By Paul Myers
Over the last two decades or so, distance on the PGA Tour has increased dramatically. This has mostly to do with the improved technology in the golf clubs and balls, but it is also may be related to the better physical condition of the players themselves. Physical conditioning was not a priority for golfers a generation ago, but that has changed significantly. Most players today take pride in their fitness and use it as another tool that they can use in the fight for lower scores.
So, the question is, will swing speed increase in the coming years, or have we reached a level where it is going to remain pretty well static for the near future? With some limits having been put in place on the technology that is used in golf club construction, longer drives are going to have to be found mostly by greater club head speeds.
Better Athletes Could Be Coming
There is a lot of money to be made in professional golf – that is no secret. Of course, that money is very, very difficult for most to make, but it is there for the taking for a select few who reach the top of the game. Along with money comes interest, and with interest often comes better athletes. Young people who might have previously put their attention into other, more lucrative sports, may now be focusing on golf as their preferred game. When that happens, we could find that swing speed increase simply because of the great athletes that would suddenly be playing on tours around the world.
With that said, there are already plenty of great athletes playing golf – people like Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott, and more. While there is some room for great athletes to make their mark on the swing speed leaderboard, it doesn’t seem like that is happening yet. The average PGA TOUR swing speed hasn’t really changed much since 2007, despite there now being knowledge out there of how to do it .
The Point of No Return
It is important to remember that the focus of professional golf isn’t to hit long drives – it is to shoot low scores. Long drives can help in the quest to shoot lower scores (in fact, there is a correlation between higher swing speeds and lower scores), but they are far from the only ingredient. It’s also important to be able to round together the rest of the game well enough to make it on a tour.
In all, it seems based on the past seven years that swing speed will remain around where it is currently for the foreseeable future. That is, unless tour players on a greater scale undertake swing speed training like what is available at Swing Man Golf. Such a shift in the training of tour players sure would be interesting to see, especially since we know that the average RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship finalist can average almost 30 mph (at least 75 yards farther off the tee) in the mid 140s. For Tour players and amateurs alike, there’s a lot left in their swing speed developmental tanks.
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