Swing Faster…Not Harder

Kim Anders
Director of Instruction
John Jacobs Golf Schools and Academies Estrella del Mar Golf and Beach Resort
Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico, AZ

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Now that the weather is cooling down up north, many of our residents here in Mazatlan are returning for the great weather we’ll be having the next 9 months or so. One of my neighbors returned a few days ago and called me to setup a lesson ‘as soon as possible’.  

We got together the next day and the first thing he said was he had been working all summer on getting more distance but was having some problems lately. I asked what he was working on in order to get more distance. He said he was working on swinging harder.  

My brain suddenly jumps to hyper-speed wondering which of the many negative things this thought process is causing him to do. So, HOW are you going about “swinging harder”? “Well, when I take the club back I make sure I get my hands up high so I can really get a good run at the ball. You know, like when I’m splitting a log with an axe.” Whoa – I politely smile, barely able to suppress the full belly laugh trying to exit my mouth.

He hits a few 7-irons, one goes about 150 yards which is 15 yards more than I’ve ever seen him hit that club in the past.  The other 2 swings send the divot further than the ball. I couldn’t take it anymore.

I remind him that golf is not a violent game, the club is designed to help him propel the ball out there, and chopping wood is probably not the best swing thought for producing good golf shots.  

I then have him hit some “normal” shots, just smoothing the ball out there, not trying to hit it harder. He makes his old swing – not a single grunt in the next dozen swings. I tell him that is a much better swing than when he was chopping wood. He comments, “It’s easier, too”. I’m making progress.

“But, how do I hit it harder?” First of all, stop thinking about “hitting it harder”! If you want the ball to go further, you need to generate more clubhead speed. You need to swing faster. Faster is not harder – it’s just faster.  

If you feel you have pretty good swing fundamentals, you can think about doing them a little faster. The key is don’t swing faster with your hands – swing faster by unwinding from the backswing faster.  

When you try to swing faster with the hands, they hold the club tighter. Tight hands can make your ball fly into another zip code! Soft hands, unwind a little faster, that’s it!  

A little practice can payoff big here. And remember, there is a limit as to how fast anyone can swing. 

If you need help swinging faster, see your PGA Professional.

Kim Anders is a PGA Professional residing in Mazatlan, Sinaloa Mexico. You can reach Kim via email at jkanders4@gmail.com.