How To Increase Your Clubhead Speed

Sun, 09/25/2011 - 14:00 -- Don Trahan

Today's tip comes from the group of really good questions we got from the live webcast that DJ and I recently did from his home. We couldn't answer all of them during the Surge Show so we will occasionally dip into the mail bag and grab one to answer. Ray Stool writes:

"Surge, I am 83 years old, in good health, and I hit a driver 150 yards. What can I do to get more clubhead speed?"

Well, Ray, clubhead speed is an important component in the distance equation but it isn't the only thing that determines how far your shot will go. Just as important is how solid a hit it is. Dr. Alistair Cochran, in his definitive book The Search For The Perfect Golf Swing, says that to hit a good golf shot your club must approach the ball On the aiming line, strike the ball while On the aiming line, and leave accelerating On the aiming line while striking the ball Square and Solid on the club's sweet spot. My Surgism for that is On, On, On Square and Solid. Simple physics dictates that a mishit ball will not fly as far as one that is solidly hit, even with 3, 4 or 5 mph greater clubhead speed. So the first thing you should determine is if you are hitting the ball as solidly as possible.

Another thing you should check is your club length. You mentioned your driver, but you should have all of your clubs checked to see if they are the appropriate length for a golfer of your age. Unless you are over 6 feet tall, I can't see you swinging a driver that is over 43 inches in length. Getting the length right will help you swing the club faster, thus increasing your clubhead speed.

While on the subject of clubs, if you are playing with a standard set of men's clubs, you may want to test playing with Senior clubs, or even a good set of ladies' clubs. Now, I know there will be some of you in the Surge Nation that will chuckle at this last suggestion and perhaps dismiss it out of hand. But before you do, consider this. The ladies' clubs of today are not your mother's set of clubs. They are made with high quality, lighter weight components and, in many cases, are better than the standard men's clubs of twenty years ago. They have smaller, lighter heads, lighter shafts and lighter grips--and all of this should translate to being able to swing the club faster.

Finally, even though you are in good health, you can still do a lot to improve your strength and suppleness. There are plenty of good books and websites where you can get advice on simple ways to do this. Another good route would be to go see an Occupational or Physical Therapist who can test you to find out exactly where you are weak and then suggest a regimen of golf-specific exercises for you to follow.

Keep it vertical!

The Surge

 

 

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Comments

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

Hey Phil,
Good to hear from you again. You are right about the ball. I can hit a Pro V1 farther than any of the others, and I play with pretty much all of them.
We just have to have what fits our swing.

Don't be a stranger! Thoughts kept to yourself don't go anywhere.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade (not verified) on

Yesterday Doc measured my driver CHS at 99.5 on (flight scope)radar. Distance was only about 230 on that one so I didn't hit it on the Sweet Spot. Anyhow that shows me why I'm only comfortable to #4 on the Swingrite. After that I am swinging out of my shoes which helps nothing. Rythym and timing are too important to lose by over cooking it. If I hit my drives square I'm averaging about 240-250. If it's in the short grass I am thrilled. That's plenty for me to be able to reach most greens in reg. and often enough to at least scare a par 5 in two :0  Fiarways and greens is what Surge preaches and boy does he do it to. pretty to watch. Today we get to meet and watch DJ. We will have an open forum where we can ask him anything (within reason). I'll catch you up tonight I hope. Have a great day.
PMG!

Dgundling's picture

Submitted by Dgundling (not verified) on

I must confess that I was not aware of the swing rite. It looks like it does much the same thing as the Speed Stik but costs more..

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

The playoff was great at the Tour Championship. I thought Haas was dead when he was in the water. I figured he would get it out and up on the green but I never figured he would get it that close (I doubt if he did either, ha ha).
I wonder what it would be like to have a putt for 11.44 million dollars. ;-)

I didn't watch any of the Solhiem Cup. I forgot that it was on every morning and missed the whole thing.

T Medley's picture

Submitted by T Medley (not verified) on

Robert,

Thanks for the info, and keep them coming.

