The title is of course a tongue-in-cheek reference to Justin Rose fretting about pro golfers possibly shortening their careers in trying to increase their power & driving distances like Bryson DeChambeau.
Allow me to introduce 49 year old DJ Watts swinging with a likely higher average club speed than Justin Rose (115.37 mph in ’19-’20 season).
The difference is that JR is ten years younger than I am & I’m not a PGA Tour professional, just a researcher who generated higher club speed (avg 118.34 for 5 drives) in a testing facility in 2018, at the age of 48.
Now, I’ll say right off the bat that JR’s is an average over an entire season while I have a 5 drive sample – but I was swinging once a week, sometime once in two weeks, at the time I recorded those numbers.
Were I to swing every day & get into some form resembling physical fitness (you know, like if played golf for a living & fitness & hitting balls were a daily pursuit), does anyone doubt I’d have been well over 120 mph as I just a few years ago?
OK, let’s take a look at the swing of a 49 year old (recorded August 23, 2019) who doesn’t suffer from back injuries and didn’t even when going through 5-7 jumbo buckets of balls 5 days per week as I did in my mid to late 30’s in my early research days:
As you can see in the gifs, I’m hitting drives with a controlled swing, not heaving it or jumping out of my shoes after them, but those balls were smashed.
The story is told in the position at the top:
- The green arrow points to the fact I have no problem getting the club to parallel,
- The red to my shoulders with a more than 90 degree turn (not bad for a 49 year old),
- The yellow to the vertical leading thigh position, which indicates a full hip turn and which is causing knee injuries for golfers trying to get this with a firmly planted leading heel (ligaments and bones don’t stretch, so this is bound to happen with a modern golf swing action).
In essence, I can stand on a range or walk the course all day long, hitting drives over 300 yards upwards to 350 (longest drive on a course 375 yards on a level fairway), and I have never come close to hurting my back or my knees, neck etc swinging a golf club.
It’s not how hard you swing that is the injury risk, friends, it’s HOW you swing.
And don’t forget the time I tweaked my back doing something non-golf related (I have scoliosis so it happens all the time if I bend or twist just a little bit wrong), so that I couldn’t even tie my shoes standing up, but still got on a plane two days later (agony sitting in that plane seat for 6 hrs), flew to Phoenix & hit drives well over 300 yards at an informal WAX Golf meet back in 2016… because you swing with your hips & legs, not your back:
I was able to at least tee up the ball by then, but still very stiff in the lower back & in a good deal of pain discomfort. But driving the ball? No problem.
In fact, I think that with all of the swing work I’ve been doing during the lockdown, I’ll be driving it longer at 51 this summer than I ever have, if I can get back into some semblance of fitness again.
That’s because technique is paramount. It’s about leveraging that golf club instead of muscling it.
Which means, if & when I’ve got Mike Dunaway’s Post-Modern golf swing model nailed down, I anticipate swing speeds & driving distances that I haven’t yet documented accurately.
We’ll soon see.
More to come.