Analytics 101

How Fast Can a Golfer Swing?

September 26, 2022
7 min

Many amateur golfers have a distorted view of how they can hit the golf ball farther. Many amateur golfers say they need to hit the ball harder. The question golfers need to be asking is how to swing the golf club faster. The faster you can swing the golf club the farther you will be able to hit the golf ball.

If we follow Newton’s 2nd law of physics, we know that force equals mass times acceleration. The higher the acceleration of the golf club the more force we can deliver to the golf ball. It’s a simple equation.

But, how fast do golfers swing the golf club? How fast do touring professionals and long drivers compare to the average swing speed? Finally, I will provide some tips for you to improve your swing speed.

Analyzing max swing speeds in golf

Golfers swing their golf clubs at many different swing speeds. According to Trackman data, PGA Tour professionals average 110 mph of swing speed, low handicap golfers average around 106 mph of swing speed, single-digit to mid handicaps hover around 97 mph, and the average golfers swing the club about 93 mph.

But what about the maximum swing speeds that golfers can produce?

Touring professionals like Rory Mcilroy, Bryson DeChambeau, and Cameron Champ swing the golf club incredibly fast. Professional long-drive golfers like Kyle Berkshire also produce some of the fastest swing speeds and ball speeds ever recorded.

According to data from the PGA Tour, during the 2022 season, Cameron Champ had the highest swing speed on average at 124.89 mph. He recorded a top swing speed of 129.81 mph. According to this same data set, Curtis Thompson recorded one of the fastest swing speeds off the tee this season at 140 mph. Finally, the average swing speed off the tee for the PGA Tour was about 115 mph.

World long drive Champion Kyle Berkshire consistently puts up swing speed numbers of over 150 mph. In this video, Kyle set a personal best ball speed record and recorded a swing speed over 155mph!

Professional golfers and Long drive champions can swing the golf club at extremely fast speeds. This allows them to hit the golf ball quite a long way.

Generally speaking, each mile per hour of ball speed correlates to about 2.5 yards of distance. So, the tour average of 115 mph off the tee compared to the average golfer of 93 mph correlates to about a total distance average of about 60 yards. Professional golfers swing the club much faster and hit the ball much farther compared to the average golfer.

How have swing speeds changed over time?

Swing speeds have changed over time given new equipment and technology that have been implemented into golf clubs. The first innovation was the switch from wood shafts to graphite and metal woods, which have made the golf clubs lighter allowing golfers to swing them faster.

Jack Nicklaus, however, was recorded at the age of 58 with a swing speed of 118 mph (Source). This data was not tracked in Nicklaus’s prime, but if it were his swing speeds would be comparable to some of the top tour pros of today.

Also, many of the top golfers today have chased speed and distance in the metal wood era. Tiger Woods was the first golfer in the metal wood era to overpower golf courses. His Masters Tournament win in 1997 is a prime example of this. He routinely had wedge distances into par fives and tore Augusta National apart. This has led golf course superintendents to increase the yardage of their golf courses significantly and other golfers to chase distance.

One of the more famous distance chasers is none other than controversial Bryson DeChambeau who bulked up physically and implemented speed training into his golf training regimen. If you follow him on social media, he often posts some of his swing speed training sessions where he is swinging as fast as he can to increase his swing speed.

According to off-the-tee data from the PGA Tour in 2007 (the farthest it goes back), the average swing speed on tour was 112 mph and Bubba Watson had the highest average swing speed 124mph.

As the data tells us, swing speeds at the highest level have increased over time and have changed the way golfers look at the game.

How can golfers improve their swing speed?

There are several ways golfers can increase their swing speed. One of the best training drills for increasing swing speed is to take an alignment stick and swing it like you would any golf club. With the alignment stick, you should be trying to swing it as fast as you can and to hear the “whip” sound at the bottom of the swing and in front of you.

The fastest point of the golf swing should be at impact or just after. If you are releasing the club too early, swinging an alignment stick and recognizing where the sound comes from will guide you in where your speed is coming from in your swing. An alignment stick is significantly lighter than any other golf, so you should be able to swing it very fast.

The number one factor in increasing your swing speed is your body's physical fitness level. Weight training, cardio, flexibility, and golf-specific workouts can help golfers swing the golf club faster. As I mentioned before, Bryson DeChambaeu and many of the top long-drive professionals are big and bulky. Their physical strength allows them to have complete control of the golf club and swing it at very fast speeds.

Golf swing speeds have evolved and have allowed recreational and professional golfers at the highest level to hit the ball farther. This is because of golf club technology and human evolution. Golfers will continue to hit the golf ball farther and push the boundaries of the golf clubs they are provided with.

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