What would you say if I told you that you could gain a good 15 to 20 yards by the 4th of July?
I’m guessing some of you would say sign me up. Others, I’m guessing, would wonder if I was out of my mother-blogging mind.
Do you remember our article last summer on SuperSpeed Golf? It’s a unique swing speed training system designed to help you swing faster – a lot faster – almost right away. A SuperSpeed Golf set consists of three weighted shafts – one 20% lighter than your driver, one 10% lighter and one 5% heavier. Following SuperSpeed Golf’s recommended protocols (available on its website), the company says you can gain 3 to 4 MPH in swing speed after just one session, with more significant – and permanent – gains with a longer-term commitment.
Since last fall, seven MyGolfSpy Forum members have been involved in a case study on the long-term effects of using SuperSpeed Golf and the results may stun even the most hardened World Wide Web cynic.
SuperSpeed Golf is neurological in nature – it rewires how quickly your body can respond when you pull the trigger on the golf swing. Technically, it’s known as Overspeed Training.
“A big percentage of our training has nothing to do with changing muscles, changing swing mechanics or anything,” says SuperSpeed co-owner Michael Napoleon. “Those are minor pieces compared to the fact that Overspeed Training, in its essence, just resets the normal reaction speed to a motor pattern.”
Translation: your neurons are turbo-charged into a new normal, and you can swing the club faster. A lot faster.
Each one of our testers was equipped with a SuperSpeed set and a companion swing speed radar to capture their results. Each tester saw a swing speed gain almost immediately, and after the first 6-week session increases ranged from a low of 3% to a high of 11%.
“These are your average weekend warriors,” says Napoleon. “From a physical fitness standpoint, we had a lot of variation. Some of them weren’t going to the gym and weren’t in an active fitness program.”
“The ones that were doing a regular fitness routine kept doing it. The ones that weren’t, weren’t,” adds SuperSpeed co-owner Kyle Shay. “They kept doing what they were doing before. The only variance was the weather.”
Through its research, SuperSpeed has charted out what golfers should see as they go through the program. It starts with an almost immediate jump that continues through what’s called the first Normalization period, which usually lasts about six to eight weeks as players go through the SuperSpeed protocols. After a month-and-a-half to two months, that first jump becomes more or less permanent, and progress hits the first Plateau.
During that first Plateau, swing speeds stay relatively consistent as players continue to work through the protocols. Then somewhere between weeks 15 and 26, players experience a secondary jump in swing speed.
“That second jump – there are a lot more complicated pieces as to why that happens,” says Napoleon. “Some of it’s neurological, some of it can be improvements in ground reaction force sequencing, wrist mechanics, increased stability throughout the swing.”
“It’s a wild thing. People may be in that plateau phase for two months, two-and-a-half months. Every day it’s the same thing and then one day it’s like BOOM, there’s a jump.” – Michael Napoleon, SuperSpeed Golf
Due to weather, work, health, and life in general, four of our testers took the winter off, but three continued with their protocols and, with the help of some coaching from SuperSpeed, each hit their second jump.
“We were really excited to see the second jump happen for the three testers,” says Shay. “We know it’s going to happen for these other guys; they just got stalled out. But again, these are regular Joe golfers with a range of handicaps.”
Kevin, Mike, and Jason
Of the three golfers who stayed with the program all winter, Mike Mock from Wisconsin and Kevin Loughren of Florida experienced the biggest jumps, and are both seeing results where it matters: on the golf course.
“I’m in the high 240’s now, that’s close to 30 yards longer than I used to be,” says Loughren, a 62-year-old minister from Tampa who went from 91 MPH up to 104 on the SuperSpeed radar, and from 88 to the high 90’s on his club’s TrackMan. “There was a big jump in distance early on, and then another one right around the first of the year. I’m a club-and-a-half longer, at least, with my irons now, too.”
Mock, who’s speed jumped from 104 to 115 on the SuperSpeed Radar, is just now getting back on the course after a long, cold winter.
“I went through a club-fitting over the winter and was seeing increased speeds with all my clubs,” he says. “My last seven rounds before starting SuperSpeed I hit 56% of my greens and missed 3% deep. Through my first two rounds this spring I’m hitting 58% of my greens with 16% of my shots missing deep. It’s going to take some time to get used to my new distance gains.”
Unlike Mock, Loughren played throughout the winter, but like Mock, had to make some on-course adjustments.
“There have been a few times where timing was an issue, and my sequencing seemed a bit off,” he says. “And I’ve actually moved back a set of tees because I was hitting it into the trees on the same line as I was hitting it for the last five or six years.”
Jason Bentley of Tennessee – the third tester who used SuperSpeed Golf all winter, saw more modest gains, but did experience the same two-stage jump in speed.
“I’ve seen noticeable distance gains,” says Jason. “Hit my longest drive on Arccos (261 yards) and have seen a few in the 240 to 250 range.”
While not as dramatic as the increases Kevin and Mike experienced, Jason’s swing speed jumped from 89 to 96 MPH. Based on an estimated 2.5 yards per mile-an-hour increase, that’s a potential of 17.5 more yards.
Napoleon says it’s not uncommon for golfers to experience some wildness as they go through the normalization phases.
“If I change a variable and increase how fast you’re rotating, what you used to do to square the face is now going to leave the face open because the body is moving a lot faster,” he says.
