Tony Finau’s 1 swing thought for golfers looking to add speed

tony finau swings a driver during the 2024 charles schwab challenge

Tony Finau is one of the longest players on the PGA Tour.

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Welcome to Play Smart, a regular game-improvement column that will help you play smarter, better golf.

Tony Finau is one of the longest players in golf. His ball speed average is among the 10 fastest on the PGA Tour, and he ranks inside the top 25 in driving distance as well. Oh, and he does that all without ever really letting loose in competition. When he gives an all-out effort, he can easily reach 200 mph of ball speed.

Having that much power in his game, Finau is often asked about the best ways for the Average Joe to add some speed to their own game. And in today’s edition of Play Smart, got some of that insight.

Tony Finau’s swing speed advice

Finau rarely ever goes all out after a driver during competition, but when he does want to add a little extra pop to his drives, he has one main thought in mind: get wide.

“The bigger you can make your arc, the farther the golf ball is gonna go,” Finau says. “If amateurs can just picture a nice wide takeaway and really just try to make the club move as far away from the golf ball as possible and then from there, you’re gonna be able to generate the maximum amount of speed that your body can generate.”

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When you have a wider swing arc, the clubhead is going to travel farther and pick up more speed as it gets closer to impact. Swinging with a wider arc also can shallow out your angle of attack, which will help those who fight a slice.

“Getting that club as far as you can from the golf ball on the back swing is gonna ensure you’re gonna have to have some lag on the downswing,” Finau says. “You’re gonna make your arc wider that way and, and that’s ultimately how you’re gonna create speed.”

What’s the best way to get this width during your swing? It all starts on the takeaway. When you start your backswing, feel like you’re taking the club back far and wide away from your body.

“Put a big emphasis on, on a nice wide long takeaway,” he says. “Try to get that golf club as far as far away from the golf ball as you can on the back swing.”

If you can do that, you’ll be hitting bombs in no time.

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Zephyr Melton Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at