A good round of golf starts from the opening tee and ripping one down the first fairway will often put a player in the right frame of mind for the next 17 and a half holes.
For many golfers, adding extra distance on those drives is their biggest aim in their all-round game. To do that, it’s a case of increasing your clubhead speed.
The faster your club is moving when it connects with the ball, the more kinetic energy it’ll transfer, resulting in a longer drive.
But just how can golfers improve their clubhead speed? We’ve picked out five areas to focus on.
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Bryson DeChambeau, 2020 US Open winner and the PGA Tour’s undisputed long drive king, reportedly gained 20lbs of muscle during an eight month period in 2020, with a target of 400 yard drives on his mind.
An intense training schedule saw him gain that extra strength, which ultimately helped him increase his swing speed, and in turn, distance. DeChambeau did break that 400 yard barrier recently, recording a 406 yard attempt at October’s Long Drive Championships.
Building up that required strength isn’t just a case of working on your biceps as many might assume. Instead, focus on muscle definition in your abdominals, and your core strength.
A weak core could see you lose some of the force generated from your legs, meaning not all of your power is transferred into your upper body for that big swing. Well used exercises like squats, planks and crunches are a good place to start.
While muscles will no doubt improve your club speed, it’s important to draw the balance between strength and flexibility, as we all need both attributes for a powerful drive.
The rotation your back and midriff undertakes with every swing of the club puts a strain on the body. Training yourself to cope with these demands with the minimal of fuss is another key way to increase distance from the tee.
Improved flexibility helps to optimise your backspin by creating the largest arc, and therefore distance for the club head to travel on the swing.
Just like bulking up, improving your body’s flexibility will likely require extra time in the gym, largely focusing on stretching exercises.
Improve your technique
It’s all good and well being very strong and particularly flexible, but if your technique is off, the drive will be too.
Let’s face it, a long drive is no good if it bananas off to the right and ends up in the rough stuff.
Everyone’s natural golf swing is different, but while most of us will perfect a swing that feels most comfortable to ourselves, there’s a chance that comfort is resulting in speed loss in your swing.
This is where speaking to your local pro at your course can be most useful. Work with them to analyse your swing to see if there are any obvious improvements to be made to your technique.
Try overspeed training
While strength and flexibility training are generally geared towards more general workouts and exercises, overspeed training in the context of golf is a bit more specific.
Overspeed training requires the purchase of a small weight to add onto to the end of your club, or a dedicated weighted club to use for the sole purpose of the exercise.
The method involves players swinging the weighted club a number of times prior to teeing off for their round – having swung the heavier club beforehand, the thought is that a lighter club will then be swung with greater speed and momentum.
It’s not a way to improve your physical strength, but more a technique to “trick” your brain into swinging your club faster. Take a look at the Titleist Performance Institute’s full guide on overspeed training for more info.
Think about your clubs
As much as ultimately a golfer’s clubhead speed and distance off the tee comes down to the individual, different equipment can undoubtedly have some kind of effect.
If your swing speed is naturally on the lower end of the scale, ensuring you have the clubs to match is paramount.
Generally, a lighter driver club shaft will help those with a slower swing speed maintain consistency, practice good technique and ultimately improve your distance from the tee.
As with addressing your technique, getting help to judge which clubs are best for you is always the way to go.
While it mightn’t improve your clubhead speed, it could be the key to better drives.