Speed vs. Power in the Golf Swing

Speed vs. Power - Which is it that you want in the golf swing? Many golfers think they need to generate more "power" in their swings to hit the ball further and this had lead to some fundamental flaws in both instruction and the average golfer's perspective of the swing. This age old question has been given many answers over the years, but as with all things RST, there is a logical answer to put this myth to rest.

  • Hitting the ball farther is affected more by speed than power
  • Gain more speed by improving your wrist release at impact
  • Practice with a light stick or by holding your club upside down

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Todd
why does CHUCK SHOW THE SPEED WITH HIS RIGHT HAND AND ARM, WHEN IN ONE OF HIS EARLIER CLIPS HE TALKS ABOUT HOW YOU WOULD NEVER SEE A PRO PRACTICING WITH HIS RIGHT HAND AND ARM?
February 21, 2019
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Dean
Hey Todd, Chris addressed that in this thread in response to Jim but Chuck is just illustrating a point here and it's a drill. Most players are right side dominate and it needs to be trained as well to for a proper release/sequence. I watched it and Chuck did use his left arm with the stick as well but the right arm has a roll to play too.
February 22, 2019
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richard
I was told by Jim Flick That if I move my hips 2 mph , makes the club head move faster Thanks Rich Is this statement true?
December 15, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Richard. Moving the hips can produce more club head speed. The issue is they have to decelerate at some point to transfer the speed to the club. If you continually rip the hips through you won't see too much of a difference. Take a look at Step 2 - Core Rotation and Arms vs. Body Release in the Golf Swing. Proper posting combined with a good release for maximum efficiency.
December 15, 2016
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James
For this exercise, why use the right hand instead of the left?
September 30, 2016
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Jim, in most cases, students tend to over use the right side causing things to get out of sequence with the result of flippy or powerless impact positions. Its all about properly sequencing (preserving lag) and releasing the club properly on the way down.
October 1, 2016
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Loran
Is there a limit to power based on the ideal configurations of the swing, if a player does not lose weight or lift weights.
June 13, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Loan. Not really. Being stronger and more flexible does allow for more angle and faster reaction speed. However, there are 5'7" guys that hit it as far as 6'3" guys with a better build. Better body characteristics does add supplement, but doesn't replace good mechanics.
June 15, 2015
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Carole
I don't really know how to ask this question. I've always been a hip slider/spinner, reverse C, casting early. I understand that the slide/spin is clearly causing my casting. I've always shifted past NJA by pulling my whole left side on the downswing to create the shift (obliques, quads, glutes, hips, knees...everything), and then hit against the braced left side. I'm working to simply shift the left glute and left heel, left the club drop into place, and then release. So my question is: what should I "feel" instead of that pulling whole left side that gives me a sense of "leverage". When I shift and then release, it feels uncontrolled and weak with no leverage anywhere. What should I be "feeling"? My forearms? My wrists? I can't seem to feel a strong snap at the ball. My wrists don't feel a strong hit...just out of control. Just a weak almost flip, but not quite. I'm looking for a replacement sensation or feel to focus on that gives me a real sense of a snap at the ball. Any suggestions?
June 1, 2015
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anthony
I was in the same boat as you. It can seem almost impossible sometimes to fight the urge to swing harder when the swing isn't going right. I've discovered through using an IMPACT BAG, my best fastest swings occur with the least amount of effort on the Downswing. The biggest move I realized was on the takeaway, planting my right heel into the ground with knee flex and feeling that my whole right leg position never moves all the way back to impact. It seems counterintuitive at first to feel like your keeping your heel planted at impact but it forces your weight to the left, otherwise you'd lose your balance. Another thing that helps is thinking of only swinging the handle and never letting the butt of the handle point any wear except at the center of your left hip, even through impact as this gives you a great follow through.
June 9, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Carole. If you are looking for that snap feeling try the Increase Your Swing Speed through Hip Deceleration in the Downswing Advanced Section. It will help you stall the body to feel more of a snap in the release. Like a rubber band getting let go and the arms/hands crossover. Combine this feeling of stalling the body and letting the lead wrist release (Vijay Release Drill Advanced Downswing Section) should give you a proper sensation.
June 1, 2015
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Joel
Hi guys. I was watching this video in connection with a recent swing review. Craig advised me that I am letting my right side go too hard at impact which is causing me to cramp up my left side for a chicken wing. I'm struggling to determine what kind of feel I want at release. If I fire hard with the right at the last second (attempting to throw the ball) I am hitting pulls and hooks but with good compression and distance. If I don't go hard enough I get a weak slice. Should I just be throwing the right arm at say 80% to keep me in balance? I'm wondering if I'm trying for too much power versus speed. The only down side is if I don't go at it my distance is fairly low. I hit about 230M with driver.
