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Improvement in swing speed through technique: How? Relation to handicap?


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I had my first Trackman session yesterday (real, not juiced trying to sell me a club) and hit 90 balls or so with a driver.  The good thing: my swing speed didn't decrease during the session!  

 

Unfortunately, the "bad" list was long:

AOA was -2 to -4

It was too easy for me to get off plane and pull the ball (snap hook)

I need to be patient.  Even when I was patient, I need to develop even more patience and become smooth. 

 

I learned a lot; if I am not patient and low through the ball, I come in steep. If I am patient and low, I can swing very "easy" as I am loading more efficiently, still generating the same 265-275 carry and 300 rollout. 

 

When I swung "hard" and didn't stay behind the ball; I had AOA of -2 to -4 and SS of 105-107.  When I swung "normal" and had AOA of zero (just trying to stay down and low), I had the 104-105 SS with a bit more consistent smash factor and same distance.  When I took the loading a bit further by a few degrees and really stayed behind the ball, I got SS of 106-107 and smash of 1.50+, which were my best drives at close to 280 carry.  I was surprised my groupings were this close: in the last 10 balls I hit, my shortest drive was 295 and longest was 304.  Of course, on the range, it is easy to get into that groove.  I was seeing smash of 1.50 on pretty much every swing in the last 15; the TM operator used sunscreen to mark my ball and they were all in the sweet spot, give or take a few mm (which is why he liked that club for me, which is actually my own Mizuno driver). 

 

First of all, what should I be working on?  I know to increase my AOA, but how?  Is it keeping my torso and shoulders leading my arms?  The person running the TM noted that my arms were not straight at impact and that the club was not down the line enough. Should I focus solely on that, rather than stacking by staying behind  the ball and hitting up? 

 

Also, at a consistent (for my 90 ball test) of 104-107 swing speed, with max 108, should I do any work to further juice my swing speed, or focus primarily on getting my AOA in a positive direction?  FWIW, I just turned 44 and have been playing for 14 months, but did play a ton between the ages of 12-14.  Current handicap is 5.4, but my attainable goal is 3, as I have had 3 rounds in the past 10 with handicap scores under 3.5.  I hear a ton about how "length is king" on these boards, but my gut tells me that trying to chase a 110mph swing speed may not be the best use of my time at this point.  Rather, I should focus on putting more (as I average mid 30's putts/round).  Then again, if I can jump from 105 to 108 with less energy "bleed" due to crappy mechanics, then perhaps that is worth something.  

 

I am a pretty small guy at 5 foot 9, 165lbs and not crazy athletic, so I don't intend to be hitting 360 yard drives anytime soon.  But if I could be more efficient and pull that 107mph swing speed out on the tee without overswinging and knowing I will hit the fairway, I would be really happy.  

 

Thoughts? Thanks in advance! 

 

 

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First of all, what should I be working on?  You should work on finding an instructor that can help you identify the core swing flaws that are causing the poor impact conditions (or at the very least post a video on here). 

 

All of your other potential avenues of "improvement" would just be adding on compensations and are purely guesswork. You are already a 5 with decent speed, so if you fix the core issues you should easily swing 110+

 

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I have gained SS by learning to swing more freely. I had a tendency to try to guide the ball while trying to press for more speed. These efforts to guide the ball and swing harder were actually robbing me of the speed I was capable of. I learned how to guide the club without the tension and my SS increased from 106 to 113 pretty quick. My contact got a lot better too because I am able to return the clubhead to the ball much more consistently when relaxed. The best thing is I FEEL like I'm just swinging smooth and I don't get nearly as exhausted as I used to.

 

BT

 

Cobra LTD Pro 9.5° Proforce V2 Black 7F4 @ 44.5"
Cobra LTD Black 14.5° Aldila RIP Beta 80 S @ 43"
Cobra F6 16.5° Aldila RIP Beta 80 S @ 41.5"
Mizuno MP5 4-PW - Aldila RIP Tour 115 R
Mizuno MP-T5 52, 56 & 60 - TT Wedge
Grips - Grip Master Master Perforated Midsize

Oddysey Stroke Lab V-Line Blk 33.5"
 

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1 hour ago, Ri_Redneck said:

I have gained SS by learning to swing more freely. I had a tendency to try to guide the ball while trying to press for more speed. These efforts to guide the ball and swing harder were actually robbing me of the speed I was capable of. I learned how to guide the club without the tension and my SS increased from 106 to 113 pretty quick. My contact got a lot better too because I am able to return the clubhead to the ball much more consistently when relaxed. The best thing is I FEEL like I'm just swinging smooth and I don't get nearly as exhausted as I used to.

