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Most golfers assume that as they start to get a bit older, that it's inevitable that they're going to have to start losing massive amounts of club head speed. And, in general, the evidence supports this. So many golfers come to me in their 60's and 70's who can no longer hit the ball over 200 yards off the tee. But, within short order working on the RotarySwing fundamentals, I not only get them hitting their drives over 200 again, but often over 250 yards or more.
It's not some magic trick, I don't increase their flexibility or strength and I don't change their equipment - I teach them the sources of club head speed and how to use them correctly.
As you'll learn in this online golf instruction video, there are three primary sources to increase your golf clubhead speed and you're likely overusing one of them. The one that most all golfers overuse is rotation. Now, it may seem odd that someone who created the "RotarySwing" golf swing model would say that you can rotate too much, but too much of any one thing in a golf swing can be a bad thing. You can have too much lag, too much elevation and too much rotation.
The reason this torso rotation can wreak havoc in your golf swing is that it creates centripetal force, the result of which is centrifugal force. This centrifugal force is a vital source of clubhead speed in the golf swing, but only at the right time! Too much too soon can cause the club head to be thrown away at the top of the golf transition, leading to a loss of club head lag in the golf swing. As you should know by now, lag is the primary source of clubhead speed in the golf swing - you won't hit the golf ball very far without it. So, one of your primary jobs in the downswing is to create and preserve this lag so that it gets released during the impact phase of the golf swing. When you rotate too hard from the top, this causes the club to release too soon and leads to a major loss of clubhead speed.
So, if you want to know more about why you're losing clubhead speed and how to get it back, watch this golf instruction video!
It's no secret, given that I live in Florida and have a Golf Academy at the Ritz Carlton in Orlando, that I give a lot of lessons to a lot of older golfers. It's also no secret that a lot of my students who've been with me for a while, who are in their 60s, 70s, and even in their 80s, still hit the ball over 250 yards in the air, off the tee.
That may sound crazy and it's not just through one simple thing. That's including equipment fitting, launch monitor fittings, using our Trackman and so on and so forth, to help optimize every single part of their swing. More importantly, it's that we've built the right components into their golf swing that allows them to still swing with a great amount of speed as they get older, without losing very little club head speed, and still being able to hit the ball a long ways. Further than many people do in their 20s and 30s.
So what are the keys to this? Well, the first key is understanding what's costing you club head speed, as you get older. Without a doubt, with every single golfer that I see, who as they get older, start to see this precipitous drop off when they hit their 50s or their 60s and all of a sudden they're like, "Gosh, I used to hit my seven iron 160 yards and now I can't hit it 120 yards or 130 yards." If that's you, you need to listen up because this is almost definitely what's going on in your swing.
As you learn from other videos on this site, there are three main keys to producing speed in the golf swing. The one that's costing you is that you're almost definitely using too much rotation in your golf swing when you're trying to produce power. Rotation, as we get older, is going to go down. It's a simple fact of life. We can't do much about it. You can stay fit and it's going to help but as we get older, these muscles just aren't going to be able to fire as fast and aggressively from our torso and our legs that we could do in our 20s and 30s.
What most golfers do is they get ... as they're younger and strong and fit, and they go to the top, they don't have any back issues, they really spin their bodies as hard as they can. Use their right side really hard, aggressive. All of a sudden they find out that, Gosh, as they get older and they're not as fit and strong and they've got a couple back issued or hip issues, their speed just drops off like falling off the side of a cliff. It's trying to overuse rotation that's causing this problem. If your golf swing looks like this every time you swing, and you're spun around and you're trying to really push hard with that right shoulder, this next part of the video that's going to show you how Davis Love, who's almost on the Champion's Tour, had the highest recorded club head speed on the PGA Tour this year, in 2014, and how you can do the same thing and not lose any club head speed as you get older.
Now, for the second part of the video, what are the key components that, as we get older, we want to maintain in our golf swing to not have this precipitous drop off in club head speed? Well, let's first revisit what I said those three sources of club head speed are, in other videos. We have rotation, as I talked about earlier. That one's going to cause us some problems if we rely on that. We have leverage, and we have width. Leverage and width is what I want to talk about.
Leverage and width are the two most important factors in your golf swing for club head speed, no matter what age you are. As you're younger and you can really power through with your body, you can get away with overdoing the rotation side and get away with it with some degree or another, but as you've seen, it's caught up with you. Leverage and width are awesome because we can swing with tons of leverage and width, no matter how old we get because it doesn't take the same muscular effort and it doesn't take the same toll on our spine and our hip and our knee and our feet, that rotation does. So this is why the golfers that I have who are in their 60s and 70s and 80s, still hit the ball a long ways is because we prioritize leverage and width.
