Speed and Distance

By:  Todd Graves
Reprinted from Nov. ’09 Practice Tip.


Everyone wants more distance. And yes, distance is an important factor when it comes to playing the game of golf. The farther you hit the golf ball, the shorter your approach shots giving you more opportunities on the green to make putts, birdies and pars.

But distance is a product of speed and can come at a price where, often when you try to swing harder, you reduce consistency often accuracy. So how do you create more speed and distance without the sacrifice?

The answer to producing more speed and maintaining accuracy is to train for speed and develop the fundamentals that produce speed. You must remember however that speed and distance are not the same thing. Speed is the velocity of the club head while distance results in how far the ball travels.

Therefore, speed is learning to move the club faster while distance is making sure that when you do, the ball is struck in a way that takes advantage of the newly found speed.

So how do you train for speed?

The first thing is to understand that speed is first and foremost a bi-product of great technique where you use the parts of the body that produce speed, mainly the hands and arms. This does not mean, however, that the lower body is not an important part of producing speed. The lower body, particularly the spine, is critical for positioning the body so that the arms can both produce speed and move the club at the proper path and approach.

To see more about the lower body movement:  CLICK HERE

When the club moves correctly with proper angles, path and maximum speed, the elasticity of the ball also contributes to speed by compressing and when it spins, you get flight. As you can see, there are many variables to maximizing speed and distance. So let’s start with the main speed producers, the hands.

The hands being major speed producers are attached to the arms. Therefore, the wrist hinge and arm action are inter related. What can severely inhibit hand action is an improper grip where the hands oppose each other’s movement and also inhibit the proper movement of the arms. One major speed inhibitor is when the hands are not unified or working together. By unifying the hands by tucking the lead thumb into the trail hand where the hands can use the hands by leveraging the club. Leveraging the golf club is nothing more than when the hands and arms hinge and fold correctly placing them in a position to produce speed.



Once the leverage position is produced, it can now deliver the club on path with proper approach angles but only if the shoulders have moved correctly. Shoulder movement is the next place where arm motion can be interrupted.

This occurs when the hips are rotated and the spine can move properly. As you can see where this conversation is heading. The arms and hands produce the most speed and yes it is true that you can sit in a chair and produce quite a bit of speed. This indicates that the hands and arms and torso are major speed producers. But don’t underestimate the chair in this scenario where the chair supports everything that is going on with the hands and arms.

Since you are not sitting in a chair when you play, speed becomes directly related to the properly using all of the body positions to maximize the efficiency. When it comes to Moe Norman’s golf swing, from address to finish, all of the body is inter-related. (This is why when Moe referred to this swing, he called it a “move.)

Once the hips rotate correctly, the spine moves correctly forward in the backswing where the arms and shoulders can arrive in the leveraged position. With the hands, being correctly hinged you can now deliver the club into impact.

This occurs when the lower body begins tore-rotates and the arms move on plane into impact where the lead knee leads the downswing, is flexed and stable as the arms straighten through the ball releasing the clubface.

This movement is a sequence of motions that must be learned from our instructional approach of U.L.T. (Understand, Learn, Train).

From the ULT approach, you understand the positions, learn the positions and train and sequence the motion until your golf swing is balanced, leveraged, timed and powerful and you are able to effortlessly produce speed.

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