Dgundling's picture

Submitted by Dgundling (not verified) on

Just checked the speed stik price. In the time since I bought mine, it was taken over by Taylor made. They claim that it has been improved over what I have. The new price is about the same as the Swing Rite. The important thing for improving swing speed, I believe, is to have a means to measure your swing speed and get instant feed back. The Medicus version allows you to measure the swing speed you get with any of your clubs and do it while hitting a ball if you wish as it clamps on to your club.

ozydad's picture

Submitted by ozydad (not verified) on

You did not mention any way of improving distance or clubhead speed in the swing itself. Only to get stronger and more healthy.If you were at peak health for your age is there any way to use the swing itself to improve distance.
Ozydad

T Medley's picture

Submitted by T Medley (not verified) on

Mine seems to be fairly accurate for me. I have one of the portable radar units and they always seem to be within a couple mph of each other for myself and others who have tried them at the range. I do know it is possible to click on lower numbers, with a good release and slower speed, than it is with a higher speed, but bad or improper release. The trick is to max out each at the same moment in time.
Those two oriental guys just are too important. Mr Ti Ming and Mr Tem Po

Robert Bgolfer2 Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Bgolfer2... (not verified) on

Amos ageed,
"Coach" is missed here. Your name has come up along with several others as sorely missed in Las Vegas.

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

The biggest problem with the Speed Stik is that it is 46 inches long. You wouldn't be able to replicate your vertical swing very well with it.

What I liked about the SwingRite (before I lost it) was that I could pretend the ball was in different locations to simulate different clubs and it was short enough to allow me to do that.

You certainly couldn't do that with a 46 inch device.

wongphil's picture

Submitted by wongphil on

Hi Robert

Yep. I was thinking it would help Ray Stool who is 83 and hitting the ball 150 yards. His clubhead speed would be a lot slower than 70 mph, so a lower compression ball would certainly help.

The Taylormade XD 60 is so far one of the lowest compression balls I have found, and has helped a number of my senior mates.

I play with several clubs here in Perth and know many seniors in their seventies and eighties who are in the same situation as Ray. The generally accepted trend / wisdom among them is to seek out softer balls, rather than trying to change their swings which are the result of many years of playing. Their older bodies simply have too much trouble incorporating basic swing changes, much as their minds tell them to.
To them training with aids like Swing-Rite basically means "re-learning" things and does not appeal to them.
To be sure, there is little wrong with their swings, just a slow-down of clubhead speed...so a softer ball that gives them a few more yards will generally make their day!

Cheers 

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

I only wish it were accurate for me. Ha ha!
125 mph would be pretty good.
(But sadly it's not).:-(

Knowing my speed isn't one of the things I was concerned about anyway.

Bob Wills's picture

Submitted by Bob Wills (not verified) on

Surge, you are amazing to keep doing these freebies. I wish I had the resources to go to one of your schools but I don't right now so I depend on these lessons to help my game. One problem I have right now is with short irons. My full swings (driver) seem to be pretty good, but when it comes to the iron shots to the green I am too often doing the hated "s" word ( shank). Any suggestions to help with this very frustrating tendency?
Bob W.

Ewald Vopel's picture

Submitted by Ewald Vopel (not verified) on

Those strength exercises you mentioned are for the birds. One would have to do thousands of them to obtain any gains.Your other suggestions to get a book or go on the internet are better alternatives.

T Medley's picture

Submitted by T Medley (not verified) on

The Swing Rite is also superior to most other swing aids in it's construction. It is made entirely from steel and not plastic or artificial metals. I'm not saying it can't be broken through improper use or an accident with your dog, but it is a well constructed device and is the best for the PPGS because of it's shorter length as Steve has mentioned. I have not heard one single negative comment yet, from any Surgeite who has purchased one. I would buy the Swing Rite over the Speed Stik, even if it was higher in cost, because it is more specifically useful for the PPGS and much better constructed.

