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There’s lot of talk about power in golf these days. Some of the best players in the world are also the longest, and over the past decade, others have taken notice. There are very few elite players who aren’t looking to add speed.
That need for speed isn’t limited to the pro ranks, either. Recreational players and top amateurs alike are also on the hunt for more power. The calculus is simple — hit it further, have shorter clubs into the greens, and, consequently, have more birdie looks.
If you can hit it further, the game becomes easier. Suddenly, that 6-iron into the green becomes a 9-iron. With a shorter club into the green, you have a better chance to put a circle on the card — and who doesn’t want to make more birdies?
One such player looking to add more speed is Youtuber Chris Ryan. The PGA professional’s page has over 350,000 subscribers, and last year, he took a visit to see instructor Steve Furlonger for help using the ground to add speed to his swing.
Furlonger is not just any golf coach. The UK-based instructor specializes in ground reaction forces, which are a key component when adding speed. To measure these forces, Furlonger uses force plates to measure how a player is using their feet and lower body during the swing.
“It measures the linear forces the feet create,” Furlonger says. “Those forces that we get help us move our system.”
During the baseline testing, Ryan’s clubhead speed hovers in the low 120s, which generates ball speeds in the upper 170s. And when he really tried to pump one, he was able to reach the upper 120s and lower 180s of ball speed.
As Furlonger notes, when Ryan is trying to reach top speed, he uses 14% more force with the ground than when he’s swinging normally.
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“You need to push your pelvis up,” Furlonger says. “When you push the pelvis up, the pull on the handle increases. If I’m going to pull on the handle, I’m going to let these angles out much better and the club is going to start to accelerate.”
To get into a better position to generate this extra force, Furlonger suggests Ryan mimic a move that World Long Drive competitors uses to initiate their swings. As they begin the takeaway, they load onto the trail side and then push up off the ground. From here, they can squat into their trunks to start the downswing and then explode off the ground to generate the speed they need.
After a few drills rehearsing this move, and a few swings to get the feel down, Ryan’s clubhead speed jumps into the low 130s. With a little more tweaking, Ryan hits a new record high of 138.3 mph.
“That’s a big jump up, isn’t it?” Ryan says. “There’s potential there.”
If you can learn to use the ground the way Ryan did, you can add some serious speed, too.
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