How to Increase Your Swing Speed

Published on 06/16/2023 · 9 min readIncreasing your swing speed will help you gain more distance with each hit and improve your overall game. Learn how to increase your speed with these tips!
Jorge Arteta, Golf Expert
By Golf Expert Jorge Arteta

Photo by Courtney Cook

As a teaching golf professional, I’ve had the pleasure of coaching thousands of golfers of all skill levels. While the name of the game is to putt for a score, the number one thing I hear is, “How can I get more distance?”

I think I might have had a handful of players that asked to improve their putting first, but then they want to hit the ball farther too. Do golfers forget that you have to putt to score?

I once coached a tour player who typically carried the ball about 290 yards, and was pretty close to the center of the fairway the majority of the time. His Greens in Regulation (GIR) rate was a solid 65% (per the PGA Tour, the average is about 59 percent). The PGA Tour average for driving distance so far in 2022 is about 296 yards, with the longest individual average at about 323 yards.

So even though he was deep down the middle of the fairway most of the time, he still wanted to hit longer drives. In his mind, he was already 25 yards behind most of the distance leaders, which can transfer to a one or two club difference in the second shot. In general, the shorter the club, the easier it is to hit your target. He wanted to hit shorter clubs for his next shot to the green.

So what options are there to gain distance in your golf swing, whether you’re a touring professional or a weekend warrior?

Let’s take a look.

Key Areas to Increase Swing Speed

  1. Golf Swing Mechanics (Technique)
  2. Physical Attributes (Strength & Flexibility)
  3. Golf Equipment (Latest Technology)

A popular measuring device for distance is swing radars made by Sports Sensors, Inc. The chart below is from Swing Speed Radar, and it shows the estimated relationship between driver swing speed and ball distance.

For example, according to the chart, if you have a driver swing speed of 110 mph, and you strike it on the center of the clubface, you should have about 230 yards in carry distance and some roll, depending on conditions. You can see on the chart that PGA Tour players average between 110 mph and 130 mph of driver swing speed.

The formula for distance is pretty simple — swing faster, and the ball will go further:

Diagram courtesy of Sports Sensors Inc.

In general, you will gain about three yards of additional carry distance for every one mile per hour of swing speed. There is no way around it, that's the formula.

So how do you increase swing speed and get longer drives?

Increasing golf swing speed has many paths. Let's look at the three areas and get into more details.

1. Golf Swing Mechanics (Technique)

Photo by Courtney Cook

There are many ways to improve mechanics. Determining which one is best for you and will help the most is the first step.

Going to a knowledgeable golf instructor will help. In a lesson, you will likely hear terms like transition, downswing, hips, angles, wrists, lower body, etc. Other things that can be heard include clubhead speed, mph swing speed, grip, body rotation, mobility, tension, torque, flexibility training, and whoosh. You could be given a plan to follow. You could be shown how to put foot powder spray on your driver's clubface to show where you are hitting the ball, in relation to the sweet spot. You could be shown how to change your swing for the better, which will take time, as it does not happen overnight.

Technique takes time, practice, and repetitions on the driving range. The biggest challenge for most golfers is time. Do you have a few days a week to improve and get better? In general, amateur golfers are moms or dads, students, sons or daughters. They have careers, they have school, they lead busy lives, and the average golfer usually doesn't have several days a week to take lessons, practice, and to work on getting better.

There is a retired gentleman who came to me because he had been playing golf for over 30 years and never could break 90. My normal routine in a first lesson is to watch a student do some swings. I start with some chipping to assess their mechanics and then go to some full swings. Normally I ask about their medical history, other sports they play or have played, and if they've ever taken lessons before. This particular student played multiple sports in the past, currently went to the gym once a week, and never had a golf lesson.

I could tell that he had some strength, but something was off with his swing. It didn't take me long to figure out one thing that he was doing that needed improvement immediately. I did a grip pressure test with him and it was clear that he was holding the golf club way too tight with his hands. At that point, I asked him, "do you feel tired by the time you get to the 14th hole or so?" He responded that he did get tired, and the last few holes were so tough to get through that he would just want to get off the course and go home. That made sense because since he was holding the club so tight, he was getting his body so tense and expending a lot of energy in doing so. He just couldn't play relaxed that way, so when I showed him how to grip the club with the proper amount of pressure, he felt relieved. After a couple of months of working on his swing with the more relaxed grip, he broke 90 with his increased swing speed and improved confidence.

