Making a Golf Swing: Speed vs. Power

Many golfers confuse speed and power as if they are two opposites that need to be balanced during the swing. In fact, speed and power are very much the same thing when it comes to golf, and you can’t really have one without the other. When you are able to make a swing with a high rate of speed, you will have a lot of potential power at your disposal. As long as you put the club on the back of the ball cleanly, you should see that speed translated into power and the ball will shoot off the club face.

For most players, it is better to think about making speed than generating power. This is just a subtle difference, but trying to be powerful is a recipe for using the wrong muscles during the swing. When you think about creating speed, you want to use your rotation to whip the club around your body and accelerate is as much as possible at impact. When you are able to increase your club head speed through the hitting area, your power will go up right along with it.

Those who try to be powerful with their swing often end up squeezing the grip off the club too tightly with their hands and forearms. The best way to generate speed is to keep a comfortable and relaxed grip so the club is free to whip through the ball as your body continues to turn toward your finish position. Practice holding the club with a relaxed grip for maximum speed and power – a good rule of thumb is to hold the club as tightly as you need to in order to maintain control, but not much tighter than that.

In the pursuit of more speed in your swing, try to keep your tempo as smooth and even as possible, letting the club naturally accelerate down toward the ball. Don’t force the club to speed up – let it gather that speed gradually from the top of the swing on down into impact. When you are able to keep your swing free and easy is when you are going to see the best results from a club head speed standpoint. With your speed optimized, all that will be left to do is make clean contact and swing through to a good finish position. And hopefully, when you look up, the ball will be sailing long down the middle of the fairway.