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Alison Lee is one of the LPGA Tour’s longest hitters, but for her, power off the tee isn’t all about speed.
Of course, being able to swing the club fast is important, but for her, swing plane and tempo are crucial for having a powerful weapon in her long game.
The American, who averages around 270 yards off the tee, isn’t lacking in physical attributes. Standing at 5″9, the Solheim Cup player is certainly taller than the average member of the the LPGA Tour, but that can come with its own issues.
Lee, who was speaking before the Aramco Team Series event in Riyadh, where she trounced the field with a 29-under-par total (yes, twenty nine-under-par), explained to bunkered that when her swing gets too fast, problems can arise.
“For me, as the season goes on, my tempo starts to get quick,” she said.
“I do gain speed as the season goes, but that isn’t always a good thing.
“After taking some time off in the off-season, my swing speed is around 98mph, but by the middle to the end of the season, it’s gone up to around 101mph or 102mph.”
— Ladies European Tour (@LETgolf) October 5, 2023
Gaining four miles per hour of swing speed might seem like a positive, particularly for a player who can already overpower a golf course, but Lee says she works on keeping that extra power under control.
“I like to hit a draw. That’s what I work on and that’s my safe space. I can hit a cut if I need to but if I don’t need to hit a particular shape, my comfort zone is a little draw.
“But, I need to maintain this extra speed that I have. I need to make sure I have good tempo and that I get my timing right.
“When I start to swing faster, I get over the top at the top of my backswing, because I’m trying to hit it harder.
“For me, I need to try and keep my arms and body close to me, instead of kind of throwing it out at the top of my swing.
“The best way for me to do that is to try and hit a draw. It keeps my arms closer to my body.”
What we can learn from Alison Lee
There’s no golfer in the world who doesn’t want to gain distance, but if we want that extra length to work on the course, we still need to focus on fundamentals.
For Lee, this is making sure her club doesn’t get too over the top at the top of her backswing. She wants to feel like her arms are more connected to her upper body.
As she mentions, working on having good tempo and better timing, as well as keeping her arms connected to her body, is actually more important than pure speed.
Being able to keep your arms close to your body isn’t a new concept, and it’s something that bunkered Performance Panel member Steve Johnston thinks is essential.
Johnston says that if you want to swing the club better and hit more draws, you should feel like you keep your elbows close together, and closer to your upper body.
“The main swing thought here, if you like, is to try and keep the feeling of having your elbows close together,” he said.
“When you keep the elbows close together, you’ll feel the upper arms – your tricep and your pec – will form a better relationship.
“When you have both elbows working together, the path of the golf club is much easier to control, because your upper body and arms are connected. If your elbows are flailing out during the backswing or downswing, you’re disconnected.”
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