What you can learn from this 16 year old golfer who gained 20 mph

by | Oct 25, 2021 | Golf Balls


Lucas Forest

October 25, 2021

You don’t have to hit golf balls to practice the correct movements.


A powerful golf swing is not based on gender. It is based on good technique, skill and work ethic. Traditionally, women’s game has been more focused on precision, but with a new generation of athletes taking up the game and better information out there, I firmly believe that women can and will close the speed gap in golf.

Presli is a new student of mine and a perfect example. She’s 16 years old, 5’10 “, plays volleyball and basketball in high school. She came to me swinging 85 mph and I could tell immediately that she was leaving at least 20 mph on the table The LPGA tour average is about 93 mph, but it could get over 100. Maybe even 110 mph.

When golfers think of gaining speed, they often think of speed training. But that can be really dangerous. If you make the dysfunction faster, you will only have more dysfunction and will likely injure you as a result.

To be fast, you have to go slowly first. You need to train the correct movement patterns and order. That’s why when I started with Presli, we didn’t meet a single driver for our first hour-long lesson. We didn’t even hit a golf ball.

What we did instead is what performance scientists call conscious practice. Short, intense 15 to 20 minute sessions where we really took it slowly to make sure every swing movement was consistent with what the best players in golf history are doing: Left heel high in the air, left knee behind the ball, one big, unrestricted twist with upper and lower body, without much lateral movement.

One way to practice this was with a move I call “the dance move” that I demonstrate below. By the end of the first lesson, she had managed to hit a headgear with 8 and 9 irons at very slow speeds

So many golfers think that hitting tons of golf balls will only get them better, but that can be really harmful if you don’t practice the right moves. Swinging a golf club is like learning to swing an instrument. You don’t start playing the song at full speed all at once in a concert. Things are moving too fast and there is no time to think.

As you slow down, you can process more information and have time to think throughout the process. You don’t have to hit a golf ball, but you do need to be precise in these movements. This way you are practicing with a goal. It’s not pointless.

Another important point is that Presli did not get any feedback on the results, which can be very damaging to new golfers’ confidence. By training slowly and without a ball, she separates herself from the result of a golf swing and gets feedback from the muscles in the moment. If I’ve been to the driving range and hit bad shots, it affects my mental approach and distracts my focus from practicing the right movements.

Golf swing

Copy these 6 moves by tour pros to get the most out of your swing

Lucas Forest

There was about a month between her first and second lesson, so I gave her some homework after Presli’s first lesson: To practice these moves from home without hitting a golf ball, about 20 minutes a day. She sent me videos so I could make sure she was doing it right.

By the time she got back for her next lesson about a month later, she had gotten really good at the movements and was gaining confidence. I could tell she was itching to hit golf balls, so we went to the range and started hitting mid-irons at 60 to 70 percent speed.

At the end of the session we let them meet their first riders and we practiced ramping up. Now that she had internalized the movements, it was just a matter of training them faster. And she did: her baseline when she first came to me was 86 mph. It hit 105 mph that day, two months after we started. I can’t wait to see where we are in six months or a year.

If I want the folks at home to take one away from this story, it is to work out smarter, not harder. Study what great players like Snead and Hogan do in their swings. They raised their lift landing and made a large, unrestricted turn on their backswing. Then they sequenced properly on the downturn. Her strength came from her technique.

You don’t need a golf ball to practice these moves. You can do them from home. Set a timer on your phone for 15 minutes and try every day.

If you practice them properly, they will stick. People tend to overestimate what they can accomplish in a day or two, but underestimate what they can accomplish in six months or a year. All you have to do is train a little smarter.

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