BY MIKE GELHAUS
Whack! The feeling of a great drive, the sweet feel as the ball jumps off the clubface and rockets down the middle of the fairway — it’s one of the best things about playing golf, and one of the reasons that we keep coming back for more punishment. If only it would happen more often! Ah, to see the green envy in your opponents’ eyes when your ball blasts by theirs.
Unfortunately, the average male golfer’s swing speed is around 85 mph. With a USGA conforming driver, this equates to drives of about 225 yards, an embarrassing 83 yards shorter than Tiger Woods’ average drive, and even 45 yards shorter than Cory Pavin, who is the shortest driver on the PGA Tour. So most of us go to the course with an inferiority complex already deeply ingrained from watching Tour broadcasts which constantly and blatantly rub our faces into the fact that the pros outdrive us by a country mile. No wonder most amateurs can’t relax over the ball and tend to overswing. How could the average guy hope to hit the ball that far?
Well, the good news is — it’s possible for you to hit long drives! To hit like the pros, all you have to do is swing as fast as they do, while at the same time maintaining your balance. If it sounds like it is easier said than done, just think about this: As mentioned before, Corey Pavin, the shortest hitter on the PGA Tour, averages just under 270 yards per drive. He is 5′ 9″ tall and weighs 155 pounds. Now, the average male is 5′ 9″ tall and weighs 190 pounds. If Corey Pavin can average 270, then you can hit it just as long or longer!
Let’s set a goal of outdriving Corey Pavin, so we can tell ourselves honestly that we can drive the ball as far as someone on the Tour. To figure out how to do this, let’s start with the average swing speed of 85 mph and average distance of 225 yards. Now, physics tells us that we get approximately 3 extra yards per additional mile per hour of swing speed. So, if we want to go from 225 to 270 to beat Corey Pavin, that means we need 45 extra yards, which equates to adding 15 mph to the swing speed.
How can you use golf training aids to add that extra 15 mph? Since low swing speed is usually the result of a combination of factors including untrained muscles, poor technique, and lack of physical fitness, a multi-pronged approach is required to get to the goal fast! To accelerate your progress, you can use golf training aids to train and strengthen your golf-specific muscles, to correct poor technique, and to improve your overall fitness. A variety of training aids exist to help with this. Here’s a 3-step plan for increasing your swing speed as fast as possible:
1. Make sure that your grip, swing path, and swing plane are correct. It will do no good to increase your swing speed if technical flaws in your swing prevent you from hitting the ball straight. I suggest using a single training aid for both grip and swing plane (many exist with this combination) and another training aid for swing path. For example, a hinged club with a molded grip is perfect for grip and swing path, while a foam obstacle training aid will work well for keeping your swing path on track. Practice with these training aids for at least 2 weeks before moving on to step 2.
2. Get some type of weighted club. Weighted clubs are perfect for training the golf specific muscles to have the strength and explosive power that you need to produce higher swing speeds. In addition, training with a weighted club can increase your core stability and balance if done properly. Be very careful not to overswing with a weighted club since you can injure yourself! Stretch out and warm up thoroughly before you even start swinging the heavy club. I suggest using this training aid at least 3 days a week, but not more than 5. It’s important to let your muscles rest a bit each week.
3. Get a golf fitness book to augment your regular training program. Overall physical fitness is just as critical to your golf game as golf-specific training. Work out 3 times a week and don’t forget your cardio to reduce fatigue at the end of your round!
If you take these three steps I think you will see a great improvement in your driving distance within 2 months, if not sooner. Good luck and I hope to see you on the par fives in two!
Mike Gelhaus, once a racquetball professional and published author for Racquetball Magazine, has turned his attention back to his first love, the game of golf. He recently achieved a handicap of 3 only weeks before having to go in for back surgery. Hoping for a quick recovery and a possible professional career, Mike Gelhaus is going to help you improve your game through the use of golf training aids. To seriously knock strokes off your score by uncovering the golf training aids which will work best for you, check out his site, The Best Golf Training Aids.