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The three things that need to correlate for more driving distance

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By now, each of you has heard that if you want to drive the ball farther you must increase your driver’s loft to increase carry distance. And I know what happened to most of you when you went out to the range the next time and tried it. You added loft, teed the ball higher, put the ball more forward in your stance and smacked that ball WAY up into the air expecting 50 more yards!

But what happened from this point forward is something you didn’t expect — the ball did indeed fly higher and it did carry a touch farther than before, but it landed dead with absolutely no roll. So even though you hit the ball higher, your overall distance output was lower than before. What gives?

What people tend to forget is that there are three things you must correlate in order to hit the ball farther:

  1. Impact point on the club face
  2. Dynamic loft at impact
  3. Descent angle upon landing

Impact Point

If you hit the ball on the incorrect portion of the face, you can decrease launch and increase spin. That causes the ball to continue to land with little forward momentum. For the best launch conditions, you MUST hit the ball above the center of the club. If you hit the ball low in the face, regardless if it’s a centered hit or not, you will decrease your launch angle and increase your spin rate.

Use Dr. Scholl’s Odor X spray to audit your impact point with your driver. This will help you to increase your launch without increasing your spin rate.

Photo 01
Low impact equals low launch and high spin

Photo 02
For increased launch with LOWER spin, you must hit the ball above the center-line of the driver. I know these hits are on the toe, but they were my first and second swings of the day!

Dynamic Loft

Most golfers have also heard that they must have “club-head lag” so they can hit the ball farther. If a golfer’s club head lags behind them and the shaft is forward leaning to the extreme, then they will turn a 10-degree driver into a 6-degree driver adding distance, they think. This is 100 percent untrue!

While golfers must have solid impact alignments and control of the club’s actual loft at impact, too much lag or too little lag is a bad thing. I would strive to create an impact when your left arm (for a right-handed golfer) and club shaft are in-line with one another the instant the ball leaves the club head for best results as it pertains to your dynamic loft at impact.

Photo 03
In efforts to create the proper dynamic loft at impact, control the “in-line” relationship between the club shaft and the left arm instantly after impact!

Descent Angle

Pay attention as this is the key to more roll upon landing. Yes, golfers must hit the ball higher into the air for more carry distance, but in order for the ball to roll out when it hits the ground golfers should have the ball landing at about a 40-to-45 degree angle so it has the ability to run along the ground when it lands. Sadly, when most people hit the ball higher they also increase their descent angle as well, and this causes the ball to land dead with no roll.

Photo 04
Flat shots with no height rely on ROLL for increased distance!

Photo 05
The key is to hit the ball higher coupled WITH a descent angle below 45 degrees for additional roll when the ball lands!

So what’s the solution?

I would highly recommend you find a club-fitter or teacher in your area with a Trackman or FlightScope who can correlate these three factors so you can hit the ball farther than ever before. It’s just hard to manage dynamic loft and descent angle without a launch monitor. Believe me, if you do this, you will thank me.

Read More Tom Stickney II : What Flightscope and Trackman can tell you (and me)

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Tom F. Stickney II is the Director of Instruction and Business Development at Punta Mita, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (www.puntamita.com) He is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, and has been honored as a Golf Digest Best Teacher and a Golf Tips Top-25 Instructor. Tom is also a Trackman University Master/Partner, a distinction held by less than 15 people in the world. Punta Mita is a 1500 acre Golf and Beach Resort located just 45 minuted from Puerto Vallarta on a beautiful peninsula surrounded by the Bay of Banderas on three sides. Amenities include two Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses- with 14 holes directly on the water, a Golf Academy, four private Beach Clubs, a Four Seasons Hotel, a St. Regis Hotel, as well as, multiple private Villas and Homesites available. For more information regarding Punta Mita, golf outings, golf schools and private lessons, please email: tom.stickney@puntamita.com

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. GolferX

    Feb 6, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    Tom, do your numbers work for sweepers? Because I tend to hit under the ball when I tee it high. I hit a 20 year old Big Bertha 10 degree, tried the newer 460’s larger head, don’t like them.

    • Tom Stickney

      Feb 7, 2014 at 1:41 am

      Hitting “under” the ball when it’s higher indicates a plane issue…tee it high and come in more shallow and you’ll be set!

  2. Jim Benjamin

    Feb 5, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    What can a player do to learn to hit higher on the clubface to achieve the optimum strike? Is it just focus or is there a reliable method?

  3. Chris Burke

    Feb 5, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    The big thing that affects distance is angle of attack. see BubbaWatson who has a different angle of attack then Charles Howell 3rd Bubba Watson can use a seven and a half degree driver .Where Charles Howell uses a 10 and a half 11

  4. bryan

    Feb 3, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    I don’t get the descent angle comment. The angle of descent is an effect, not a cause. The cause is a combination of spin and speed.

