By Paul Myers

Luke Donald has been one of the most-consistent golfers in the world for many years, and has played on all of the biggest stages in the game. While he is renowned for his wonderful tempo and beautiful control of the golf ball, he has never been known for being one of the longest hitters. Rather, Donald plays a game that is built on a fine short game.

With that said, he is still a top player on the world stage and is no slouch off the tee compared to the average golfer. The courses that are played on tour are long in addition to being narrow, so any player has to be able to at least hit the ball a solid distance off the tee in order to compete. Without reasonable power, the player would be left too far back in the fairway for their approach shot and would not have enough good birdie chances not to mention bring more bogeys in to play.

According to PGA Tour statistics, Luke Donald’s Swing Speed comes in at 158th in this category for the 2014 season thus far. It is not a surprise to see him down the list a bit, but that still ranks him ahead of more than 40 players. Donald’s average swing speed off the tee this season has been measured at 109.76 MPH, with a high reading of 112.09. His average ranks him almost 15 miles per hour behind Tour leader Bubba Watson, but only about four miles per hour outside of the top fifty. So he’s not bad…but not great either. He could certainly benefit from some swing speed training.

So what can we make of this information about Luke Donald’s Swing Speed? There are a few observations worth taking away from the swing speed statistics –

  • There is more than one way to get it done. The long hitters tend to get a lot of attention on Tour, but you don’t have to be a bomber to keep up and achieve great things in your golf career. Donald has posted top ten finishes in all of the four majors during his career, and has five PGA Tour wins to go along with a host of other accomplishments. Even without prodigious power, Donald has established himself as truly one of the best golfers in the world.
  • You do need other weapons. Donald makes up for his lack of power with an impressive short game and tremendous control over his swing. If you aren’t going to hit the ball long distances, your accuracy must be relatively good to keep the ball in play and on track. Donald is able to do that with his balanced swing.
  • He is consistent over time. In 2007, the first year of published swing speed data on the PGA Tour, Luke Donald averaged 109.64 – almost identical to what he is averaging in 2014. This probably shouldn’t be much of a surprise consider how much of Donald’s game is built on consistency. He has been making a great living on the Tour for a long time, and the steady approach to his game could be a big reason why.

It is nice to see a player without amazing power make such an impressive career playing professional golf all around the world. Luke Donald is a great golfer, regardless of whether or not he can bomb his drives down the fairway 300 yards or more. Golf is a complex game for many, and it offers many different ways for the player to make pars and birdies and post a good score. In the absence of raw power, Luke Donald has built a game that many consider fun to watch, amazingly consistent, and competitive at the very highest levels.

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