Swing Speed vs. Ball Speed

by Chris Joseph

    To add to the distance of their golf shots, many golfers focus their efforts on increasing the speed of the ball by increasing the speed of their swing. While there is a correlation between swing speed and ball speed, adding swing speed alone does not guarantee longer shots. Just as important is the ability of the golfer to maximize swing efficiency and to develop the ability to control the tempo of the swing. It is also necessary to strike the ball squarely on the clubface's "sweet spot."

    Definitions

    Swing speed can be defined as how fast the golf club is traveling when it strikes the ball. Ball speed is how fast the ball is traveling just after it leaves the face of the club after being struck. Ball speed will always be faster than club speed due to transference of momentum from the heavy head of the golf club to the lighter, high-energy ball.

    Ratio

    In general, the speed of the golf ball should be 1.5 times that of the speed of the swing. For the golfer whose swing speed is 100 mph, the speed of the ball as it leaves the clubface should be 150 mph. However, increasing club speed may not necessarily lead to an increase in ball speed.

    One Theory

    According to noted golf trainer Robert Cotter, the best way to increase ball speed does not necessitate increasing the speed of the swing. Instead, the focus should be on increasing the speed of the ball while keeping the swing speed constant. This is especially beneficial for golfers who have naturally short swings or limited range of motion due to injury.

    Swing Efficiency

    To improve ball speed, then, it is necessary to make the swing as efficient as possible. This means that you should learn and practice proper technique to eliminate hooks and slices. Just as important, it is also necessary to find the right golf ball that matches your type of swing.

    Swing Tempo

    Note that swinging too hard will not generate more club speed or lead to increased ball speed. A common mistake made by many golfers is that they swing too hard from the beginning, rather than starting slowly and gradually increasing club speed. By controlling the tempo of the swing, you can maintain better control of the club, which will lead to more solid contact. Thus, ball speed will increase without increasing swing speed.

    About the Author

    Chris Joseph writes for newspapers and online publications, covering business, technology, health, fitness and sports. He holds a Bachelor of Science in marketing from York College of Pennsylvania.

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