Most amateurs equate swing speed with ball distance. This thought process is correct (to a degree), however it is not the only affect swing speed has on your game. Swing speed can be defined as how fast the golf club is traveling when it strikes the ball. There are several ways to generate swing speed that amateurs can investigate, yet that is not the topic of today’s post. I can tell you that the process of increasing our swing speed can be challenging because of the change in mechanics we employ thinking that we are helping our game. When in fact, we are causing more challenges at impact, thus causing our ball to every which way. There is a simple explanation for our direction woes that was not that simple to figure out.
Square ball striking is nothing new to any golfer. The squarer the club face on impact the straighter it travels. Of course, depending on which direction the club face is pointing (square or not) will launch the golf ball in that direction. The question that many amateurs pose is how to create that square club face without losing any distance. This is a question I asked many times myself until I found a term being used that sounds exactly like tempo, but seems to be easier to understand. It is the theory of effortless swing speed to create control and distance.
A book written in 1985 helped quantify the importance of coordinating all the swing mechanics/movements in order to produce a smooth effortless swing. I have not read this book, but the synopsis offers a place to start because in my opinion the golf swing has not really evolved over the years. Again, this sounds like tempo to me. “The biggest paradox in golf is that the harder you try to “hit” the ball, the worse you do so. In The Keys to the Effortless Golf Swing, Michael McTeigue offers a simple system of sequential body movements that produces a true swinging motion with every club in the bag. The result is increased distance and greater accuracy for all sizes, shapes, and ages of golfers for a minimum of investment in learning time.” (goodreads)
Basically, every golfer must determined what their ideal swing speed is in order to maximize their effectiveness when hitting the ball. This does take some trial and error on the range to establish how fast your can move your body in order to establish a controlled golf swing. Once you have decided the swing speed baseline, adjustments can be made accordingly.
To take my thought process one step further, the challenge is with swing speed and direction is rooted in how we are trying create additional swing speed. I have watch many amateurs yank, pull, push, leap, and step through their golf swing thinking they are helping create distance. When in actual fact they are moving around like a nervous rabbit through impact causing the club face to inconsistently make square contact. Yup, they do not know from one hit to the next where their ball is going. Then they lament about something not related to the root problem. They happen to hit the ball very well once and think they found the holy grail.
Most amateurs, myself included, starting golf do not realize that less is more in many cases. Establishing an effortless swing speed is key to consistent, straight hits. Ball direction is definitely related to swing speed if a player is ‘gripping it and ripping it’ without concern or thoughts about how their club face is hitting the ball. It took several years at the beginning of my career to learn this lesson and once I did good things happed to my game. If you are wondering, my club head speed is around 90 mph. This is normal for a player of my caliber. I have tried to increase my swing speed from time to time with success, however the focus of a square clubface is always rooted in my efforts.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!