Find Your Swing’s Top Gear

Overdrive

Introduction

Most golfers have two speeds: full speed and overdrive.  The problem with this is that it hurts accuracy and consistency, and it limits your shot making options.

In this lesson, I’m going to help you develop all your “gears” to improve your ball striking and add more shots to your bag.

This Lesson Is For You If:

You want more consistency

You regularly “swing out of your shoes”

You struggle with accuracy

You need to add more shots to your bag

Third Gear

Find Third Gear First

The first thing to do when looking to “add more gears” to your swing is to find your 70% swing.  The reason to start with 70% is that it’s a middle ground between swinging too hard and swinging too easy (yes, you can swing too easy).

Whether you “change gears” by making a longer swing or simply using more effort is up to you.  There are proponents of each method, and each has its advantages.  In my opinion, you should use whichever method you can control more easily and judge more accurately.

Once you’ve figured out what 70% is for you, work through your bag and find out what your 70% swing does with each club.  How far does each club go at 70%?  What does the ball flight look like, both in terms of trajectory and shape?  What is the dispersion like?

Down Shift

Shift Down

After you’ve grooved that 70% swing, shift down to 60%.  Again, work through your bag and keep track of what happens with each club.  Most importantly, how do the 60% results compare to the 70% results?  Did you lose distance?  Did the dispersion improve?  How did the ball flight change?

Most people assume that swinging easier will lead to more accuracy and consistency.  This is not always true!  As you shift down through your gears, you will find your own “sweet spot” where accuracy and consistency peak.

Find Your Lowest Gear

Keep “shifting down” until you find that your consistency suffers.  For many golfers, their results start to go south around 50%.  At each successful “gear,” keep track of the results: distance, ball flight, and dispersion.

Top Gear

Find Your Top Gear!

Now that you’ve added a number of short, easy, reliable swings to your game, it’s time to find your top gear.  Hit a few shots with your 70% swing, then shift up to 80%.  Again, use all your clubs and track the results.  When you geared up to 80%, did you gain distance?  How much?  Did you lose consistency or accuracy?

If you were able to make an 80% swing and maintain acceptable consistency, you can try shifting up to 90%.  Repeat your process of working through the bag and tracking results.

Did you handle 90% successfully?  Congratulations, you’re a rare golfer!  Go ahead and make your 100% swing and see what happens.

Driving Range

Practice

To stay in touch with all these different swings, you’ll need to practice them.  Here are two drills you can try.

Drill #1

Pick a target on the range and try to hit it with as many different club as possible.  For example, I might pick a target at 145 yards, a stock 9 iron.  I’d start by hitting my target with my 9 iron, then switching to an 8 iron, which I would have to hit a little more gently.  Then I’d switch to a pitching wedge to see if I could hit that harder than normal to get to the target.  I’d continue working up and down my bag, using each club.

Drill #2

Using one club, try the ladder drill.  Start out with your “smallest” possible swing, hitting the club the shortest distance.  Hit your next shot beyond the first by as small a margin as possible.  Continue leap frogging each ball over the last until you reach your maximum distance or mishit a shot.

Gear Shifter

Conclusion

If you’ve taken the time to work through this entire lesson, you’ve learned a lot about your swing.  You now know what “gear” is most consistent, most accurate, and longest for each club.  You have also added dozens of shots to your bag: each club now has three or more shots rather than just one.  With all these new shots in your bag, you’ll be better equipped to attack the course and go low!

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please post them below.

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Matt Saternus

Co-Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is a golf instructor, club fitter, and writer living in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Matt's work has been published in Mulligan Magazine, Chicagoland Golf, South Florida Golf, and other golf media outlets. He's also been a featured speaker in the Online Golf Summit and is a member of Ultimate Golf Advantage's Faculty of Experts.

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5 Comments

  1. I am SO adding this to my winter practice routine. Im really good at full speed but have mixed results with the lower gears, especially with the shorter clubs.

  2. Matt Saternus

    Glad you liked it, and I hope it helps!
    I’ve seen the swing videos you post on YouTube, it looks like you’re making great progress!

    Best,

    Matt

  3. I book marked this tip Matt. Can’t wait to try it out!

  4. Cedric Theofanous

    I hear so many golfers say “I got quick” or “I need to slow down my swing” quite a bit… It doesn’t seem to help much but swinging at 100% isn’t a good idea either. I like the idea of trial and error to see which speed gets the best results for that individual

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