You Want More Distance?
Go out and buy that new $400 driver, you know the one that promises 15 more yards.
While they’re finding the headcover for that new driver, walk over to the golf ball aisle and get a dozen of the recently advertised “longest ball on the market” brand. You know, the one that not only spins less off the driver but more off your irons and has the softest feel around the greens.
Head to the first tee and show off the new driver, talk about the advantages of the new golf balls, do a couple waggles with the new driver, take a mighty swing and watch the ball fly down the fairway and land in the exact divot you made yesterday with your old driver and that ball you found in the woods.
There are no shortcuts to any place worth going – Beverely Sills
Let’s face it, we buy into golf club advertisements because we want it to be easy, we’re always looking for the shortcut. We want the magic pill that will make everything better.
I’m not saying that golf club and golf ball technology hasn’t improved because it has. But over the years, if I added up the promised gain of distance I would be hitting the golf ball 400-yards.
Let’s Get Serious
If you want more distance you need to have clubs that are fit to your swing, the right trajectory on your shot, and more swing speed.
The first two are finite.
Once your clubs are fit to you and the swing path brings the clubface to the ball at the right angle the improvement ends.
However, swing speed is infinite.
Okay, there might be an upper limit or threshold, but there is more to gain by increasing your swing speed than with the other two.
For more background on why swing speed is so important, and if you want more distance, read these three articles.
1.81 Great Reasons Why You Need to Increase Clubhead Speed is a discussion on how much more distance you can gain by increasing your swing speed.
How to Increase Swing Speed – Research Results looks at the published research papers on methods that will increase your swing speed.
How to Improve You Golf Swing Speed Training is an article that provides you with exercises and presents swing aid trainers that will increase your swing speed.
So why another article on swing speed?
Because people want to hit the ball farther.
So much so, that they are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for a driver or golf ball with the hopeful promise of a couple more yards.
Yet, many of these same people won’t put forth any physical effort to gain more yards as well as a healthier life.
Let’s review the ways you can increase your swing speed, I’ll show you an important movement that will ramp up your clubhead speed, and I’ll give you a couple of exercises that don’t require a lot of effort that will increase your clubhead speed.
As The Kids Say Today “Same”
“Same” has to be my youngest teenaged daughter’s favorite word.
When she agrees with someone, she says “Same”
That is how I feel about this video. I completely agree with what the swing instructors say.
I have shown this video before, but if you haven’t seen it, and you want more distance to your drives, you should watch it and think about incorporating the ideas into your swing and preparation for golf.
Keys for More Swing Speed
If you want more distance, the video explained that you’ll need to become a better athlete, you’ll need an efficient swing that sequences movement in the body in the correct order, and you’ll need to time your wrist release at the last moment.
Let’s briefly go over these keys.
Being a better athlete
That is my goal for you.
Your goals might be to stop a particular swing characteristic, hit the ball farther with more accuracy, become more flexible, gain mobility, or lose a few pounds.
But I’m looking beyond those important pain points you have, my goal is to make you a better athlete. Fixing those pain points are just the steps along the way.
Efficient swing and sequencing
For a Titleist Performance Institute professional, the ultimate goal is to have their client perfect an efficient swing. It is called the kinematic sequence. I won’t touch on the sequence in this article, but it is a topic that I’ll be explaining in forthcoming articles.
The timing and amount of wrist release
The amount and timing of wrist release are why 160-pound golfers can hit the ball 300+ yards. Wrist release is the biggest difference between good amateur golfers and professionals.
I want to discuss this more.
Golf Swing Physics
If math formulas, calculus, and trigonometry scare you DO NOT click the link.
Real-World-Physics-Problems.com wrote an article entitled Physics of a Golf Swing.
The photography is of Bobby Jones and the swing is highlighted by a strobe light.
Notice the red and blue outlines.
The red line is his hand path, notice how circular the trace is. The blue line is the clubhead path. The shape is more of a spiral or oval shape.
When his wrists are cocked the clubhead is closer to his hands, when the wrists are extended the clubhead is further from the hands. This movement is why the hand path is circular and the clubhead trace is oval in shape.
His wrists don’t extend or straighten out until late in the downswing. The ability to keep his wrists cocked stores energy and the longer he waits to extend them the faster the clubhead will be moving at impact.
Let me show you some stop action photos so you can see better what I’m talking about.
Below are some video screenshots of golf swings. The swings include a couple of professionals and a couple of amateurs.
I have marked their wrist angles when their lead arm is parallel to the ground during the downswing to show you the difference in the wrist angles between professional and amateur golfers.
Here is a swing video screenshot of Rory McIlory halfway during his downswing.
His wrist angle is 52-degrees to his lead forearm.
Another video screenshot of a professional golfer’s downswing.
This is Gary Woodland’s swing, and the angle between his lead forearm and club shaft is 61 degrees.
Amateur Golfer Wrist Angle
Here is a video swing screenshot of an amateur (Me) and you can see the wrist angle is much more open.
The wrist angle is greater than 90-degrees to the lead arm.
Extreme Wrist Angle
Here is a screenshot of an extreme wrist angle.
When a wrist angle that is this open is called casting.
You can see the club is about parallel to the lead arm.
How Does Wrist Angle Increase Clubhead Speed?
If we could normalize these golfers, make the swing radius the same, make their height and club length the same, have the same downward arm speed, and have the clubface hit the ball with a flat wrist angle, have everything the same except the wrist angle when the lead arm is parallel to the ground during the downswing we could compare how late wrist release will increase clubhead velocity.
All other things being the same, the swing with the largest acute angle (smaller number) between the lead wrist and forearm will have the fastest clubhead velocity.
Because the clubhead will have to travel farther in the same amount of time to hit the ball.
The longer you can maintain maximum wrist angle the more velocity the clubhead will have when it hits the ball.
There are a lot of possible causes for early wrist extension. It can be a tight grip, poor hip mobility, poor swing efficiency, swinging over the top, weak forearms, and of course poor wrist mobility.
You can read more on the casting swing characteristic in this article about Early Release.
Wrist Mobility Exercises
Below are two awesome videos that have wrist mobility drills and exercises that will strengthen your wrists and forearms.
In the first video, no equipment is necessary, you can do this while relaxing in front of the television.
In the second video, Neha Uberoi (former professional tennis player) uses light dumbbells and a tennis ball to increase your wrist mobility and strength.
Do the exercises in these videos for a couple of weeks and you’ll be hitting your drives farther
If you want more exercises to increase your swing speed and clubhead velocity, download my Speed and Power Reference Sheet. The sheet contains links to exercise videos that will help you increase your swing speed and hit the ball farther!
If You Want More Distance, It Takes Effort
Most people want more distance, but they rely on technology to do the work for them.
If you follow the advice in this article you should have no problem increasing your swing speed and clubhead velocity.
The speed and power exercises referenced in the guide get more media attention and are much sexier than the wrist exercises and drills herein, but you might increase your clubhead speed more by doing the simple wrist exercises than any other exercise.
Sometimes simple is better than complex.
Give them a try and drop me a question or comment below, I would love to hear your opinions on clubhead speed or any other golf fitness or golf related problem you want help correcting.