Lynn42's picture

Submitted by Lynn42 (not verified) on

Roger,

You are absolutely right about swinging within yourself,  I have always fought the urge to swing hard off the top and it does NOT work.  My best results today were when I just let the hands drop from the top and gradually increase speed.  When I get it right sweet spot contact just seems to happen.  Three birdies on the back nine, 2 chip ins with my 6 iron with a putting stroke and a 20 ft putt left to right.  All of this on newly aerated greens.  The golf gods smiled on me today.  ;0)

T Medley's picture

Submitted by T Medley (not verified) on

I'm amazed that you can get it to click on #1, 5 is the lowest I can go and it feels out of control at that speed. I'm more comfortable at 5.5 to 6, which is my 80-85mph. When I first got it though, I couldn't even get the 6 to click, so it has helped me get 8 to 10 more mph on a good day.

A Patient !'s picture

Submitted by A Patient ! (not verified) on

Don:  Two comments: as we age we shrink in heighth so shorten the driver and all clubs. Also, 5 years ago at 68 I switched to Callaway ladies driver that Anika used and never looked back. It is just right at 74 !!      B. Haight

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

You are entitled to your opinion of course, but whether you would get much out of most of those exercises depends on how often you did them and for what period of time and effort.
Surge was just giving some cheap alternatives to expensive equipment or a gym membership. Any exercise is better than none.
Isometric exercises can be as strenuous, and therefore as beneficial, as we want to make them. Even years ago when I really would have been thought of as an athlete, and was in top condition, I used isometric exercises in almost any spare moment as a supplement to all of my other workouts.

You might be surprised how much of a workout you can get with isometric workouts if you use full strength pressure until muscle exhaustion and doing multiple sets.

Cfryer1996's picture

Submitted by Cfryer1996 (not verified) on

Hey Surge:
I really like the backyard location and watching you hit golf balls. Any chance you could do some slow motion of your swing. You're so good and quick, it's tough to see specific parts of the surge swing. Cf of TN

bunuhya hudi's picture

Submitted by bunuhya hudi (not verified) on

Yes Surge, refering to Ozydad, please provide more detail for clubhead speed. When I asked my local pro on how to increase the club head speed, he first ask for my age. Told him that I'm 51 years young and he said; "why not you just concentrate on the impact",..... oops, just like what you said, but certainly there is a way other than what you repeatedly say, KEEP IT VERTICAL / LIGHTER CLUB / FASTER SWING.

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

I'm fairly amazed myself, and was even more amazed that the guys that have had their speed checked on launch monitors at close to 120 and can blow a driver right by me on the course, can't even click it on 2.

What those guys can't do though (and it relates) is hit a pitching wedge or a gap wedge as far or as high as I can. As I said, it proves I can swing something really short really fast, but it proves nothing about a driver.

Oh, and just so know one gets the wrong idea, I never said I could click it on one with a nice smooth golf swing. That's swinging as fast as I can. Still doesn't change the fact that I couldn't swing a driver that fast trying to do the same thing.

Dgundling's picture

Submitted by Dgundling (not verified) on

I might suggest that Ray get himself a swing speed measuring device like the Speed Stik. I think Momentus golf also makes or made one. (You don't need a launch monitor.) I use the Speed Stik. Use what ever you get in the surge swing and find out what feel you need to get the most speed. Also, don't forget that you have to hit the ball. By this I mean swing as hard as you can with control. It is easy to get into a relaxed free flowing swing and not really hit the ball. For myself, I got a Speed Stik before getting into the Surge swing. I couldn't get my speed above 75 save on rare occaisions with the rotational swing despite 2.5 years of trying. With the Surge swing I made 80 almost without trying. 85 happens more and more frequently. (BTW, I calibrated my speed stik with a launch monitor and the speed readings were very close to the same. For what you are trying to do you don't need exact accuracy in the reading so much as relative accuracy. That is the reading should be higher if you swing faster.) Oh, I forgot, I am 73 so we are both in the older set.

MikefromKy Go Bama. Go Irish's picture

Submitted by MikefromKy Go B... (not verified) on

Don another great video

Weekend round report.

