How Swing Speed Training Helped Phil Mickelson Win the PGA Championship
Jun 04, 2021
The game of golf on the PGA Tour has changed drastically in the past decade. It’s a rarity to see a Jon Daly or a Craig Stadler type build at the top of the leaderboard come Sunday. Physical fitness has become a very important part of being successful on the PGA Tour today. From your Bryson’s and Brooks' of the world to your sleek and slender Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson. Being “fit” comes in all shapes and sizes and those who are fit are more often than not at the top of the leaderboard come Sunday afternoon.
Being fit has not only catapulted players to being the best in the world but has also extended players careers by years if not a decade. Today players in their 40’s and even 50’s can compete with the young guns on tour. Who was the first player that came to mind when you read the last sentence? You would be lying to yourself if you didn’t just say “ Phil Mickelson”. Phil’s performance at the recent Players Championship was legendary and will go down in history as one of the greatest golf performances of our time. A 50 year old that is playing some of the greatest golf of his career and hitting “high nasty bombs” doesn’t just happen overnight. It happens because of hard work and determination. Actually, there is one other reason it happens. The reason is for the love of the game.
This brings us to the heart and soul of the article, Mr. Phil Mickelson. Phil will be turning 51 in a few short weeks and he is arguably in the best physical shape of his career. When asked last year how he did it he simply responded “ becoming accountable for my own health”. Phil said being accountable for your health comes down to being educated and honest about what you are consuming and how. Pair an honest diet with a team that help gets you in the best physical shape of your life and you create a 50 year old Major Champion.
Many golf fans have noticed the amount of emphasis Phil has placed in the last few years on driving distance. In order to compete any given week in his mid to late 40s he periodized large volumes of training dedicated to maintaining and increasing his speed. While most 40 year old’s see their speeds decline as they age, Phil averaged 119.5 mph with his driver at 39 and 120 mph at 48.How much did his driving factor into his recent PGA Championship win? Arccos, the leader in shot tracking logged every shot at Kiawah and showed that a big portion of his epic win was due to his driving. Over the 4 rounds comprising of 56 tee shots, Phil gained 1.2 strokes driving versus the field while averaging 299 yards.
Callaway Golf Drives from Kiawah
What can an amateur do physically to spark a swing speed gain like Phil? Well, there are endless exercises you can do in the gym but knowing your physical limitations and how to better them should be at the top of your list. Identifying and addressing physical limitations helps develop more durable golfers who are able to enjoy the game at a higher level for a longer period of time. Phil has been working with the Titleist Performance Institute for years now and they have been a large reason for his prolonged career.
In addition to physical fitness and nutrition, one of the key components to Phil’s distance gains over the past few years has been due to training with the SuperSpeed Golf training system. He was one of the original tour pros to begin using OverSpeed training to raise the ceiling as to how fast his body could move during a golf swing.
Phil Mickelson Masters Press Conference
Overspeed training by definition means making the body move faster than it normally would allow during a known movement pattern in order to reset the neuromuscular reaction speed of the body. In the case of golf, we use lighter and heavier clubs compared to one's own driver swung in specific protocols with the goal of always swinging faster than the player’s top end driver speed.
As you can see, Phil focused on several areas within the health and fitness circles to ensure he was able to continue playing at a high level at a time when most tour pros have trouble competing.