March 25, 2020
Increase your Club Head Speed
One thing that decreases with time as we get older is a loss of distance off the tee. Over the past month I have been asked numerous times by students about how to regain some of the distance that they have lost with the driver. In each case I was able to help them recover some of their length, but the real fix to their improvement is exercise, stretching, and golf related drills.
Power is generated from club head speed, weight shift, and body rotation of the shoulders and hips. These elements need to be coordinated for maximum transfer of power. Club head speed can be created by just swinging the arms and hands. I can still hit the ball over 200 yards off my knees, but when I add a weight shift from my back foot forward to my front foot along with the centrifugal force of the turning of the body through the ball, I greatly increase my clubhead speed and distance.
Over twenty years ago, I attended a PGA Seminar in Florida on aging and the effects on the golf swing. What was emphatically stressed was the need for exercise and stretching on a regular basis. Age will catch up to us all, BUT you can slow the process. For golfers you need mobility. I would recommend exercises that stress full body rotation, arm movement, and hip flexibility. The internet is an excellent source of information on exercises and stretches for all ages of golfers.
Up until the Corona virus hit us, I went to the gym five days a week. I was usually in there for 45 minutes. The first 20 minutes concentrated on stretching and loosening up of my muscles. In those 20 minutes, I included pushups and crunches on a balance ball. I then did my weight training, which centered on my triceps, forearms, and chest. I used to be able to lift a lot more weight, but now I just want to maintain my muscles and give them a workout. I finish with leg presses or go on the stationary bike (my least favorite). If I do the bike the workout lasts a bit longer.
What I have seen with my older golfers as they age is a loss of mobility. It is subtle and not realized. The swing gets shorter and weight shift and body turn get less. Then all of a sudden they are wondering, "what happened?' It can be turned around and improved, but it will take some work. First the exercise commitment and then some golf drills. Next get the body moving more in the swing. Stretch the back swing higher, move more weight to your back foot on the backswing, rotate your hips and shoulders more on the back and forward swing. Make it uncomfortable at first. In time you will get used to it and it will feel natural to you again.
Lastly you need to increase club head speed. Exercise, stretching and added movement in your swing will help, but you need to make a conscious effort to speed up the swing. I like my students to swing something very light, like the yellow aiming stick I have in the pictures, and swing it as fast as they can. The goal is to make it "swoosh" as loud as you can. You can warm up on the range by holding an iron backwards down by its' head and swing the handle to get a similar effect. There are companies that make very good practice clubs that promote this concept. One such product is the Orange Whip that you can find online.
You want more distance, then you will have to work for it. Strength, exercise, and flexibility are the foundation blocks. Then you need to free your body so you can let your arms and hands freely swing through the ball. Will take a bit of time, but it's attainable. Good luck.