Speed. This is a word that has been associated with the game of golf since the beginning of time, but in recent months, it’s become a trending buzzword we are seeing everywhere. Dustin Johnson is known to be one of the biggest hitters on the PGA Tour and has been recently featured in a commercial where he is swinging as fast and as hard as he can with the TaylorMade Aeroburner Driver. The major brands are promoting their latest and greatest equipment that has been engineered for speed, and the pros seem to be driving the ball further each season on the Tour.
“In the professional ranks, golfers are now more athletic and have strengthened the muscles in their bodies, especially around the core, that produce faster swings and more power at impact,” says Mike McCabe, General Manager at Old American Golf Club in Texas. “Another way they generate speed is by becoming more flexible. This allows for a full range of motion, which creates more clubhead speed, power and ultimately, distance,” he says.
And it’s not just the best players in the world, guys like Rory Mcllroy, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson, and Jordan Spieth, who have clubs specifically designed to fit their swing to take advantage of maximum speed; the weekend golfers now want to also capitalize on gaining speed to improve their own game. Mcllroy with Nike, Fowler with Cobra, Mickelson with Callaway and Spieth with Titleist—all of these brands have major star-power to showcase the capabilities of their offerings regarding speed and power.
With this star-power bringing more awareness to the technology that’s packed into clubs that would have been unimaginable only a decade ago, more and more golfers of all levels want to get into the action. Speaking from personal experience, getting fitted is worth every dime of the investment to determine which of these clubs is best suited for your game so that they can maximize your capabilities. “Speed has become a factor for not only those who play golf for a living, but also for those who play for the enjoyment and camaraderie,” added McCabe.
So many options can make the decision process a bit overwhelming, and while there are a number of drivers, fairway woods, hybrids and irons that are designed with speed in mind to create a better player experience for golfers of all levels, we’ve pulled together a few top club options for men and women looking to keep up with the speed of things these days. Why should the rest of us not take advantage of this speed technology? “Among the average players, their added speed comes mostly from the equipment they play,” says McCabe. “A lighter club or a hotter face will produce that clubhead and ball speed that will help them enjoy the game more.”
According to Callaway, speed is everything, and it’s the driving force behind the new XR Family of clubs. For this hybrid/iron set, Callaway says the hybrids are hotter across the face, and the irons have the Cup 360 face, which all helps golfers achieve their need for speed. Every club in the XR Family is designed to redefine ball speed in its category, and XR distance is achieved from the outrageous ball speed.
Ping developed the Serene Family of clubs with the focus revolving around one important factor – swing speed. In this case, it’s designed to achieve the maximum result for those with slower swing speeds. The hybrids are extremely user-friendly and complemented by the perimeter-weighted irons that promote high launch throughout and generates faster ball speeds for more distance. Additionally, the Floating CTP (Custom Tuning Port) promotes distance control and improved energy transfer.
The Vapor Speed driver blends three key technologies to maximize distance and consistency: Nike’s FlyBeam-reinforced Covert Cavity Back design, a reengineered Compression Channel and FlexLoft 2. “The new Compression Channel enhances the trampoline effect observed on the NexCOR face with a springboard design that accentuates ball speed on hits struck across the entire face. The end result is better sound, feel, consistency and distance,” said Nate Radcliffe, Director of Engineering for Nike Golf.
The R15 has been making headlines for the revolutionary sliding split weights and a lower (and more forward) center of gravity (CG) that promotes a higher launch, and lower spin. The Front Track system performs like a Speed Pocket, reducing spin and increasing the size of the sweet spot, and the 4° loft sleeve along with new sliding split weights (12.5g each) make dialing in your tee shots easier than ever—slide the weights to center for max distance, heel for max draw, toe for max fade, or split them for max stability.