It’s not simply about club head speed.
The very simple sentence above takes seconds to write but the attainment of its message is a lifetime’s work. The weight of the club is of the essence and before you can actually elevate the club sufficiently high as to clear the trees and the boundary fence one needs to study the design of the golf equipment you are using.
The latest drivers with the very large and even some with square heads seem to generate forces from the vortex produced around the angular corners and this would serve to inhibit good club head speed. If, after a typical round in the monthly medal you feel the inclination to launch the club over the trees, fences and into the back garden of the neighbouring houses you should consider a couple of things.
a) Can you afford its replacement?
b) Do you understand that the faster the club head speed the higher the potential launch angle to enable a club trajectory above the boundary fences, trees or buildings?
If the answer to a) is “not really” It would seem more prudent therefore to buy cheaper clubs which still provide the satisfaction of delivering the club to the murky depths of the lake without the associated guilt of the cost spoiling the moment. You may even raid the shed at the bottom of the garden to find older more appropriate clubs to become surrogate missiles. Should you feel the absolute need for fiscal restraint you can possibly raid the neighbours’ sheds in search of aeronautic fodder posing as sporting equipment.
If the answer to b) is “ huh? ” the following may assist.
Firstly the action is mostly in the arm with a coordinated flick of the wrist, at the end of the swing arc. Grip the club in the right hand for right handers and the left hand for left handers (this is essential information for the grip application) swing the club around the body in ever increasing circles and at the peak moment of acceleration let go of the club with a flamboyant flick of the wrist.
Depending on your prowess as a tennis player you can either let go using a forehand action or a backhand action. If you are not a tennis player you may choose to spin around a couple of times and let go of the club with a Russian hammer thrower’s follow through, remembering to yell “aarrgh!” at the top of your voice at the point of release. It sometimes follows that from this moment on your golfing partners will never refer to you by your name again and you may henceforth be known as Boris or Yevgeny. The older, less subtle of your buddies will refer to you as Yuri. Both of the above actions however complicate the pre-swing alignment procedure.
It is essential before you do this to ensure that the stance and alignment were correct before the takeaway began. If you had smug visions of watching the club disappear into the council recycling facility abutting the eighteenth hole you need, at the moment of release to be facing somewhat in that direction. Take a moment to enjoy the thoughts that you will never see the club again and that it may end its life as road fill or a tomato stake. However you most certainly do not want to see it land softly on the grass next door albeit scaring the bejesus out of the children playing in the pool. So I repeat, stance and alignment are important also.
As you go through the bag the swing weights change progressively and the weight-to-shaft-length ratio varies in accordance with the laws of physics. The same basic grip applies, as does the alignment. However the swing arc reduces, as the clubs become shorter. The wedge produces a much shorter swing arc than the driver. Just be careful too as the weight of a wedge bouncing off the forehead of a six year old will do less damage to the wedge than to the lighter weight driver.
However! The child’s father may do more damage to you. In the unlikely event that a red-faced parent comes charging out from the house, a ploy would be to get one of your playing partners to yell in a deep guttural baritone voice “ Yoo da man, Comrade Gagarin” this will often soften the mood and stem the attack.
Shaft selection is also a major contributor to the swing weight and general club head speed. Steel shafts being much stiffer are good for the long accurate very satisfying hurl. The stiffness tends to reduce torque thus adding immeasurably to perfect placement and impressive distance.
Graphite shafts however have a more suitable kick point and the release and the target area need perfect synchronization if the club is to hit the bull’s eye. Too early a release of the soft, regular or senior flex graphite shafts will see the club travel through the air in a style resembling a spear fashioned from al dente spaghetti.
The same swing also applies to the shorter clubs but the release is less subtle and less wrist comes into play.
In the interests of faster play and good golf practise it is sometimes advisable to throw a provisional.