Hank Haney says clubhead swing speed is key part of game

SAN DIEGO – Hank Haney, former coach of Tiger Woods, is a golf evangelist. He sounds like a preacher. He is highly animated. He jumps around when he talks. He speaks with great conviction, alternately raising and lowering his voice for the greatest effect.

Appearing on April 21 at the Grand Del Mar resort as part of a TaylorMade Golf promotional outing, Haney launched into one of his favorite subjects: the speed of the golf swing.

Golfers who believe in a slow, measured swing might cover their ears. Forget rhythm, tempo, balance and similar thoughts. Haney wants all golfers to speed it up.

“Clubhead speed determines your potential in the game,” he said. “At every level, distance is the determining factor. Swing it faster, get more distance.”

After stating that 86 mph is the average clubhead speed among amateur golfers (it’s around 115 mph for PGA Tour players), Haney fired away at slow swings: “Take a fast lousy swing, slow it down, and you’ve got a slow lousy swing. Too many people think speed causes mistakes. That’s wrong. It makes no sense at all to take an easy swing, particularly with a driver.”

He then presented his version of a slow-motion swing and contended, “You can’t swing like this and then have all hell break loose (speed up the swing) at the top. You need to swing faster from the beginning.

“I have great success getting people to swing faster, because they’re all trying to swing slower. You think you swing too fast? Well, you must be hitting the ball too far,” he added sarcastically.

Haney added a metaphor: “Taking a slow swing is closer to taking a nap. You must swing faster. To do this, stay soft and loose and do not tense up. I never said swing harder, I said swing faster.”

Seeking balance during the swing? Haney took a shot at that, too. “Balance is overrated,” he said. “The ball is already gone (after impact). You have great balance, and you can’t play a lick. What good does that do you?”

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