Training for club head speed has become a more common occurrence amongst professional golfers. Additionally many amateur golfers are now seeing benefits in their own game as a result of increased swing speed. Research suggests that increases in swing speed will lead to improvements in strokes gained metrics off the tee, approach to green and in overall score improvements.
To date most research related to training for club head speed is centered around metrics of club speed, ball speed and distance. Some studies focus solely on swing speed training with SuperSpeed golf products and show improvements in club speed, ball speed and carry distance. Additionally those studies have also shown improvements in ground reaction forces that are closely related to club speed and efficiency.
The most important metrics to include in any study on training for swing speed should be related to how a golfer performs differently on the course. The advancement of on course tracking tools makes these studies more possible as a way to quantify true changes on the golf course. Understanding how speed gains translate to driver distance, accuracy and scoring on course is one practical aspect of this research that should be investigated. The purpose of this study was to utilize on course tracking to see the effects of on course performance for a group of golfers following the use of SuperSpeed golf level 1 program. It was hypothesized that speed gains would transfer to the course and that distance would increase, accuracy would not decrease and that overall scoring would improve.
Ten recreational golfers participated in the study. Average age of the golfers was 42.2 and the average handicap was just under 9. Golfers played on average about 6 rounds of golf a month. Players who participated in the study first set up a baseline of both swing speed and on course data. Baseline swing speed was assessed on the driving range using the PRGR radar. Golfers performed a brief dynamic warm up that included some swings of the SuperSpeed clubs and also their own driver. After the warmup, golfers hit a series of 5 drivers while the PRGR collected club speed. Following the warmup golfers were instructed on how to use the ShotScope V3 watch and associated GPS tracking and tagging for their own golf clubs. They were instructed to utilize this during rounds for the next month to get a baseline of at least 5 rounds of golf as the baseline. Data collections began in the beginning of June, in order to eliminate weather changes and golf performance changes as a result of just start vs. end of season golf.
After golfers established baselines with the ShotScope device, players were given a set of SuperSpeed golf clubs and were taught the level 1 protocol via video instruction. Golfers were directed to perform this training exactly as outlined in the protocol instructions. With summer travel etc, golfers were given almost 8 weeks of training to ensure that at least 20 speed sessions were completed before post data collection. After speed training was complete the identical data was collected following the same protocols. Driver swing speed on the driving range following the same brief warm up and on course performance for the ensuing month using ShotScope. During the month of follow up for on course performance, golfers were instructed to do SuperSpeed golf training one day a week. Differences were measured when golfers utilized a driver off the tee. This was meant to capture tee shots where the primary focus was distance as opposed to accuracy or positional shots based on the hole layout. Also golfers in this study played the majority of their rounds at the same golf course and as such made for a better comparison for location, hole layout, familiarity with the course.
Golfers on average increased swing speed by 6 mph which was an increase of just over 5% as a result of training. ShotScope measures three different types of distances with each club, an average or the average of every shot hit by that club, a performance average that throws out some of the very worst shots hit by that club and the longest shot hit by each club. Average distance increased from 264 to 277, an increase of almost 5%, the performance average also had a 5% increase going from 289 to 302. Max distance had a gain of 2.7% or 8 yards. Average fairways hit increased from 41% pre training to 51% post training. Total shots improved averaged 2.7 strokes pre to post training.
Figure 1. Pre vs Post Driver Swing Speed
Figure 2: Driving Distance Pre vs Post Training
Figure 3. Driving Accuracy Pre vs Post Training
This study was undertaken to measure actual on course changes as a result of SuperSpeed golf training. It was hypothesized that golfers would increase distance, and have no negative changes to accuracy and improvements to overall score. Golfers did gain on average 13 yards for both overall average and performance average as a result of training. The fairway percentages increased as a result of training and scores improved.
This study supports the idea that golfers who swing faster do not get worse as a result of balls hit further offline. Swing speed has been shown to be a good indication of efficiency and previous research has shown that SuperSpeed training has improved the golfer's kinetic sequence by improving timing and magnitude of ground reaction forces. This study adds another level of understanding by showing that these gains and improvements are not just reserved for simulator measurements, but also are transferring to the golf course.
Future studies should include more golfers, female and senior golfers as well as over a longer period of time. Looking at golfers for an entire golf season, followed by an off season speed training protocol and measurements in the next golf season would be a great way to look at this data in even greater detail.
Overall this study showed that golfers who speed train using SuperSpeed gain club head speed (5%), but also improve in their on course performance by increased distance, accuracy and lowering scores.