Not So Fast! The Swing Speed Study
Everyone wants to hit the golf ball farther, and add swing speed. A lot of it has to due to what we see on TV in the professional game. There is no question that at the pro level, golf has evolved to a power game, and it all started with Tiger Woods rising to the top.
The name of the game is to hit it as far as possible off the tee, keep it in play, and be proficient enough with your wedge and putter to convert birdies.
The stats back it up too. Mark Broadie’s revolutionary strokes gained analysis, and his book Every Shot Counts clearly shows distance can be king. Golfers can separate themselves more from each other in their ability to score lower by hitting the ball farther.
I’m not against any golfer trying to figure out ways to hit the ball farther. But I want to see them do it properly.
If you want to hit the ball farther I think you have three options:
- Increase your swing speed – I recommend SuperSpeed Golf and physical training with golf-specific exercises
- Improve your ball speed through strike efficiency
- Make sure you are playing with the correct equipment
In this article, I want to focus on swing speed. I’ll let you know what reasonable expectations amongst recreational golfers, and steps to help you hit the ball farther are.
What is Reasonable?
Tour pros swing speed with their drivers anywhere from 110-125mph. These are the speeds required to launch the ball 300 yards and farther. Any time they can add a few miles per hour to their swing, it could mean the difference of making cuts and cashing bigger paychecks. Their livelihoods are at stake.
This website is for everyday golfers, and my goal is to help filter out all of the noise out there and get you thinking realistically about your game. You are not playing golf to cash a paycheck. Hopefully, you are playing first and foremost to have fun and enjoy yourself, and have a secondary desire to lower your handicap over time.
Looking at the average swing speeds of male golfers with drivers you’ll see much more reasonable numbers:
Most golfers can’t crack 100mph with their driver!
To add speed to your swing and hit the ball much farther, you will likely need to start some fitness regimen. If you are short on time, one training aid I recommend is SuperSpeed Golf.
Swing Speed by Handicap Level
I was interested in finding out the relative swing speeds of golfers based on their handicap level, so I had my friends over at Swingbyte run an analysis.
We took driver and 7-iron swing speeds (around 800,000 shots total) and separated them by handicap level. As you can see, there is an obvious correlation between playing ability and swing speed. As the handicap goes down, swing speed goes up.
This is not a complete surprise at all.
The good news is that you don’t need superhuman swing speed to play golf effectively. Small to moderate gains in speed can lead to tangible results.
With players in the 0-5 handicap range, drivers are topping out at about 95 mph, and seven irons are about 75 mph.
Wait for a second, that’s not that fast?
When Shot Scope analyzed millions of drives from various handicap levels, they found that most players were driving the ball 230 yards and below. There was undoubtedly a correlation between longer drivers and lower handicaps.
Distance is Nice, but…
Again, I will never dispute that hitting the ball farther can help you lower your scores. What I can argue is that you don’t need tremendous distance to reach your golfing goals.
I have seen plenty of players who can’t hit their drives more than 230 yards shoot in the 70s without breaking a sweat. What you see on TV is not realistic, and you should stop using that as a benchmark for your game.
I hope seeing the data will help you realize that some of the best amateur golfers are not swinging as fast as you think they are. If you want to set a goal for yourself to add 3-5 mph to your swing, I think that is extremely reasonable and can be within your reach. However, going from 90mph with your driver to 110mph is probably not going to happen unless you are willing to go to some extremes.
Most golf courses are going to be in the 5800 – 6500-yard range, which does not require 275+ drives, or 170 yard 7-irons to score well. If you were playing on a 7300-yard professional setup, then yes, I would tell you to start thinking about working on swinging the club much harder.
If you want to increase your swing speed, then check out SuperSpeed Golf – you can get 10% off their system using this link. This is a excellent system that works if you put the work in. If you are interested in finding out some ways you can add distance without increasing your swing speed, check these articles out: