may look a little goofy, but don’t underestimate exercises like taking a band and pulling it down towards impact or loading a band from the top and performing a dynamic band pull-down. Both can overload the swing and train the golfer how to transfer the load under control. Remember that load forces you to stabilize and stability is key for speed transfer. Try these band movements for 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps each.
Accelerate your arms
A light medicine ball, 2-6 lbs in weight, can be used to help you develop swing-specific power. You can throw or slam the ball into the ground as fast and as often as you can. To drive the ball towards the ground, the focus should be on the arms and not the trunk. This will allow the athlete to learn how to release the arms and hands towards impact at high speed. Try 2-3 sets of five to 6 throws.
Your power planes can be increased
A golf swing requires power movement that includes a variety of vertical, lateral, and rotary movements. With the same medicine balls as No. 3 (2-6 lbs.) Throw these against a wall or to a friend or parent for more power in all planes. You might try a couple of sets of six to eight throws in each direction.
Replicate “fast” speeds with your own club
Although medicine balls and resistance bands are great for building power and strength patterns and speed, they cannot replace light objects that help you get the club moving more quickly. Your body will learn to move faster if you swing a lighter object that a club. The same thing will happen with heavier objects.
Try swinging with an alignment shaft or club flipped upside down. You should do at least three to four sets of six swings each week. And don’t forget that you also need to dedicate specific range practice to hitting some max speed drivers. Try to swing 10 max drivers at least once per week. The goal is to be as fast as possible with good mechanics and balance.