Pro tips for beginner golfers: speed and power

The distance you’re able to hit a golf ball is largely down to the speed and power of your swing. And if you can hit the ball a long way, then you’re going to get to your destination in less shots – it’s a win-win situation.

But in the words of our PGA pro, Joe, “there’s no point in speeding up poor technique because it’s just faster crap” (and no one wants that, right?!). To get your speed and technique working hand in hand, check out Joe’s top tips below…

Before we get stuck in, it’s worth noting that if you’re reading this on behalf of your mini golfer, it’s best to develop their speed before their technique. With kids we would always recommend developing the athlete before the golfer. Whereas, beginner adult golfers already have the capability to move fast so we work the opposite way around and improve technique first. This blog mostly focuses on honing technique.

Three steps to a powerful swing

1. Focus on leverage

Good news, this is the easiest part of your swing to scrub up on! You should be aiming to create a powerful lever between your lead arm and the club. Ensuring that you’ve got a good grip in the fingers, a full set of the wrists in your backswing (you might know this as wrist hinge) and a really free swish of the club on the way through will create a huge amount of power in your swing. Check out Rory Mcilroy and Luke List’s techniques if you’re looking for a good example of leverage.

2. Aim for a full pivot

Your pivot, or rotation, is basically how your body works during your swing. The objective is to turn your body to create a powerful rotational force and there are different ways to achieve this depending on your flexibility. If you’re fit as a fiddle then you’re best to resist a bit more with your lower half, as you wind your core and ribcage to the right on your backswing, creating more coil and therefore more pressure into the ground.

And if you’re on the less flexible side, you’ll need to allow a bit more rotation of your lower half, let your right leg straighten and left knee go forwards more in your backswing. Make Jack Nicklaus your first port of call if you’d like to study the technique of another golfer who had limited flexibility.

3. Master upward thrust

We’ll let you in on secret here, a powerful thrust tends to happen once you’ve conquered your pivot, without you even needing to try. If flexibility isn’t an issue for you then you’ll have created lots of resistance in the coiling of your pivot to fuel your upward thrust. And if you’re a little less flexible then it’s best not to worry about upward thrust at all and stick to your free rotation and mighty swish.

Three speed and power slayers

1. Poor grip

If you’re gripping too much with the palms of your hands or if your grip pressure is too tight then you’re going to lose leverage. Think your grip needs work? Get it sorted with our grip tips blog.

2. A sloppy set up

Bad posture in your address position can wreak havoc with your range of motion. Things like hunching or hips that are too flat or tilted lead to extra tension in your arms, neck and spine, which limits mobility in your muscles and joints. Check out our blog for pointers on fixing your posture.

3. Inaccurate strike

You might have a perfect grip, posture and set up but if you’re not finding the centre of your club face consistently then your speed, power and distance are going to suffer. Unfortunately, there can be a million reasons for this so you’re best to speak to your coach about the problem because there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer.

Joe’s top drills to conquer speed and power

  • Train with SuperSpeed sticks: These practise sticks are precisely weighted for training your body to move faster. The aim is to get as loud a ‘swish’ noise out of the stick as you possibly can and to train both your dominant and non-dominant sides to move with good sequence at maximum speed. Sets of sticks are pretty pricey but you can come in for a session with one of our pros to have a go with ours.
  • Try the rapid fire drill: Line up four balls down in row and then work through, hitting them one after another, in quick succession. Keep swishing your club back and through as you work along the row. This repetitive motion will help you familiarise yourself with that back and through motion. Joe says to make sure that you never really stop moving throughout the drill.
  • Concentrate on turning: Joe recommends approaching this different according to your flexibility. If you’re less flexible, work on hitting some shots with your feet together because this will force you to rotate your body rather than sway (which can be all too tempting!). And if you’re bendier than Stretch Armstrong, start this drill with your feet together and then step to the right as you turn our body back and really focus on keeping a stable base. A resistance band around your legs will create a strong visual reminder of what your body is doing during this drill. Really let your upper body rotate as you go and feel your chest wind up.

You might have got the gist by now that speed and power are a bit tricky to work on alone but we hope Joe’s tips have given you some food for thought. Sessions with our golf pros are available from £25 for half an hour, find out more here.