Try this drill to increase your clubhead speed
By Scott Graham
Tiger Woods’ performance at the Valspar Championship shocked plenty of pundits and not only because he contended down the stretch. The 129mph swing speed he clocked was the fastest driver swing recorded on the PGA Tour this season, quite remarkable when you consider the four back surgeries he has endured.
Added distance off the tee is something on every golfer’s wish list but a lot of amateurs think that increased clubhead speed comes from hitting the ball harder. Sadly, this is not the case and usually results in less distance. Research has shown that the body must move in a certain way to transfer energy and achieve maximum speed. It’s known as proximal to distal movement or kinematic sequencing.
The kinematic sequencing of the downswing must start with the large body segments, the hips and torso, before progressing to the small segments, the hands, arms and club, to maximise power and clubhead speed into impact. Any breakdown in this chain rapidly reduces efficiency and hence distance.
To encourage the correct kinematic sequencing we must train in a similar manner. The “Step Drill” is a fantastic exercise as it encourages the lower body to initiate the downswing, thus allowing energy to be transferred in an efficient manner.
Start in a normal set up position. Bring the front foot to the back foot so the club is in front of the hands and swing to the top of the backswing. From here step towards the target with the lead leg allowing the weight to shift as you do so while the torso, arms, hands and club follow. Try this without the ball first to ensure the movement is correct and efficient.
As with all sports, it is important to physically train the body as well as the technique. Tiger is again a prime example of this.
The kettle bell swing exercise (left) follows the same kinematic sequencing rule seen in an efficient golf swing. Although only working in the sagittal plane, the kettle bell swing requires the body to create power from the ground up to achieve an explosive movement just like that seen in the multi-plane golf swing.
Kettle bell conditioning
To avoid injury and maximise efficiency, follow these points when performing the kettle bell swing:
● Get Set: Set your feet shoulder width apart with the knees slightly flexed. Hold the kettle bell between the legs with a straight back and your head up
● Swing: Keeping the back straight, bend your hips back until the kettle bell is between and behind your legs. Squeeze the glutes to extend your hips and swing weight up to eye line
● Bring it down: Let the weight swing back between your legs as you bend the hips and knees