“Generally speaking, if people are going to have an issue, it’s leaving the face open a little bit more. It doesn’t have to do with swinging from the top down or anything like that. It really just has to do with the timing of the release of the club with something that’s moving faster.” – Michael Napoleon, SuperSpeed Golf
“There are definitely ups and downs with the program, but you will get out of it what you put into it,” says Mock. “Having the MyGolfSpy Forum double as a support group definitely helped get me through the stagnant periods where I wasn’t seeing any gains.”
“Do I feel younger? I do,” laughs Loughren. “Our league just started on courses I’ve played a ton of times over the past 12 years, and I already have four career drives.”
A Third Jump?
According to SuperSpeed Golf, the process of Plateau, Jump, and Normalization will continue as long as a golfer continues the protocols.
“In theory, the pattern will continue perpetually, with the jump size getting smaller each time,” says Napoleon. The first jump is around 5%, the second is 3 to 3.5%. The third jump, which may happen in year two of the training, is going to be much smaller, maybe 1.5 to 2%.”
And depending on the timing, the increase can be permanent, even if a golfer stops the training for a while.
“We’ve had players solidly into that first plateau phase for a couple of months – they can stop and maintain their speeds,” says Napoleon. “If you stop right at the edge of the Normalization phase, a lot of times you’ll see regression, so it all depends on where they are when they stop.”
As of now, the MyGolfSpy testers are in a 72-week program, going through protocols designed by SuperSpeed Golf to continue the Jump-Normalization-Plateau process.
“I’ve just finished the 27th week, so I don’t know what comes at the end of the 72 weeks,” says Loughren. “They’ve changed their protocols since last summer, so we’re just starting Level Four, and we’re doing five swings with the current drills. I’m just really happy I’m done with the kneeling swings. I hated those.”
“Realistically I won’t be up to training three times a week during the warm weather,” admits Mock. “Summer is short in Wisconsin, and I know I’ll have other priorities. I’ll probably train one to two times a week during the summer to make sure I maintain my increases.”
“When I started the training, I was working 11-hour days with a 30-minute commute each way,” adds Bentley. “I still didn’t have any problems getting the training in. I estimate I’ve swung that heavy stick 4,000 to 5,000 times!”
There are drawbacks to newfound swing speed and length, not the least of which is your equipment.
“It definitely changes how you play the game and how you see the golf course,” says Shay. “The only negative we hear from people is they need to get their clubs re-fit for their new game – because if you’re swinging 10 miles an hour faster, your old driver may not fit anymore.”
Case in point is Bentley, who will sport a stiff shaft in his new Callaway Epic Flash driver after years of playing a regular flex.
“My current swing speed (96.5 MPH) is right at the point where I can fit into either a regular or stiff,” he says. “My fitter recommended stiff because it tightened up my dispersion.”
“It’s like when you lose 40 pounds and have to buy new pants,” adds Napoleon. “It doesn’t feel all that bad. You feel better about yourself, and you get to buy a new wardrobe. It’s the same thing with your golf clubs.”
As mentioned earlier, it shouldn’t be a surprise to deal with a bit of wildness as you go through the protocols as the skill part of the golf swing will need time to catch up to the new found speed. All three of our testers experienced periodic wildness to varying degrees.
“Depending on where you start and the way you were sequencing and using the ground, it’ll change,” says Napoleon. “It’ll change in a positive way: we get more vertical force, and we get better peaking orders and rotational elements in the kinematic sequence. But if you’re a player who’s learned to play with deficiencies in those areas, you may have never learned how to swing more efficiently or more athletically, so the skill side has to catch up.”
“We find with high-level players it doesn’t take that long for them to figure out the skill piece to line up the face again to a little faster body rotation. That happens during the Normalization phases when things are adjusting. Once you plateau all of that tends to stabilize.” – Michael Napoleon
What Does This Mean For You?
According to SuperSpeed Golf, the first jump in swing speed happens almost immediately and takes about six weeks or so to become the new normal. And anywhere from 9 to 20 weeks later, a second jump takes hold. Our three testers who worked with SuperSpeed Golf over the winter bear that out, with each seeing a measurable jump immediately and a second jump roughly 21 weeks into the program.
So if you were to start today, you could, in theory, improve your swing speed by 10% or more by Labor Day. That could turn a 100 MPH swing into 110 MPH, and that could mean another 25 yards off the tee and maybe a club to a club-and-half with your irons.
That, my friends, is a real-world game-changer.
Yes, I know we’re all supposed to be super-cynical about everything, and we all know there’s a wee bit of voodoo in every OEMs claims about hotter-faster-longer, but data doesn’t lie. The testers in MyGolfSpy’s case study are regular guys, just like you and me. None of them are internet marvels who smack it 300 down the middle every time, and none of them are what you’d call ath-a-letes.
But every one of them is swinging the club appreciably faster now than they were last fall.
“These guys are regular people, they weren’t working on stuff in the gym and weren’t like really active and physically fit,” says Napoleon. “But our goal for this is that anyone could pick this up, regardless of where they are in terms of skill level, fitness level – it really doesn’t matter where you’re starting, you’re going to get better with this.”
When you look at the time and money invested and the return these people received, if you can go from 91 to 104, you’re a different golfer, and you’re playing a different game.
And you’re telling Father time to take a hike.