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Low handicap, slow swing speed

Marc H

One of the most ignored segments of the golfing community is the low handicap, but low swing speed golfer. It is always assumed that low handicaps (0-5) have very fast swing speeds (100MPH). Most graphs and charts show a direct relationship between handicap and swing speed, asserting that low handicappers have swing speeds 100, while middle handicappers have swing speeds 85-95.


There is a segment that shoots low scores (72-78) but doesn't hit the ball very far (85 mph driver speed). These golfers (sometimes seniors, but not always) are obviously very consistent, good ball strikers, and have good short games. They miss a fairway every decade. They never lose balls but change them when they're tired of hitting the same one for two months. They probably were former college golfers or are golfers that play a lot. They buy a lot of equipment.

There is very little advice for them about clubs, balls, strategies, technique and mental game. For instance, low handicap high speed players should use high performance balls that spin alot to stop on the green. The low speed golfer should use harder balls that don't spin and roll (off the green into the trap mostly).

Again rubbish.

So in this discussion I would like to get science, facts, and opinions on what works for this type of golfer. What clubs and set makeup work the best? What ball? What course strategy? What technique? What to practice? What mental approaches?

I would think the manufacturers would be very interested in this golf segment, since I am sure they buy more than their share of equipment.

10 Replies

  1. Jason C


    This is a very interesting read and really focuses on a niche market of golfers. Now as for ball and club set ups, I would always recommend to get on a tracker (particularly for the golf ball). The golf ball I feel is an abandoned variable when it comes to fitting when its arguably the most important piece of equipment.

    As for practice, I would recommend buying a resistance band and really work on the mobility of the hip flexers and the thoracic spine leading into lat mobility. There is a great youtube channel called Mobility WOD devoted to specific drills for increasing a range of flexibility. However, if the look of the athletes doing the exercises puts you off then yoga/pilates is definitely the way to go for its core strength benefits but flexibility benefits too.

    This is just my opinion and it can come across as being a little ironic as I'm 27 and pretty strong due to playing rugby and hitting yoga but the best golfer I have played with was a 67 year old who did yoga everyday and merely kept to the strengths of his game [he shot a 67 on his 68th birthday!]. No one person is alike hence the love of the game for many but overall get fitted and pound the stretching and improvements should start to be seen both on and off the course :)
  2. Arick K

    i have seen a lot of this actually when i am doing my fittings. it led me to do a little more research on it. something we tend to over look is how companies make shafts in softer flexes but with stiffer tips. at first to me this did not make sense since i usually put not as good players in softer shafts and then it hit me. the firmer tips are for the better players but the softer shaft allows them to stiff down flex the club. as far as heads go, there are actually quite a few good player heads that still offer distance and forgiveness. i would also take a look at the t-mb.
  3. L David S

    I have found that I as I age (gracefully of course) everything slows down, including swing speed. I have never been a long ball hitter but I have had my moments of crushing one. For me it is more about form and equipment. I have had several surgeries since 2007 which has really affected my swing form and speed. I went to a light shaft and a softer ball because that just works better for me. I've lowered my handicap 12 strokes in the past 3 years and had a hole in one. I just missed 2 more on the same hole, 1 hit the flag and was hanging over the edge, and the other one went right over the hole and stopped less than 2 inches away. Of course I've probably hit 2 dozen into the water too!! As a definite amateur who plays as much as possible, I believe no matter what your age or handicap, you can always improve. I take a lot of lessons, not to change my swing but to work better with what I have. I feel for me straight and steady work much better than grip it & rip it. I usually hit horrible shots like that when I try that. As far as balls go, just because I am not a scratch golfer, mid 20's, I do use premium balls. I like the new Titleist DT TruSoft and Pro V1. I hope this gives you some of the information you are looking for
  4. Don O

    Interesting discussion. I started playing (more than a round every couple of years) at age 59. Add LH, and I was lost in the wilderness. I was shuffled off to the corner and offered the one senior LH set on the floor. Fitting? Seriously? There is a difference of focus from volume merchandisers to pro shops. And OEMs that focus on volume. I'm fortunate that I have an Advanced Fitting Center that I have subsequently joined that has worked with me as I have grown over time. Regardless of skill level, one needs to be a student of the game. Most of the sales are to non-students that think that each new release will be longer than the last, and the newest, shiny is better than the last. You can't sell 25 drivers over a new release weekend spending the quality time to individualize or optimize the equipment to each buyer. I would content that even in a narrow speed range, not all low handicappers are the same enough to classify them as a group. So, I agree that the marketing isn't directed at your group, but it really doesn't apply to any real student of the game. I have one piece of equipment that you might find off the rack. Everything else is designed just for me. So my love of Titleist equipment is the flexibility to customize, they offer a full line of LH equipment, and a quality fitter that listens to me, as well as offer suggestions of what I should be doing next.
  5. Dwayne N

