A faster swing is the Holy Grail for golfers, something almost everyone wants. The concept is simple: All else being equal, your distance increases in proportion with your swing speed. But the “all else being equal” part means that you can’t simply swing harder to gain more speed. You must maintain the correct form to hit the ball accurately. After all, a long drive hit out of bounds won’t do you much good. Increasing your swing speed, therefore, requires relatively small adjustments that fit within a smooth golf swing.
Angle your front foot farther toward the target at address. In the book “What’s a Golfer to Do?” PGA Tour pro Stuart Appleby recommends flaring your foot to help you make a full hip rotation during your downswing.
Keep your eyes horizontal to avoid a reverse pivot. If your head tilts toward the target during your backswing, your hips may follow by sliding forward, when they should be rotating in the opposite direction. If your hips move forward on your backswing your body won’t coil sufficiently and you’ll lose speed on your downswing. Golf instructor Hank Haney recommends using the brim of a baseball cap to help keep your eyes parallel to the ground.
Flex your back knee during the backswing to prevent your hips from over-turning. Your shoulders should turn about 90 degrees during the backswing, but your hips should turn about half that amount. This hip-shoulder relationship coils your upper body, like a spring. If the spring is sufficiently tight, it will release on the downswing, creating greater clubhead speed.
Transfer your weight from your back foot to your front foot during the downswing. This weight shift is the engine that powers your downswing. Test your weight shift by taking a large, rectangular sponge to the practice range and trying a drill suggested by instructor David Leadbetter in “What’s a Golfer to Do?” Place the sponge under your front foot, address the ball and take a practice swing. You should feel a bit of pressure on the sponge during the backswing, but there should be much more pressure during the downswing, if you’ve shifted your weight forward properly. A proper weight shift will also prevent a reverse pivot on the downswing.
Move your weight from the toes of your front foot to the heel during the downswing. While it’s important to shift your weight forward as you approach the impact point, don’t simply thrust your hips at the target. Instead, rotate them fully, so you’re facing the target line during your follow-through. Your initial weight shift should place most of your weight over the front of your foot, but a proper hip rotation will then move your weight to your heel as your downswing proceeds.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.