Our tour had are Presidents Cup this past weekend. The morning matches were two person teams format was 6, 6, 6. The afternoon matches were individual match's. My two person team was myself and a nice lady against another gentleman and another nice lady. The guy was in a handicap group lower than me and his partner was in a group lower than my partner we lost are team match 3&2 we played them straight up . My individual match I got 5 strokes against the same guy and got 3 up on him and had my foot on his throat but just could not step down harder and finish him off I lost 1 up on 18. It was a long day 36 holes cart path only and it was wet we played lift clean and place every were. We also played from 6500 yards the men witch made it more difficult as wet as it was.

I played Sunday with my buddy and woke up tight and a little sore shot a miserable 43 on the front 9. I wore my dress golf shoes on the front 9 because it was wet and my feet were killing me and the back of my legs. At the turn I changed to gym shoe golf shoes and they felt much better and I shot a 36 missed 2 birdie puts from about 4 feet. 

On the back side I just slowed myself down a little I felt like on the front nine I was swinging to hard from the top and that does not work.

If we swing within our self's and let the hands drop from the top while bumping would be better served with more on center hits and more distance with out swinging out of our shoes at least this works for me.

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

What was good about the SwingRite to me was that I could get gains in all three of what I think are the basic components for distance.

I could work the muscles swinging it.

I could work on technique by making it click in the right place.

And I could work my way up to faster and faster settings to gain a little bit more fast twitch ability.

Boogm's picture

Submitted by Boogm (not verified) on

I might add, Terry, a day late...that if you happen to break the shaft they'll repair it for a nominal fee and pay the return shipping to boot.

T Medley's picture

Submitted by T Medley (not verified) on

Dgundling,

There is already a device recommended by Surge and sold by Doc on his (Doc Griffin Golf) Web Site called Swing Rite. Many of we Surgites already have and highly recommend the swing trainer.

Doc Griffin's site
http://tmgolf.sports.officeliv...

The Swing Rite site
http://www.swingrite.com/

MikefromKy Go Bama. Go Irish's picture

Submitted by MikefromKy Go B... (not verified) on

Steve

I agree about the exercising. I am laying off the weights for now but I am getting back into the treadmill routine 40 minutes to an hour a day 5 days a week at least. I want to drop 20-30lbs by next spring before my tour season starts back up. I told my one buddy yesterday that if I do not drop the weight that I would quit playing for good so I have challenged my self and have to do it or its going to be a boring next 20 - 30 years. 

Lynn42's picture

Submitted by Lynn42 (not verified) on

Steve,

I agree about technique and fast twitch muscles.  I've played with some skinny little nothings that hit the ball a ton.  About the only twitch left in my muscles is the result of leg cramps at night if I played in heat and humidity and didn't hydrate enough...lol.

One thing that does work for me when I concentrate is letting my arms fall from the top of the BUS as Surge suggests...Let gravity be your friend.  I seem to forever fight the urge to hit from the top in an effort to gain clubhead speed and we all know it usually leads to bad results.  I have not had my clubhead speed checked when I do this but I can tell just from the sound and feel that it has increased.  I spent about 30 minutes in the backyard with woods and irons ingraining the feel yesterday...practice, practice,practice.

We'll see shen I take it to the course. 

Robert F's picture

Submitted by Robert F (not verified) on

There is a physical limit for all of us in our ability to swing the club any faster, which is dependent more on our fast twitch muscles than our pure strength. The only thing left to work on is ensuring that your optimum speed occurs as you pass through the impact zone so that you are accelerating through the ball and striking it squarely. Those two reasons are why many people, once they properly learn the PPGS, actually gain distance. Aside from somehow altering your actual physique, at a certain point there's nothing more you can do to gain power/distance so you can only gain in control.

Robert F's picture

Submitted by Robert F (not verified) on

Great to hear from you, Phil. The compression or hardness of the ball is important to fit with the particulars of the person's swing. If you have a ball that's too hard, you can't properly compress it to get optimal distance and ball flight. If you have a ball that's too soft, you can squash it and lose distance and control. Glad you found one that's best for your swing.

