Home » Golf Instruction

Lorena Ochoa might be small in stature, but she still manages to generate a lot of club head speed.
Lorena Ochoa might be small in stature, but she still manages to generate a lot of club head speed. (Courtesy ladieseuropeantour.com)

Five ways women can generate more club head speed

Karen Palacios-JansenBy Karen Palacios-Jansen,

Most golf instruction is written by men from a man's point of view. But women, who are built differently and have different tendencies, have to work on set-up and swing keys that are specific to them. Although only 5 ft. 5 in. and weighing 120 pounds, LPGA Tour Pro Lorena Ochoa's average drive is 271 yards. How is it that a petite woman can boom her drives out there farther than the average male golfer?

It is all in her technique and her ability to create club head speed. Here are five things ladies can work on to improve their technique for more club head speed and knock it out there with the big boys and girls - and maybe even past them.

1. Strengthen your grip

A strong grip helps create a flatter swing path and a more powerful release of the club through impact.

Instead of setting your left thumb on top of the grip, rotate it about 30 degrees clockwise (away from the target) so it is angled down the right side of the grip.

You now should see two, even three, knuckles of the left hand when looking down at address.

This grip will help compensate for having less arm strength than men.

As for the right hand, spread your fingers as wide as possible. There should be a significant gap between the index and middle fingers. This is also a strong position.

2. Take a firm stance

A solid base creates good balance and supports high club head speed. Flex your knees slightly and press them away from each other, not inward as many people think they should. Pressing them inward actually promotes reverse pivoting, a major power loss position. Pressing the knees away from each other enables you to shift your weight correctly.

3. Resist with the lower body

As the club starts back, stretch your arms away from your torso while holding your hips and knees in place. Your lower body will turn no matter how much you try to prevent it, but if you resist with your lower body at the start of the swing, you won't overturn - a common problem among women who tend to be very flexible. Overturning destroys the coil that sets up a powerful downswing.

4. Create the right support

At the top of the backswing, the right arm should fold to form a right angle. When this occurs, the right hand should be under the grip, providing support so the club doesn't dip past parallel. This support preserves your natural maximum swing arc and the wider the arc, the more club head speed you can produce.

5. Hands lead the shoulders

Starting down, push the hands away from your shoulders as far as possible. The butt end of the club should point down to the ball and the club head stays pointed to the sky creating angle in the back of the right wrist. This position combined with a stronger grip helps the forearms rotate the clubhead square for a solid strike every time.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • swing thoughts

    Jo Foor wrote on: Jan 2, 2008

    When I was younger, I just concentrated on hitting the ball as hard as I could. My dad made me take lessons and now I can swing for thinking about all of the things I learned from the lessons. My game has gone to pot and I don't enjoy golf any more.


      • RE: swing thoughts

        scott bradley wrote on: Feb 1, 2011

        i can help u. try this, swing through the ball and hold youre finish. if you cant, you are swinging too hrad. take practice swings till you can hold youre finish. practice this on the range till u can hit hard enough to keep youre balance. pose at the end of youre swing like someone is takin youre picture. after about 3 or 4 balls you will find youre comfort zone. do not think of any thing else but youre finish. nothing else. i mean nothing else. because aparntly you know how to hit it hard. now you hve to hit it straight. you do this at the practice for about 2 or 3 wks. you body will learn the motion you need to hit it straighter and harder. muscle memory is all youre body needs to learn. i promise you you will hit it straighter and farther. i have high school girls hitting the ball 225 to 240 yrds. it works. what it does it trick the brain, because you already know how to hit it. youre body needs to learn the properly way to finish. but you have to remember at the range to practice the right way. dont go to the range and bang 90 balls in 45 minutes. you should hit 90 balls in 1 hour and 15 mins. no less. i am a certified golf pro out of ohio. good luck and email me with some results. abd i will help best i can. but hit a ball back off. practice swing 2 or 3 times. hit each shot like you hit on the course. take you time. golf is a 1 shot at a time game. remember that.it is the best advice we can get about golf.


          • RE:swing thoughts

            shar wrote on: Aug 1, 2013

            I started playing golf at 51; now I'm 54. I consistently hit my drives 215 yards. However, I know there is more because I eagled a long par five after driving the ball 240 yards (I don't know how that happened). When I try to hit the ball faster it sends it on a nasty hook. When I swing with a half swing, I get 215 out of my drives. How can I speed it up and drive straight? I went to a 13.5 driver from a 10.5 and I'm skying the ball!


          • RE: RE: swing thoughts

            matt wrote on: Jul 25, 2011

            Hey im a two-handicapper and shoot fairly low scores, but I still have trouble hitting my driver on the sweet spot. I hit my irons pretty far and my driver goes relatively short compared to my irons. Any tips for driving distance!
            Appreciate the help!


      • RE: swing thoughts

        Norm Honderd wrote on: Jan 25, 2008

        I believe that hitting the ball hard is some of the best advice given. The problem is that we start with a full swing and that mind set. Start with hitting hard with a half swing where you can maintain balance and control the club head and impact the ball solidly. Then work on lengthing and refineing your swing, hitting with the same tempo. The club head speed picks up as the clubhead distance increases and the swing control will remain the same. Soon you'll be crushing that ball. I believe Sam Sneed was quoted as saying- Hit the back of the ball, HARD. It really is the main way to control the ball and if you swing hard, you needn't worry. let the club determine the ball flight and distance.


          • RE: RE: swing thoughts

            carey wrote on: Apr 21, 2012

            I read with interest your suggestions for holding the finish to improve muscle memory. I tend to swing and not quite follow through enough, like I am missing the last 10 to 20 per cent which i then fake. My usual drives are in the 180 range, topping out at 190 (per GPS). *Strong female golfer 54 yrs) I know there will be more if i can train my follow through. Have done series of 12 lessons with pro so backswing, head position,turn, swing plane all okay. Just this missing link. Do you do lessons in Ohio?


          • RE: RE: swing thoughts

            Bill wrote on: Feb 29, 2008

            Lessons are good but if you have an arrogant instructor who thinks that his/her way is best, lessons can actually hurt a player's game. Remeber, golf is only a game. It will never be mastered!! The only thing we, as players, can do is find our OWN swing. Lessons are great, but in the end...it's your game, based on your amount of practice; not the instructor's.


              • RE: RE: RE: swing thoughts

                Chuck wrote on: Aug 5, 2012

                Amen. This is the best statement I have ever heard from an instructor. I wish you were close to northern Kentucky. I have been playing sports for 54 yrs, and every one of them reuires us to develop our own style. If you take the guidance of someone knowledgeable in a sport, you can develop one that excels.


  • More power

    linda wynn wrote on: Oct 10, 2007

    Great information, and right on the money as fas as my swing goes. I always stand firm, and grip with a very powerful grip. Totally not what I have been told to do. I have only been playing Golf now for about 18 months, and already can drive at least 162 plus. Men hate playing with me put love using me dring better ball tournaments. Good to know that I'm doing something right.


      • RE: More power

        chenson11 wrote on: Nov 22, 2013

        A lot of what has been said here is true. Your swing is your swing and if you are satisfied good for you. I practiced I'm athletic and yet I could not hit the ball like I wanted to so a couple of books and a lot of concentrated effort and now I have a decent swing. my advice get lessons on the grip, address, and advice on equipment. Then see a pro, don't let your husband or golf buddies give you advice.


Comments Leave a comment