Ed. note: In this column, GOLF’s playing editor and 2020 U.S. Open champ shares a six-step program
to add 12 mph of swing speed, a simple way to supersize your backswing, and a gear tweak to hole more putts.
My speed training formula
Speed training is about breaking neurological barriers. Your body can move faster than you think — you just need to convince your brain first! Here’s a basic outline of how I do it. It’s not easy, so if you want to set your own goals, go for it. And don’t worry about technique — you’re going to hit it everywhere.
1. Hit a normal drive and record the ball speed. This is your baseline.
2. Hit balls rapid-fire until you hit a ball 10 mph above baseline.
3. Drop to and maintain 5 mph above your previous baseline. This is your second ball-speed baseline.
4. When you’re ready, ramp up until you hit 8 mph above your second baseline.
5. Drop down to and maintain 3 mph above your second baseline. This is your third baseline.
6. Push an extra 2 mph from your third baseline.
If you do all this, you’ll have just gained 12 mph of ball speed. Time to relax!
How I’m helping a long driver fix his putting
Long-drive champ Kyle Berkshire is a close friend of mine, and he’s been helping me with my speed training. I decided to repay the favor and help him with his putting. He got fitted for the same arm-anchor, upright-lie style SIK putter that I use, and he’s been working hard on technique. I’d do the same with you. Try a putter with a more upright lie angle (mine’s 78 degrees) and stand closer to the ball. It’ll lessen the arc in your stroke and help you take the putter straight back and through, which I believe delivers the most consistent results.
How to “stretch” out your backswing
Everybody’s biomechanics are unique, but there’s one thing all our muscles are designed to do: expand and contract. When you see me hit a drive, that’s my main swing thought, and it’s my advice to any golfer looking for their own power boost.
On the right you can see me performing a few stretches, like I’m just getting out of bed in the morning. That’s how I want my backswing to feel. I’m trying to extend my spine and stand as tall as possible and get my arms straight and my hands as far away from my body as I can.
I keep the wide-and-high feeling all the way to the top when I swing. When it comes time to start back down, it’s the opposite — it’s like I’m going down for a squat. I pull the club down hard from the top by contracting my muscles all at once — and sending the club 150 mph along with it.
My latest tech adventure
I’m always looking for innovative ways to bring more people to the game, so when I learned about NFT trading cards (a digital highlight reel you can own and trade) I got excited. In March, I became the first pro golfer to launch my own. They’re like unique pieces of moving art. Check ’em out!
Why I went for it on Bay Hill’s 6th hole
The par-5 6th at Bay Hill is so fun. On Saturday, I carried my drive 377 — it felt like I had won the event right there. I was nervous, but I wanted to give the fans a treat, and it felt great. My reaction was totally spontaneous. I also cranked one 370 yards that week, giving me the two longest drives on that hole on record. (Need I tell who has the third-longest?)