Hank's picture

Submitted by Hank on

I work out regularly. I do 40 push-ups, 10 pull ups and 10 chin-ups. I do wrist exercises with 20 pounds dumb-bells. I walk hills, do leg presses and ride a bike; yesterday 15 miles and the day before 27 . I still need more club head speed. My handicapped friend out drives me on a regular basis. He weighs 340 pounds and does little exercise. He still hits drives 240-260 yards.
We are both near 60 years old.

Ronaldflesch's picture

Submitted by Ronaldflesch (not verified) on

IThink that Don was giving advice to an 83 year old man
when I was in my fourty's I also wanted or neaded more
but know in My sixty's thiese simple exercises are what
I need and more might do more damage than good.
Sometimes just skweezing a tennis ball for a while
makes a world of difference.
thank's Don for helping us that cant do these
heavy exercises. 
 
Ron from Qc. Canada...

Jsmith's picture

Submitted by Jsmith (not verified) on

Steve and T Medley--I bought a SwingRite from Doc and am well satisfied with it. The construction is excellent. I use it to improve my timing (long-time caster and early releaser) and it has helped me a lot. My question is, how does it measure swing speed? I know it has an adjustable setting for tension on the "click", but swing speed measurement eledes me. Help would be appreciated.

Tomwasley's picture

Submitted by Tomwasley (not verified) on

Surge:

What is "fast twitch muscle speed"? Does one lose this specific speed as one ages?

Tom W

T Medley's picture

Submitted by T Medley (not verified) on

Hank,

My best advice is to check out the Swing Rite I've mentioned to Dgrundling below.

There is already a device recommended by Surge and sold by Doc on his (Doc Griffin Golf) Web Site called Swing Rite. Many of we Surgites already have and highly recommend the swing trainer.Doc Griffin's sitehttp://tmgolf.sports.officeliv...The Swing Rite sitehttp://www.swingrite.com/

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

Well good luck then.
I would hate to hear that you quit whether you lose that much weight or not.

I guess I'll keep plugging away whenever I can. ;-)
I'm on a pretty decent roll right now. No ego, just an observation. LOL

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

It doesn't measure swing speed. There is a chart that gives the "estimated" club head speed for each setting but it's only an estimate and, as far as I'm concerned, not a very accurate one. (If it was I could swing about 120 if I remember right, and I can't do that).
It is much easier to make it click at a low number with a vertical swing even with less club head speed.
A couple of the players that I play with have faster club head speed than I do but I can make the SwingRite click on a lower number than they can quite easily.
What it is good for is keeping track of your relative club head speed as time goes by.

P.S. What it does prove is that you can swing a short stick with a vertical swing faster than you can swing a short stick with a rotational swing. The longer the stick the more the rotational swing catches up and eventually passes the vertical swing because we can't control the longer length at some point.

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

http://sportsmedicine.about.co...

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fu...

http://fitpast40.wordpress.com...

We all start losing muscle of all types as we get older. There is an experimental drug that some think may slow this process down.

http://www.montereyherald.com/...

Diet and exercise can help build muscle but our fast twitch structure is mostly genetic and it's debated whether we can change it very much. Most of the people claiming we can change it significantly are selling something.

T Medley's picture

Submitted by T Medley (not verified) on

Hank,

My best advice is the information I've given to Dgundling below.

There is already a device recommended by Surge and sold by Doc on his
(Doc Griffin Golf) Web Site called Swing Rite. Many of we Surgites
already have and highly recommend the swing trainer.

Doc Griffin's site
http://tmgolf.sports.officeliv...

The Swing Rite site
http://www.swingrite.com/

MikefromKy Go Bama. Go Irish's picture

Submitted by MikefromKy Go B... (not verified) on

I don't see 20 lbs being a issue by then. I just need to cut down portions at the table and hit the treadmill. I will hit the weights after dropping 10-15 lbs. I would not know what I would do with myself if I did not play golf plusS I do not think the wife would like very much either L.O.L..

Did you watch the end of the tour championship and see Bill Haas's shot in the playoff out of the water assume stuff.

Great Solhiem cup finish yesterday also cheers to  the lady EURO'S.
Its a shame that they cant get the lady Asians and Aussies involved some how.  

wongphil's picture

Submitted by wongphil on

Hi Steve & Fellow Surgites

Been a while since I have posted, but I have been following the site.

