I interview everyone who signs up for golf lessons with me. Almost everyone tells me that they want more distance, especially with their driver. In order to achieve more distance, a golfer must increase the clubhead speed.
Bryson DeChambeau, a professional golfer currently on the PGA Tour, also wanted more distance in his game. He spent the three months that the Tour was off, due to the pandemic, to work on changing his body.
In those three months, DeChambeau gained 20 pounds of muscle. He has gone up two shirt sizes, and his arms look like Popeye. He trained in the gym to get more speed in his swing. He now carries the ball 330 yards in the air.
“My ultimate goal is to get as strong as I can, applying more speed to my swing,” he said. His swing speed in now 190 mph – 15 mph faster than the tour average.
Most of us won’t go to that extreme to achieve more distance. However, we can pay attention to some of the following:
• Better equipment. The most important part of your club is the shaft. It must match your clubhead speed. The grip must match your hand size.
• The correct golf ball. If your ball speed improves 2 to 4 mph, you can gain 4 yards of distance. There are several types of balls and you need to get the one that suits your swing.
• Posture. You need to create a solid base with weight balanced over the balls of your feet and your spine angle tilted forward.
• Lighten up your grip. A tight grip pressure on the club creates lack of wrist hinge. You need a light hold on the club with “spaghetti” arms and relaxed shoulders.
• Shallow one-piece takeaway. Think long and wide on the backswing.
• Better sequencing of upper and lower body. On the forward swing the sequence must be lower body first, bringing the upper body and arms and finally the clubhead.
• Centering of clubface contact. One way to measure this is to put face tape or powder (such as Dr. Scholl’s foot powder) on your clubface. Hitting shots off the toe or heel of your club decreases your distance and accuracy. Experiment with standing closer or farther from the ball and make sure you maintain your spine angle. Also experiment on tee height.
• Finish position. Finish with the clubhead and shaft behind you, with the dominant shoulder, knee and shoelaces facing the target.
Remember that clubhead speed is measured just prior to impact and beyond.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local courses. firstname.lastname@example.org; golfdoctorjean.com