Speed Ratios In The Golf Swing

by Steve | Last Updated: 15 April 2021

Synchronize your swing for greater timing

Timing is merely the speed ratios that each part of the body must travel in order for the club to be delivered at the correct position on impact. 

Imagine your torso (breastbone) is the hub or center of the swing motion.  It has a fairly limited amount of distance to travel as you turn in a rotational motion back and through. 

The hands and arms have a longer distance to travel than the torso, with the club head having the furthest of all to travel. 

The lower half is very stable so has less movement to perform.

I see plenty of golfers take the club back away from the ball much too fast. 

An initial burst of motion often causes the rest of the body to get involved much too soon.  This leads to an early loss of ground force, body and club positioning.

You could make an analogy between the swing and a car accelerating.  If you accelerate too fast you get wheel spin, there is no connection between the wheels and the ground. 

In that split second the percentage of loosing control of the car increases and requires extra compensatory movements to get the car back on the correct line of direction you wish to travel on. 

Slowly accelerating with great traction leaves you in control which is exactly how you want to accelerate your golf swing.

As the golf swing is all over in a couple of seconds it is often too difficult to make those recovery adjustments and in time.

Taking the club away from the ball too slow can also create problems. 

If there is an insufficient increase in speed to the top of the backswing, there is little momentum generated for a smooth transition into the downswing. 

Golfers who come over the top on their downswing often suffer from this trait. 

This lack of speed encourages the right shoulder to lunge forward on the start of the downswing in an effort to increase and generate power.

It’s important to try to slowly build up your speed by gradually increasing your speed throughout.

PGA Pro Richard Lawless teaching speed ratios in the golf swing

As discussed in Key Stage 3, the transition from backswing to downswing is initiated by the natural shifting of the weight into the leading foot. 

This movement causes the hips to start to turn and become slightly open in relation to the ball to target line before impact.  This creates the elasticity power build up between the lower and upper body to produce more speed and a longer shot. 

To perfect good timing the upper body (shoulders) must now play catch up. 

The hips virtually stop at this slightly open point while the shoulders unwind through the thoracic region of the spine and catch up with the lower body. 

This is where the speed reaches its maximum potential.

Key Stage 4 is a vital position to allow the shoulders to continue to rotate faster than the lower body through impact. 

In a quest for more distance, all too often I see golfers continue to turn their lower body (spinning out of the shot) before their upper body has had a chance to catch-up and overtake the lower half. 

Leading to very erratic shots with a massive dissipation of any energy they might have created well before the ball is even struck.

As your driver is the longest and least lofted club in the bag, swing synchronicity is critical as mistimed swings will exaggerate any swing faults and lead to poorer results. 

Where as a more lofted club has a bigger chance of adding more backspin to the ball which counteracts against a proportion of the side spin and keeps it somewhat straighter.

Happy Golfing

Rich and Steve Signature Image
Steve King, the founder of Fore King Golf, started playing golf at the tender age of 29, after years spent playing many other sports and getting dodgy knees. Although late to the game, Steve soon fell in love with the sport and found himself, like many others, addicted to the pursuit of improvement and playing better. He is currently a member of The Kendleshire Golf Club & Hercules Golf Society, as well as running several competitions for Fore King Golf