    Very interesting topic, I played as a young man teens into twenties 108 SS speed long balling at its best then marriage and babies came and went 20+ years without touching a club. Kids grew up then at the ripe age of of 47 my wife encouraged a buddy to get me back in the game. She probably regrets that LOL! I was swinging out of my shoes to muster 100 mph and had zero control shooting from 85-95 golf wasn't as much fun as remembered. So I bought all new clubs Titleist and started playing on a wednesday league from work we had scratch players in their 20's and scratch players retirees in their 70's. Then one afternoon I was paired with two good senior players who gave me the best advice ever. Told me to relax and quit swinging so hard. I am 53 now have a 92 mph ss with the driver I consistantly hit the center of the fairway with about a 245 yard total drive hit 80 % of my green in regulation and shot between 71-80.

    Bottom line there are more sub 100 mph low cappers than 100 low cappers. Optimize what you have, Get fitted and swing as fast as you can while remaining in good form and work on your short game. It took me some time to realize this but after watching too elders play scratch golf with noticable slower swings than mine I ask and they shared wish I'd have ask three years sooner.
  6. Andrew Australia

    I play off nearly scratch and have SS 102-105 when healthy but 93-96 when ill... I have seen zero correlation to my Driving distance and my scores confirmed using

    My game is all putting and iron play. I have hit 14 greens and shot +7 and hit 3 greens and shot even.

    I play with an older chap (I'm 50 he is 70) who strikes the ball extremely well and is brilliant with a wedge and putter. He plays off +1 and is usually 35-45 yards behind me on the fairway but he middles MOST shots... quite epic to see. Then I also get to paly with guys with mega high SS who are behind me as well because their strike is crap and gorillas who are 330+ yard guys who choke 125 yards.

    Handicap is all about the short game to me
  7. Marc H

    Thanks for the comments.
  8. Dan L

    I am a 65 year old with a similar problem. I have had both hips replaced and 3 stents recently. I have lost speed and strength in the past 7 years. I had a fitting and found that lighter graphite shafts, aerotech i 70 cw r worked well for me. My swing speed increased 77 to 84 with my 6 iron and I picked up about 5-8 extra yards. I hit my 712 AP2 6 between 160-165 in the air. I use the Pro V 1 mostly. I also found the Bridgestone B 330RX to be a very good ball. I use an Aldila 44R Magnum in my Driver 10.5 SLDR and 3 Sldr 15 , Bassara 60 R in myTitleist 915 hybrids 18,21,24 and the aerotech i 70R in my SM5 50 and 56. Titleist does not put the 70g shaft in their irons. The lightest they use is 95g. They are now offering the Mamiya Recoil 65 in all their irons. I am thinking about getting those shafts in the 716 AP2. If you can try a fitting with these shafts
  9. Ken D

    May be a little late to this thread. But I'm 60, have had 42 surgeries, (back, hands,etc), but still have a 3.9 index. SS around 85 mph with the driver, but my swing is highly efficient. Ball speed 130, so total with driver around 245. Bottom line is the premise of the thread is correct. It's hard to find great equipment for players in this bandwidth. The T-MB irons are a great option assuming you get an appropriate shaft(and like spending $225 per club). 915 D-2 is a great driver, but so is the xxio 9 (designed for slower SS). But one has to test and do the work. Bottom line, one size does not fit all, hit it in the center of the face, wear out the short game and putting ranges, and find good shafts that generate high launch, mid spin is the key. You don't want a low spin shaft/head. With low SS, you need spin to keep the ball airborne. All things in moderation! Suggestion for Titleist is to provide more graphite shaft options for people in this group. Thanks.
  10. Marc H

    Here's my set makeup. Driver swing speed 90. Age 64.
    Would like your comments:

    D 10.5 degree regular shaft 44 inches - 225 yds
    5W 18.5 degree, regular shaft - 190 yds
    7W 21 degree, regular shaft - 175 yds
    4H 22 degree, regular - 165 yds
    5H 26 degree, regular - 160 yds
    6 iron 145 yds
    7 iron 130 yds
    8 iron 120 yds
    9 iron 115 yds
    PW 100 yds
    52 gap 85 yds
    56 SW 70 yds
    60 LW 55 yds
    mallet putter

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