Do you want to increase your driving distance?

The first question you should ask yourself is how can I increase my swing speed.

Because on average for every mile per hour of clubhead speed the golf ball will go 1.8-yards farther.

There are many ways to increase swing speed.

  • You can make your swing longer, either by increasing your mobility and range of motion or changing your swing radius.
  • You can improve your swing sequence – sometimes call the kinematic sequence, which will make your swing more efficient.
  • Having your golf clubs fitted to you and your swing style will also allow you to hit the ball farther. 

But the most controversial method of gaining distance is by lifting weights. 

I’m sure you all have heard Brandel Chamblee’s comments on how Rory McIlory will ruin his body if he keeps lifting heavy weights.

Many people besides Brandel have blamed Tiger Wood’s back issues and injuries on his weight lifting regiment. 

No one knows for sure what caused the damage to Tiger’s spine, but it most likely is a chronic issue that goes back prior to his lifting days and isn’t an acute problem that was caused by lifting weights. After all, Tiger isn’t the first golfer to have back problems in his career.

And Chamblee isn’t the first media person to say that weight training is bad for golfers. In fact, not many years ago it was taboo to lift weights. Muscle mass was thought to be the demise of playing good golf.

It was said that weight training made muscles stiff, it decreased the range of motion, and lead to a decrease in golf performance.

Luckily for us, the times are changing and weight training is becoming more mainstream (at least the professional realm) in golf fitness programs. Not only to increase swing speed but to strengthen golfers bodies and protect them from the forces that the golf swing places on the human body.

Free Guide

Just because it has been shown that strength training will increase swing speed and improve golf performance doesn’t mean you should pick up random strength exercises. Adding strength to limitations or dysfunctions can cause injury.

I have created a guide that explains this in more detail. The guide is called Don’t Add Strength to Dysfunction.

Click the button below and I will send a copy to your inbox. You should read this before you start working out.

Click to Download the PDF

Evidence that Strength Helps Increase Swing Speed

In this article, I will summarize several published papers that show weight training or resistance training as it is sometimes called, can increase clubhead speed and driver distance in as little as 8-weeks across the whole range of age demographics.

Referencing golf research papers has not been common in golf media publications. I find it strange, as many have been published that report evidence that weight training can improve swing speed from as early as the late 1990’s. 

How to Increase Swing Speed – Paper 1

A 2004 paper written by Fletcher and Hartwell in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research took 11 golfers and split them into two groups, a control and experimental group. The golfers averaged 30 years of age and had handicaps between 2 and 9, were club golfers and all participated in non-supervised exercise programs, at least, 6-months before the experiment began. 

The control group continued their normal training while the experimental group added weights and plyometrics to the training. The weight training included bench presses, squats, rows, lunges, shoulder presses, side bends, and medicine ball exercises.

Prior to training, instruction was given how to perform the exercises correctly.

You can e-mail me for a copy of the paper if you want to see the exercise protocols.

The results of the study showed that the control group’s clubhead speed increased 0.5%, and driving distance decreased 0.7%. 

The experimental group, those that lifted weights, increased their clubhead speed 1.5% and their driving distance increased 4.3%.

On average the golfers who weight trained gained 1.8 mph swing speed and 11.1-yards of driving distance in 8-weeks. 

That is pretty impressive!

How to Increase Swing Speed – Other Papers

I’m not going to bore you with the details of other studies because they are all published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, so the research methods have been reviewed and are proven to be acceptable to other researchers, but I will summarize the results. 

Westcott et al. (1996) put 57-year-old golfers through a resistance and flexibility training program for 8-weeks and clubhead speed increased 6%.

Hetu et al. (1998) used resistance training and plyometrics for 8-weeks and golfers with an average age of 56, increased clubhead speed by 1.5%, and driving distance increased 4.3%.

Fletcher and Hartwell (2004) reported golfers with an average age of 29 increased their clubhead speed 1.5% while their driving distance increased by 4.3%.

Thompson and Osness (2004) used an 8-week resistance training program, and golfers with an average age of 65 reported a 2.7% increase in clubhead speed.