September 4, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Joel. It sounds like you are still going at it too hard with the "throw." Take a look at the Vijay Drill in the Advanced Downswing Section and the Sledgehammer Video. Both will help you understand more of the dynamics of how the right should feel to add sufficient speed.
September 5, 2014
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Thomas
I have been working on speed and the video "speed vs power" I note that the hands are moving out of sync with the body thus disturbing my rhythm ( revolutions per min ). I have the feeling that I am manipulating my hands rather than letting my body deliver the hands and this feels out of sync. Am I thinking wrong? What can I do to keep my rhythm without feeling that I am manipulating my hands? In the past I taught myself to deliver my hands to the impact position with hip thrust and let the club head get to the ball with centripetal force. Conservation of angular momentum. Help me with this confusion. Thanks, Tom
July 22, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Tom. We want to conserve the energy through lag, but we need to expend it. If you thrust then deliver. You aren't maximizing efficiency and power delivery of the lag. The hands need to rotate and square the club. However, you don't want it to be overly controlling. Work on releasing it properly. Letting physics and momentum be your guide. The snap should be more effortless when put all together. It sounds like you aren't allowing it to be. Look at the release videos in the Downswing Section. Left Hand Release, Lose the Right Hand, and 5 Minutes to Perfect Release. Learn the proper motion and let it happen more naturally.
July 23, 2014
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Kevin
At 2:21 min. mark, Chuck mentions the release of the wrists. For me, if i think in these terms, i will pronate the heck out of my wrists. My question is: is it not the rotation of the forearms and wrists that will give the desired affect?
June 27, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Yes, some forearm rotation and release of the wrist. You just don't want to over rotate the forearm and get the elbow in a bad position.
June 27, 2014
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jason
Also if I want to clear up a little confusion I have. In other videos Chcuck mentions that there are 2 basic ways to swing and Rotary swing is a blend or an optimal mix. For me I use a lot of aggressive body rotation. Therefore I should stay more attached with my right elbow and not go into the depth dimesnion of the swing.. Right now I have a Davis Love type backswing but I am not limiting my rotation oon the Downswing. So in essence I'm not picking one or the other and I am going to extremes with both which casuses an early release. I feels more natural to me to use agressive body rotation so do you recommend I steer that way and try to work on limiting my flying elbow in the backwsing. Limiting my body rotation is very unatural for me and I hit the ball great on occasion but I get into some nasty streaks of shanks.
April 6, 2014
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
I would work on keeping things put together with an elevation point in the right elbow at the base of the back when you are fully wound. This way when you start to work on sequencing you will have less error to lose the lag that you were speaking of in the post below.
April 8, 2014
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jason
I'm struggling trying to maintain lag until the bottom of my swing. I'm releasing early and I have great lag at the beginning of the swing but when my hands get down to my right leg the club is almost fully released. This drill has helped and it also makes me feel as if I'm keeping my hands closer to my legs. What I mean is when I would watch a down the line view of my swing if you draw a verticle line down from my chin my hands were outside of the line. This causes my striked to be very upright. I think over the years from trying to rotate my shoulders open as fast as I could casused the early realease and my hands to be thrown out away from my body. Am I on the right track and should that be a feeling you have if you are doing this drill correctly? The feeling of your hands working down closer to your legs. Sorry if this is not clear but it is a hard thing to explain.
April 6, 2014
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Jason, you are exactly right. If you begin the move with a strong push from any part of the right side of the body including the shoulder, you are are now creating centrifugal force within the club and you will being to throw or cast the club very early. A good way to overcome this sort of thing is to make sure you are fully seated left before the completion of the backswing with the left glute loaded for stability, then my as you are trying to keep the back to the target, you will want to pull the left hip away from the target with the left obliques. The reaction of this move is now unwinding the torso which is now moving your hands and arms back out front and you have not pushed with the right side of the body causing the loss of lag. Work on hitting an impact bag as I have outlined and try to feel when the left obliques begin to pull that you are trying to keep the back to the target as long as possible and the hands and arm are just falling straight down and release into bag.
April 8, 2014

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