Dial Up Your Swing Speed

The secret to club head speed is in your hands, wrists and arms.

Earlier in my career, as director of instruction at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, we had access to Biomechanical Research data that analyzed the golf swings of PGA Tour Players. Sophisticated computer analysis factually discovered that 85 percent of club head speed was created by the hands, wrists and arms.

So, does this mean the other 15 percent of the swing involving the body is unimportant? Not at all. But it makes sense to master the 85 percent involving the hands, wrists and arms before moving on.

This approach contradicts most modern teaching, which emphasizes the body moving the club rather than the body moving in response to the use of the hands and arms swinging the club. You need to make this distinction to develop a natural, instinctive, effective and repeatable swing with club head speed. With a correct grip, set-up and aim, your effort to swing the club will shift your weight naturally. A conscious effort to shift weight is a mechanical response that destroys feel and makes a repeatable golf swing hard to come by. Learning how to swing the golf club with your hands, wrists and arms is the key to developing a repeatable swing.

What should that swing look like? As Arnold Palmer says, “Swing your swing.” Every golf swing—from Jack Nicklaus’ to Bubba Watson’s to those of the trick-shot artists who hit balls nearly as far off their knees as they do from a normal address position—starts with the hands, wrists and arms.

To get you on your way to feeling this and increasing your club head speed, try these two swing drills.

1. Feet Together – The best way to take ownership of a free and fluid arm swing is to hit shots with your feet together, heels touching. This drill requires an efficient swinging of the hands, wrists and arms while maintaining balance on a very narrow platform. The goal is to hit the ball 80 percent as far as you can from a normal stance. After a good deal of practice this drill reduces lunging of the body and makes you a fine arm swinger.

2. Left Foot, Right Toe (for right-handed players) – This is a great drill if your body has been out-racing your club head to the ball. If you lunge forward with your body you will fail to make good contact and possibly fall on your butt. With the weight mostly on your left foot and supported slightly with the big toe of your right foot, it is easier to focus on the feel of the hands and arms swinging the clubhead through the ball with your body rotating as a result of the arm swing.

Dennis Murray is head PGA Teaching Professional at Valley Country Club in Centennial and owner of Uncomplicated Golf Instruction. 720-940-5007; [email protected]

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