Welcome to Play Smart, a game-improvement column that drops every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from Game Improvement Editor Luke Kerr-Dineen (who you can follow on Twitter right here).
The ability to hit the ball longer is an objective, unabashed good. Pros know this, and they spend hours of hard work chasing it — from the range to the gym, and everywhere in between.
But what about the rest of us? Is there a way to gain clubhead speed without having devote your entire life to chasing it?
That’s the dream, and the question Superspeed set out to answer in a recent case study of 10 golfers, led by Utah Valley University biomechanics professor Dr. Tyler Standifird.
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The case study involved 10 golfers who had an average clubhead speed of 109 mph. Whereas in a previous study Standifird had golfers go through the company’s six-week level 1 training protocol — which involves making right-handed, left-handed, and step-swings — this time golfers were instructed to make only non-dominant side swings.
Right-handed golfers would swing the Superspeed sticks lefty 39 times, three times a week (and vice versa for lefty golfers). These golfers didn’t hit any golf balls except at the very start and end of the experiment, to measure its effects.
By the end of the six weeks, golfers had gained, on average, 6.4 miles per hour with their driver compared with their baseline test, measured at the start of the six weeks.
Practice swinging left-handed
The reason for the increase, in a nutshell, was that making non-dominant sided swings appeared to improve golfers’ golf swing sequence, and specifically their lower body movement.
Compared to the start of the study, golfers “maximum lead leg vertical force” (which measures the amount golfers push out of the ground) jumped 13.2 percent. This also showed up in the golfer’s “lead leg A/P Force” (which measures how much golfers are pushing away from the target), which increased a whopping 33 percent.
The combination of all these things gave golfers more of a Justin Thomas look: they were snapping up with their legs, which helped them whip the club through with more speed.