On the question of improving distance, the compression of the ball you use could also contribute. I recently came across Taylormade's XD "distance60" with a low compression of 60, tried it and got 15 yards more off the tee. Thought I'd share this little piece of info...

Cheers
Phil 

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade (not verified) on

Las Vegas Week update

Evening here in LV , wanted to share a brief sumary of a great first day. I showed up ayt Piaute this morninng at 8am with Mr. Amos Terrel. Met Dan Gains, Harold (long time Surge student) and R2 showed up for fitting with Doc Griffin. First thing, those of us arriving early shared breakfast with Don, his brother Ken, Greg M. and Lynn . I was in golf heaven today. After that we made our way over to the driving range/practice area and spent the first 2 hours enjoying detailed instruction from Surge. We sat and listoned and watched as he demoed everything from alignment to grip to why the PPGS swing is not steep but rather allows for a shallower approach than the rotational body swing  popular today . He showed how he could "fix" Tiger in 45 minutes and why Tigers swing is not working. Very cool stuff. Then we all hit balls for several hours with lunch and a putting clinic along the day. Beautiful day, a little warm but a breeze kept it nice out.Surge patiently spent hours with us one student at a time.Of course Greg, Lynn and Ken were all assisting students too. Doc did his driver test to see who will win cameron putter.  The test was to guess what our driver swing speed and distance was with the driver, try our own driver on radar and his driver with the smaller head to compare.

What was mt personal breakthrough while Surge watched and observed my set up and swing?
I'll give you one guess. What do you think was everyones worst aspect of set up and weakest area?? ........Yes, alignment. As much as it has been discussed and taught to us on line by video and blog, ect., believe me when I tell you, even I who preach correct alignment, practice parallel alignment ( at least I thought so) was NOT lined up correctly. Oh I did'nt do too bad on the range with alignment sticks. But Surge and I were  able to play 5 holes out on the Wolf golf course afterwords quiting at 6:45pm for darkness and I learned that what I percieved as good alignment was  not. This is how it went for the first 3 holes; Surge,"Okay Robert, pick a target." I would have to tell him exactly where I planned on hitting the ball. After we agreed on the line to hit on he'd say, Alright now walk into the ball and line up for your shot to that target." "Do you feel like your alignment is good?" Yes Surge.
"Okay, drop a club by your feet and come back here and see." Unbelievably but true, time after time I was aimed right of where my intended alignment was. Then I would make the needed correction which was always to get lined up much more left, I would hit my shot. BTW, Surge hits the ball better than you can imagine. My God does he have control over his ball.
Finally he gave me a better way to get correctly parallel left of my target. When we walk into the ball, always come in  holding the club only with the right hand and set the clubface behind the ball on the intended line and then while our intire body is facing and left of the target it is much easer to see where our feet should be. This has all but completely cured my poor alignment.More details to come as  I think Surge plans on doing another video blog on alignment and demonstrate what I am trying to say.
That's all for tonight everyone. I'll do my best to report in tomorrow.

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

Being strong and physically fit is only a small part of what goes into distance on the golf course.

Much more important are technique and the speed of your fast twitch muscles.

All of that can be improved upon but the most realistic two areas that can be improved are technique and strength. Don't expect too much out of strength training.

 Any gains I can get out of staying in shape are better than nothing  but it isn't much. I'm not even close to being as strong as I was a few years ago and yet I can hit my driver just as far and my other clubs much farther than I could then.

Some slight improvement can be made in fast twitch muscle speed but only limited gains can be expected. The rest is genetic.

I would never out-drive Jamie Sadlowski or outrun Usain Bolt no matter how much I worked out, even if they got fat and lazy.;-)

T Medley's picture

Submitted by T Medley (not verified) on

Never been to sin city. I've been close a few times when traveling west, but never had enough urge to go out of my way. I'm not much for the gambling or night life, but I would like to play some of the golf courses, some day, hopefully. Thanks for the kind words.