So what are those things? Well, we've talked about them in many other videos. Leverage is obviously just the angles that we create in the golf swing. The right arm, the right wrist. These are two very powerful angles. Most golfers, as they start with rotation, and they prioritize rotation over anything else in the swing, as they start down they start to lose these angles and they lose leverage. So the only way they can hit it harder is to spin or rotate harder and, of course, that just creates more club head throw away. The problem just becomes compounded and it's like a dog chasing it's tail. The harder I spin, the worse I throw it, the more speed I lose. I just can't win.
Of course if we swing correctly, like in the videos "Reshaping Your Swing For Lag" for instance, how I talk about working each arm independently and prioritizing leverage, then you have all of this extra angle here that you can release at the bottom instead of prioritizing rotation. Now we're going to be able to be like Davis Love. As we get older we have lots of leverage that we can release at the bottom.
The second thing that Davis Love does really well is that he has a tremendously wide golf swing. Now part of it is genetics. He's tall with long arms. That we can't fake. If you have really short stubby T-Rex arms, there's only so much width you're going to get in your golf swing, but I promise you no matter what your genetic makeup is, you're going to have enough width waist on just on your body build, to produce tremendous club head speed. Probably much, much more than you're doing now and if you're relying on rotation, you're going to pick up a ton of speed as you begin to prioritize width.
How do we do width? Again, lots of videos on the website for this. For instance, it starts right from the take away in the back swing. We want to keep that right arm straight as long as we can in the back swing. I always challenge people, in the Clinics, when we come to Florida. I say, "I want you to ... I bet you a million dollars you can't keep this right arm straight at the top of the back swing." Because they're doing this right away, they don't realize how narrow they're making their golf swing. By the time they get to the top, they're like this and like, "Oh my right arm is straight, pay me my million bucks." It's not straight, no matter how hard you try. It wouldn't be natural to swing the club like this, so everyone folds their right arm. They just do it too soon.
We want to try to keep that right arm nice and wide and straight so that the club has to travel in a much wider arch. The further that club head is away from the center, the piece that is rotating which is you, the faster it has to go to keep up. So think of this little kid on a merry-go-round. The kid on the merry-go-round who's sitting in the center and he's turning, he's not moving very fast but the kid on the outside of the merry-go-round, that's holding on for dear life and is about to go to the hospital, he's flying. They are moving at a fixed ratio to each other but the further that kid is away from the center, the faster he's going to fly off and go to the hospital. The club, the further you can get it away from you, the more it has to accelerate to keep up with the slower moving center part. The problem is again, we've prioritized the center moving part. It can only move so fast. You can't beat leverage and width.
That's the simple reason why every club you have in your bag is a half inch longer than the other, til you get to the woods obviously. For every half inch that you pick up, you're going to pick up about two miles an hour club head speed. It's just the simple math of it. So, if you grab your seven iron instead of your eight iron, you want it to still be the length of the seven iron. If you come to impact and you make this really narrow swing, it's not going to move as fast as the guy who's got his arms out and releasing that away from him. It's a simple matter of physics.
So, we want to make our swings nice and wide, as we go back. So nice, wide top of the backswing. Keep our hands out as far away from our head as we can get them. Relax as you start down. You don't start spinning with rotation coming down, you want to keep your arms nice and soft, so that as we've got this nice, wide swing, we now have leverage. The harder you spin, the more you're going to throw it from top. So as our arm stays nice and relaxed and we come down, I have these angles that I've created and now, just like in the VJ Release Drill, boom. I want to release that club at the bottom, not by spinning my body, but by letting it release and slowing my body down. I'm going to actually post up and push off the ground with my left leg and that's going to force the club to snap even harder.
So, prioritize leverage and width. As you get older, don't rely on rotation. You won't be able to keep up with your speed and you're going to get frustrated with the game, and keep moving up a set of tees every time your buddies what to go to the tips. You can still play the tips, you just have to prioritize leverage and width and de-prioritize rotation. Your golf swing, you'll be able to maintain speed, no matter how old you get.
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-Dr. Jeffrey Broker, Assoc. Prof. in Biomechanics at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Former Senior Biomechanist for U.S. Olympics Committee
-Hub Orr - Happy PREMIUM MEMBER of RotarySwing.com
-Sam Jarman, PGA Golf Instructor in the UK