Should Golfers Chase Swing Speed?

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New equipment has helped the game of golf a lot.

One thing that I have seen a lot of in the fitness world is swing speed. We have a swing speed radar and it was easy to get, easy to use, and easy to chart progress.

I like using it for before and after.

I hate the idea of using swing speed to chase a certain number.

We also now have systems to increase swing speed. Some products are designed to swing differently weighted clubs to help improve power production in the swing.

These products are great mostly because they work and promote balance. The programs tied to this equipment usually calls for swings in the opposite direction. They also promote bringing up the speed of off hand speed.

I like these products for those reasons.

I do see some issues with how these tools are used. A crow bar can be good for prying nails but bad if going through a car window. Just like that scenario, some people will seek swing speeds.

Do You Have the Strength to Withstand High Swing Speeds? 

Many golfers will admit that they are not professional golfers, yet they try to have the same speed as one. Rory and Brooks Koepka swing the club at about 120 MPH. I have also seen both of them lift over 300 lbs.

Most golfers do not lift over 300 lbs.

These guys are strong. This allows them to swing that hard. I would even argue that Rory, potentially, is not strong enough for his swing speed. His rib injury could also be tied to the overall volume of swings. Either way, not the point. Strong golfers can swing hard.

If you are not as strong as these guys, then your body is not going to be able to handle swinging like them. You either will never get to that number or your body will break down.

Swinging a golf club 120 MPH requires a certain level of force production in a short amount of time. Muscular strength improves total force production. Power dictates how fast you can produce it.

Strength builds durability. Someone who can develop high levels of force can also control high levels of force. If you are not training for strength then you should not be eyeing high swing speeds.

The Overuse Risk

Golfers take a lot of swings, in one direction. This produces a lot of repetitive stress. The number one cause of injury in golf is overuse.

This is why I am a big fan of training as little rotation as possible during the golf season. I play 4+ times per week in season and I know that it is a ton of swings. If I started training for more rotation, I do not think my body would hold up.

The golf swing is also one of the most powerful movements someone can do. Remember that power is force produced quickly. I really doubt a golfer can find a way to produce the same force in a shorter amount of time than swinging the club (outside of using a swing speed system, which essentially is swinging a club without a head). It is unlikely that you will find a way to produce more rotational power than playing the game.

In MA, we have a distinct off season. That would be the time to work on swing speed and rotational power. If you replace swings with rotational work then the risk for overuse will diminish. The benefits will also be better.

Trying to improve swing speed with maximal swings, while also trying to play good golf is a tough balancing act. Something has to give. Your game is going to suffer or you’re power won’t increase. Either option makes it a smart call to wait for the offseason.

Improving Power without Chasing a Swing Speed

You can improve power in a million different ways. Swing speed training is just one of them. It actually may be the most difficult one.

You could mix in jumping, kb swings, med ball work, etc. and get tremendous benefit. Exercises that are new produce great results in a short amount of time. Swinging a weighted club is not a new stimulus.

Combining good strength training with alternative power methods is a solid strategy to increasing power while decreasing the risk of overuse.

If you need a strength training program check out Distance Made Simple for Golf. This 12 week program will help with your strength and mobility for just $99.