Of all golf pleadings, the one that rings most often, and loudest, is increasing clubhead speed. “Just ten more yards. That’s all I ask, dear God, just ten more yards…Oh, and by the way…in the fairway.” After all, what golfer doesn’t want to hit it farther, and, hopefully, straighter. YouTube is saturated with advice on how to do so, ranging from better hip rotation, to coiling the shoulders more, to more efficient weight shift, to increasing lag, to faster leg action, to building core strength, to lifting the left heel, to keeping the left heel flat on the ground, to supinating the right hand, to supinating the left forearm. All of this advice certainly keeps teaching pros in business but does nothing to simplify a daunting game.
I’ve also heard it said that to increase clubhead speed go to the gym and pump some iron. And that is not altogether inaccurate. Having been through, and so far survived, cancer via chemotherapy, I found that I lost about 30-40 yards on my drive and about two clubs for the irons. But going to the gym as part of my recovery doing both aerobic and anaerobic exercises has helped restore some body mass and muscle. So I decided to experiment a bit with that loss of distance in my golf game.
Very simply, to increase clubhead speed, I began to swing harder and faster, concentrating on my arms to do the job. Same basic swing for woods and irons with ball position being the variable. Having played this game since I was a kid, the rest of my body seemed to know its role in the sequence of things. The hips rotated, helping shift the weight forward as they then got out of the way. The legs helped in that weight shift. And the shoulders and large back muscles turned and coiled to the top of the backswing (more limited now with age and infirmity). But the arms actually did the swinging. I tried swinging them as fast as I could while achieving solid contact, dialing back some when the contact was iffy. Sure enough, almost immediately, and to my relief, I began to see a return to the distance I was used to.
On the downside, I tired more easily from expending more energy on each shot. But continued exercise at the gym should eventually alleviate that. Curiously, swinging harder also seemed to facilitate squaring up the clubface at impact, possibly through better timing. I’m not completely sure why this happened but suspect it had something to do with the speed of hip rotation in relation to the arms approaching the impact zone. I’ll return to the drawing board on that one and get back to you.
Anyway, what I liked about all this was how much simpler this made the mechanics of my swing, decreasing swing thoughts while increasing distance and quality of contact. Of course, consistency is key which I expect will increase–I hope–with added confidence through practice and on-course play.
Will this approach work for you? If it’s added distance you’re looking for, give it a try.