Swing Faster, Not Harder
Golf is a complex game that takes time to improve. It can feel frustrating if you have been golfing for a while with no improvements in swing speed. Those with lower handicaps tend to have a faster swing speed. Your progress in this area may be just what you need to lower your handicap and improve distance.
One astounding fact will motivate you even more to improve speed: for every one mph of swing speed, you gain 2.5 yards of distance! Take a look at this table below to see if your speed is where it should be.
Gravity is your friend
You may be surprised that gravity alone is enough to help your swing speed. A study done on Bobby Jones a few years ago gave great insight. Using swing footage from the 30s, they determined his swing speed to be 34 feet per second— just 2 feet faster than gravity alone. This realization should help you to stop working against yourself.
Keep your body relaxed
Tense shoulders and arms move much slower than relaxed muscles. When you are tense, there is interference with natural movement. If you find yourself tense before your stroke, take a step back, breathe deeply, shake your arms and legs and try again. Don't forget to keep your torso loose, as this helps you get a full rotation. Focus on swinging faster, not harder.
Your swing is a pendulum
Think of your swing as long, flowing, and rhythmic. Often, players push their downswing too hard and sacrifice accuracy. If you follow the advice above and keep yourself relaxed, this flow should happen naturally. If you are "trying" to swing crazy hard, your tempo will be off, which could change your direction.
Get into the gym
Your overall strength and range of motion influence your speed. There has been anecdotal evidence that gaining muscle can add significant distance to your shots. Bryson DeChambeau gained 20 pounds of muscle in nine months. This greatly improved his game. In fact, he had nine drives over 300 yards during a second straight round of five-under 65. He now has the PGA's longest drive distance and swing speed average. Now, gaining 20 lbs to improve is probably unnecessary, but getting in the gym to increase range of motion will be very helpful. Core strength is essential to focus on as it is the base for your whole performance as a golfer.
This video has some mobility exercises that are very helpful.
I have repeatedly spoken about the importance of well-fitting clubs, but swing speed can benefit greatly. If you have been playing with hand-me-down clubs or your friend's old clubs, don't expect to get the most out of your swing. A too-heavy shaft is a common issue that can be easily fixed by getting fit.
Is your backswing too long?
Consider shortening your backswing. Sometimes people tend to lower their speed on a long backswing. It seems counterintuitive, but by making your backswing shorter, you subconsciously overcompensate on your downswing. Do this by gripping your club farther down the shaft and redirecting focus to hitting the ball instead of meeting a mark on your backswing.
Use specialized clubs.
Many clubs these days are created to get your ball as far as it can go. The Cobra LTDx driver is an excellent choice for speed and distance. The new design maximizes weight so that more mass can be positioned low and forward in the PWR-COR to increase speed. Adding a 15g back weight balances low spin with high launch and extreme forgiveness for longer distances. Replacing your current driver with this one is bound to help you out. For more information, read our blog of the Cobra LTDx for our review!
Use a launch monitor
Most people assume more effort means faster swing speed. A good way to test out this theory is to get a Garmin Approach monitor. We have raved about this monitor in the past for good reasons. This monitor is one of the most affordable on the market and is portable so you can take it on the course or practice indoors.
These monitors track your clubhead as you swing and increase your effort. Practice swinging while increasing effort each time. You may find as you increase power, speed increases too. But this increase has a limit. In my experience, there is a peak in effort to speed. You may max out on speed before you max out effort.
Overall, swing speed is an important part of golf, and you must take the steps necessary in order to see an improvement. A lot of the advice laid out here can be applied to all of the clubs in your bag, not just the driver. Remember to stay relaxed and have fun.