 

BT

 

OK, I have felt this!  Just can't harness it.  

 

How do you relax?  it is tough to tell someone not to do something.....

Edited by RoyalMustang
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1 hour ago, sittingbull said:

105 SS 265 carry plus with a -4 AOA that rolls out to 300 or so.. thats nuts 

 

That was on the -2 to flat AOA, probably hovering around 106.5 more than 105.  Ball speed was consistently 158-161; good smash factor!  I was catching the bulls-eye most every swing which helps! 

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1 hour ago, MonteScheinblum said:

Tour average is down 1 to zero.  Trying to get a positive AoA as a direct pursuit ends well….never.  You improve your swing and AoA takes care of itself.  

 

Your description tells me you have a root cause fault, that gets worse when you try and swing faster.  You have to address that.

Everyone always pushes for that positive AoA. I've never been able to achieve it consistently and maintain accuracy. I start getting the pull hooks.

Edited by RainShadow

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4 minutes ago, RainShadow said:

Everyone always pushes for that positive AoA. I've never been able to achieve it consistently and maintain accuracy. I start getting the pull hooks.

That’s because the more up you hit, the more difficult it becomes to align face, path, sweet spot and target.

 

Up 2-3 is fine if it’s the result of matching parts, but just plain trying to hit up 5, gets you in a dark place mechanically.

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7 minutes ago, MonteScheinblum said:

That’s because the more up you hit, the more difficult it becomes to align face, path, sweet spot and target.

 

Up 2-3 is fine if it’s the result of matching parts, but just plain trying to hit up 5, gets you in a dark place mechanically.

 

What are the keys to getting up 2-3* the right way, in your opinion?

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1 hour ago, MonteScheinblum said:

Tour average is down 1 to zero.  Trying to get a positive AoA as a direct pursuit ends well….never.  You improve your swing and AoA takes care of itself.  

 

Your description tells me you have a root cause fault, that gets worse when you try and swing faster.  You have to address that.

 

Yeah, I know what it is.  Not being patient at the top and loading through the torso and hips.  My hands come through too quickly. When I am patient and even in tempo (oosthuizen) I get great launch and plenty of distance.  I can feel my club dragging behind my body instead of pushing along.  I had one round like that, where everything felt "easy" and I was bombing fairway after fairway.  Need to get back there for sure! 

 

At least I have a feel for it after time on the LM.  0 AOA feels like a nice, controlled tempo swing.  It is the "hard" swings that are steep

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38 minutes ago, GoTime said:

 

What are the keys to getting up 2-3* the right way, in your opinion?

I’m not saying 2-3 is optimal.  I’m saying it’s in the range of acceptability.  I also said you shouldn’t chase that number.  Make your swing better and you will arrive at your optimal aoa….which could be zero.

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8 minutes ago, RoyalMustang said:

 

Yeah, I know what it is.  Not being patient at the top and loading through the torso and hips.  My hands come through too quickly. When I am patient and even in tempo (oosthuizen) I get great launch and plenty of distance.  I can feel my club dragging behind my body instead of pushing along.  I had one round like that, where everything felt "easy" and I was bombing fairway after fairway.  Need to get back there for sure! 

 

At least I have a feel for it after time on the LM.  0 AOA feels like a nice, controlled tempo swing.  It is the "hard" swings that are steep

From experience, it’s likely an additional undiagnosed issue.

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3 hours ago, RoyalMustang said:

 

OK, I have felt this!  Just can't harness it.  

 

How do you relax?  it is tough to tell someone not to do something.....

It took me several months and, even today, it still slips away every now and then. I was literally watching an LPGA event some two years ago when it hit me. I can't even remember the golfer I was watching. It just hit me how it should feel and I immediately went in my garage and started swinging to try to match the feeling that was in my head. Wintertime and no ranges open, all I could do was dry swing till spring.

 

Keep at it.

 

BT

 

Cobra LTD Pro 9.5° Proforce V2 Black 7F4 @ 44.5"
Cobra LTD Black 14.5° Aldila RIP Beta 80 S @ 43"
Cobra F6 16.5° Aldila RIP Beta 80 S @ 41.5"
Mizuno MP5 4-PW - Aldila RIP Tour 115 R
Mizuno MP-T5 52, 56 & 60 - TT Wedge
Grips - Grip Master Master Perforated Midsize

Oddysey Stroke Lab V-Line Blk 33.5"
 

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