Staying Mediocre Takes No Effort 

Tom Velarde
Golf Professional
Black Mesa Golf Club
La Mesilla, AZ

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I just recently attended a workshop that is geared to learning how to swing faster. Now technically I know the steps to swing faster but I just have gotten slower over the years no matter what I do intellectually. I have become a big supporter of Tathata but felt like I needed something more.  

So off I go to San Antonio for the date with destiny. I arrived the night before to make sure I would make the early morning start time, so after a good breakfast off I went. Mach 3 is unlike anything I have ever done. We were shown and put through various forms of work outs that would test me physically as never before. A constant message of speed out in front turned into a battle cry. 

When I first saw the tools used it reminded me of working back on our ranch as ample supply of different sized ropes and chains with plenty of PVC.  With names like “The Black Mamba”, “The Velociraptor” and “Double Whammy”, along with the “Shallow Stick” I have to admit I was very intrigued.  

We started with Tathata warm ups so I was really ok with that. Next we moved to work with a speed stick, it resembles something a 1950’s street gang would use to rumble. I used it and after two swings saw the genius behind the simple tool. I could feel myself starting to swing faster, and yes I have an Orange whip and the speed stick is the next evolution step in this concept. 

We moved to the “black Mamba” and this unwieldly tool that looked too brutal to use, became a harmonic wave machine that started to sync up my backswing and forward swing. As an instructor I have always looked for a way to get the student to feel what great transition is and now I found it. 

Day one whizzed by and on day 2 I got speed checked. My partner was a very nice lady from Iowa and I found out my speed was just a little faster than hers. My speed numbers were that of a pretty good high school player. My next step was use of the speed stick with a motion that resembles a person beating a snake in front of them. You make these very quick motions back and forth. The good thing was we only worked in 8 second bursts and anyone can do eight seconds and a recovery time of 45 seconds or as long as needed. Take my word for it you need this time. Speed out in front I was reminded again.

A second set of hitting balls (did I mention you only hit 5 balls and each swing is recorded for speed?) I improved slightly with my Idaho star also improving. I was then put on the Rotex workout as “you’re the poster child for this work out I was told” so being a poster child I did the exercise.   

My last set showed a little improvement and my final ball I had a speed of 100 MPH. Now I cannot tell you how good that felt.  You see as I got older I knew I was getting slower, I knew my speed was in the mid 90’s and to reach the first plateau was amazing. I was sold, you see accomplishment was right there in front of my eyes. As Joe Friday would say, “Facts..just the facts’.

Will this added distance mean lower scores? Well yes, as today I hit some balls on the range and it took awhile to find the ball in flight as it was a good 20% higher than normal and I was reaching the parts of the range that the “kids” normally hit balls to.  

If you ever come out to Black Mesa look for me on the range I will be the guy with ropes, chains and some other contraptions that will make Inspector Gadget look like a novice. Learning never stops and getting better never gets old. Quoting Cool Hand Luke, “I’m Back”.        

Tom Velarde is a Golf Professional at Black Mesa Golf Club in Espanola, New Mexico,
just northwest of Santa Fe. For more information or to reach Tom, email