Going to an instructor will improve your technique, and watching videos online might help as well. The challenge will be having the time to practice the techniques you learn. As a golf professional who has worked with many students, time is often a big obstacle.

2. Physical Attributes (Strength & Flexibility)

Photo by Andrew Valdivia

Physical fitness, strength, and the ability to swing fast will help produce a higher swing speed. Is it a must to be in top shape and have bulging muscles? The answer is no. Other things like flexibility, mobility, and range of motion can impact swing speed. Everyone is going to be different in this regard. And, you can have great strength and flexibility, yet have bad technique.

Going to the gym or seeing a personal trainer will help. Working on your body is great for your overall health as well as your golf game. I have seen with my own students that working out in a gym, at home, or with a trainer does help improve the golf swing speed.

I once coached a middle-aged woman with two kids, a career, and a very busy life. We had been meeting once a week for several months and her golf game was improving. Eventually, I noticed that her swing was looking more stable, more athletic, and she looked to be more confident over the ball. Her pre-shot routine was very smooth, fluid, and executed with a purpose. She started to hit some good shots and they had some "sizzle" (when you can hear the ball taking off through the air).

I was curious about the difference in her swing, and asked her if she had been working out, or doing anything different physically than before. She said that she had been going to a trainer for a couple of months and that she was doing yoga once a week. Well, it showed. Her stance and posture were stable, and she was swinging faster. For this student, working on her fitness definitely helped her game. She was hitting the ball farther and straighter than I had ever seen. While her technique had been improving, her increased physical strength made a big difference.

Will changing your fitness and flexibility increase your swing speed? Yes, it likely will. To what degree is not known, but it will certainly not hurt to try.

3. Golf Equipment (Technology)

Photo by Adrian Hernandez

Every year there seems to be a new, more powerful, lighter, easier-to-hit golf club. There is a lot of marketing and advertising in the golf industry. I attend the big PGA Golf Show in Orlando every year, and part of the reason is that I want to see the new equipment that gets introduced. Does the equipment that you use factor in to whether you hit the ball farther and straighter? Yes, it does. How much of a difference equipment makes will vary from golfer to golfer, but if you have clubs that are more than ten years old, the latest equipment should help your golf game in both distance and accuracy.

Now, if you buy the “latest and greatest” new driver every year, will that get you more distance? That’s debatable, but as we have learned, if it helps you swing faster and more confidently, it just might.

So what should be one of the first things you buy if you want to increase your swing speed? Number one, I would want a way to measure my speed. Whether it's access to a simulator, a portable golf swing monitor like a Trackman or Flightscope, or an easy-to-use swing radar. No matter how you measure it, you will want to know your clubhead speed or ball speed. Which measurement is more effective is up for debate, but start with knowing how fast you are swinging now, and take it from there.

Let's say that you get measured, and your clubhead speed with a driver is about 90 miles per hour, which according to the chart, equals about 200-205 yards of carry distance. The average golfer swings in this range. But you want to get at least 25 more yards of distance to keep up with your friends.

So How Do You Increase Your Swing Speed?

The quickest way to get more distance is through new equipment, but if you want to increase your swing speed, all components summarized in this article need to work together. Are you willing to spend $500 on a new driver for those extra yards, or should you spend that same money on a golf instructor or spend it on a fitness trainer?

You have options. There are several ways to increase your golf swing speed. Find the what works best for you, mechanics, strength and flexibility or golf equipment.

It could be equipment, it could be taking lessons, it could be getting in shape. It will vary from one golfer to the next. If you do one of these or all three, you will gain some distance. If you want to find the best equipment for your game or if you have any other questions, reach out to me or one of my fellow Golf Experts here on Curated! Have fun finding out and enjoy your golf game!

Curated experts can help

Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

Read next

New and Noteworthy