A Doan et al. (2006) study showed a 1.62% increase in clubhead speed with an 11-week resistance training program in golfers with an average age of 19.

Then in 2007, Thompson et al. put golfers with an average age of 70-years-old through a resistance training, endurance, flexibility, balance, and rotational power program (30/minutes 3-times a week) for 8-weeks and the golfer’s clubhead speed increased 4.9%.

Across All Age Groups

I think that is enough evidence to show that if a golfer incorporates a resistance training program for as little as 2-months into his routine he could see a considerable increase in clubhead speed and driving distance. 

Golfers of all ages will benefit, and older golfers will gain relatively more distance than younger golfers. 

From the results of these research papers it should be apparent to you, the question of how to increase swing speed is through a resistance training program. 

How to increase swing speed

Increased Strength & Mobility

What these studies can’t do is separate the improvements caused by strength gain or the possible beneficiary results from improved mobility by the resistance training. 

That is only important if you want to argue the benefits of increased strength on golf performance.

The point I want to make is that a resistance training program developed by a fitness professional can increase clubhead speed and driving distance of any person that is not already involved in such a program. 

Regardless if it is due to increased strength, more mobility or a combination of both, resistance training will increase the swing speed and driving distance of most golfer’s in as little as 8-weeks. 

Summary

The results from several published scientific journal articles show that a strength training program will increase clubhead speed in people from at least the age of 19 to well into their 70’s in as little as 8-weeks.

The average distance gain isn’t a yard or two either. In some cases, 8-weeks of resistance training showed swing speed increases of up to 6%, which could be up to 20-yards or more per drive.

I would also like to point out that such a strength training program will not only help the golf game but will also improve many other aspects of a person’s life. 

I have a question for you, would exercising 25 times over a two month period be worth 20 extra yards per drive to you? 

If so, contact your golf fitness professional right now and sign-up for a golf fitness program. 

Free Guide

I don’t recommend that you start a random strength training program. 

In fact, before you start any strength work you should have an assessment to see if you have any mobility limitations. 

It is imperative to know where you need strength, and what parts of your body are limiting your movement.

If your aren’t assessing you are only guessing.

Adding strength to a workout plan can cause mobility limitations to become dysfunctions that could lead to pain or injury.

I have created a guide that explains this in more detail. The guide is called Don’t Add Strength to Dysfunction.

Click the button below and I will send a copy to your inbox. You should read this before you start working out.

Click to Download the PDF

Golf Fitness Programs

If you are interested in driving the golf ball farther and would like to improve your golf performance I have several golf fitness programs available. 

The golf fitness programs are available both on-line and in-person. 

An ideal program would be the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) Swing Assessment Program.

Using video of your golf swing the major limitations that are hampering your golf performance can be identified and a golf fitness program can be developed specifically for you. To read more about this program click the button to the left below.

If you would like to see my other golf fitness programs you can see the full list by clicking the button on the right below. 

References/Credits

Fletcher, I.M. and Hartwell, M.; 2004. Effect of an 8-week Combined Weights and Plyometrics Training Program on Golf Drive Performance; Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research; 18(1) 59-62.

Doan, B.K., Newton, R.U., Kwon, Y.H., and Kraemer, W.J.; 2006. Effects of physical conditioning on intercollegiate golfer performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Reseach, 20, 62-72.

Hetu, F.E., Christie, C.A. and Faigenbaum, A.D.; 1998. Effects of conditioning on physical fitness and club head speed in mature golfers. Perceptual and Motor Skills 86, 811-815.

Thompson, C. and Osness, W. 2004. Effects of an 8-week multimodal exercise program on strength, flexibility, and golf performance in 55- to 79-year old men. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity 12, 144-156.

Thompson, C.J., Cobb, K.M. and Blackwell, J. 2007. Functional training improves club head speed and functional fitness in older golfers. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 21, 131-137.

Westcott, W., Dolan, F. and Cavicchi, T. 1996. Golf and strength training are compatible activities. Strength and Conditioning 18, 54-56.

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