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Stop Putting the Brakes on Your Swing Speed

One of the reasons hybrid clubs have become so popular is because the average golfer doesn’t generate enough club head speed to compress the ball with their 3 or 4 iron. Lack of strength and flexibility is usually suspected as the culprit, so off to the gym you go to strengthen your core, lift weights and stretch to increase your athleticism. However, the most common reason golfers can’t hit a golf ball as far as they should is because they simply grab the club through impact, slowing it down. Ironically, when a golfer adds muscular effort to control the club face hoping to add power and accuracy, they create tension and the exact opposite happens. Too much tension in the hands and the arms is a form of manipulation and not only slams the brakes on your swing speed – it makes it difficult to achieve a repetitive golf swing.

If you’re not hitting it as far as you know you can, you are probably losing speed where it counts the most, through impact. If you are losing speed, you can bet that you have tension in the hands, arms and shoulders on the down swing, as you approach the ball, and through impact. This tension typically originates for two reasons. One being “hit anxiety”, which is more psychological and deals with anticipating the strike. The other is tension, which can be caused by the arm and hand manipulation necessary to compensate for bad technique. When you are out of position early in the swing sequence you can intuitively sense that you are in a less powerful position, which subsequently forces you to add muscular effort for power and control.

Because most golfers have never actually felt the proper technique to generate greater swing speed, they instinctively substitute muscular effort, which creates muscular tension. Although the arms feel like they are moving fast, club head lag is lost early which slows club head speed through impact. Many of my students initially say that the changes we have made don’t feelas powerful even though they have picked up distance. I explain that they have always equated power with effort and we have now taken the effort out of the swing. What they are now feeling is the speed that results from tension free movement vs. the tension that muscular effort creates.

Remember, regardless of how much strength you possess, when effort is added in the absence of proper technique, you are interrupting the arms’ natural ability to swing, rotate and extend, which creates maximum speed through impact. Instead of adding muscular effort, release the tension in your hands, arms, chest and shoulders and resist grabbing and controlling the club through and past impact and you will see that distance comes from speed and not effort.

Jon Manack is the Director of Instruction for Leap Golf at SilverRock Resort in La Quinta, CA and Shadow Hills Golf Club in Indio, CA. This article contains excerpts from Jon’s forthcoming book The Anatomy of an Efficient Golf Swing. For more information please visit or contact Jon Manack at 281-415-6613 to set up an appointment.

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About the Author

Jon Manack, Jon Manack Golf Instruction
Indio, CA 92203

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