    No one can optimize their descent angle. The descent angle is optimized when people optimize their spin, launch angle, for their speed.

    Am I crazy?

    • Tom Stickney

      Feb 3, 2014 at 7:28 pm

      You are mostly correct but impact point can alter your angle of descent as can the ball you play.

  5. Ponjo

    Feb 3, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Hi Tom. I recently seen a teacher for a lesson using my Nike Covert 10.5 degree driver. These are my figures based on your screen shots above from trackman.

    Thoughts would be appreciated please

    DL. H. C. T. LA
    14.8. 49. 187. 228. 24.6
    13.1. 46. 193. 235. 23.1
    16.8. 64. 201. 234. 30.2
    18.7. 78. 207. 234. 34.6
    17.6. 65. 198. 233. 30.o
    14.0. 52. 199. 237. 25.5

    • Tom Stickney

      Feb 3, 2014 at 7:29 pm

      Looks like the 18.7 one is best. What’s the spin rate on that shot?

  6. mark

    Feb 3, 2014 at 8:46 am

    Two different clubs?

  7. DK

    Feb 2, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    Tom,
    For clarification: high launch isn’t the enemy, spin is. You can launch it high with spin at or below 2000 rpm and descent angle will be decently shallow…

    Find yourself a very low spinning driver head and you’ve found a winner!

    • Xreb

      Feb 3, 2014 at 7:50 am

      Too low spin will result in the ball falling out of the sky reducing carry if you do not have sufficient club head speed. Blanket statements such as these tend to confuse people….

      • Tom Stickney

        Feb 3, 2014 at 10:04 am

        Agree, but we can’t discuss every nuance in a quick tip article.

    • Tom Stickney

      Feb 3, 2014 at 10:07 am

      How is high launch bad? Don’t understand your statement. There isn’t a low spinning head that can recover from a low hit in the face due to vertical gear effect. Sure these heads can help but vertical impact point is the key.

  8. Sean

    Feb 2, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    I am just really impressed with your ability with your first 2 swings of the day to hit the ball on the face of the club to show 2 different shot shaps for the example’s that you did.
    Golf Clap ))(( awsome

    • Tom Stickney

      Feb 3, 2014 at 10:02 am

      Thx. Slow motion swings do wonders. 🙂

  9. Martin Chuck

    Feb 2, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    Tom, great job! Keep up good work.

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Instruction

Golf 101: How to play golf (with Jake Hutt)

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Yes, you read that right. We’re talking about how to play golf. We at GolfWRX pride ourselves in not only supplying info to the golf junkies out there but to also help along the new golfers that just want to get started.

No, we won’t be discussing “tour issue” head weights or “shallowing” the club in transition. This is a BASIC look into how to play golf—how a new golfer would walk to the first tee, for the first time, and have some fun. If you dig deep that is the spirit to GolfWRX.com as a whole. Enjoying the game.

I’ve brought in some help on this one: A coach who I think has whittled down the basics to their core. Jake Hutt., look him up on IG, it’s “golf for dummies” for basically every type of player out there. Jake, like George Gankas and some others, has what I would call the “voice of the new generation.” It’s the fun, laidback, non-traditional style that my kids will be learning from in years to come. So why not introduce him to the WRX community now?

More bio: Class A PGA Professional Jake Hutt teaches out of The Stanford University Golf Course and currently lives in San Carlos, California. He can be found on Twitter, Tik Tok, Instagram, and YouTube under @Jakehuttgolf.

We are doing this breakdown of how to play golf in a very simple way. Yes, people will chime in about what we missed and explained incorrectly but hey, it wouldn’t be a real post without it.

We will do a checklist of the basics: Posture, grip, and an ABC of the motion for a full swing, chip, and a putt.

How to play golf

Posture

Stand straight up, put your arms on your legs, and tilt forward until your fingertips touch just above your knee caps. Let your arms hang straight down from your shoulders. This will feel similar to the posture when shooting a free throw in basketball.

Grip

How would you pick up a suitcase with your left hand? Now replace the suitcase with a golf club. That’s how your left hand goes on the club. To figure out where to put the right hand get in you golf posture and clap your hands together. Now without moving your left shoulder and letting your right arm bend move your hands so they’re just to the right of your right pant pocket. The left arm should be parallel to the ground. Now look at the position of your hand. The palm will either face the ground, the horizon, or the sky. Where the palm points here is where the palm should face when holding a golf club.

Swing

All a golf swing is is throwing the club around your body without letting go of it. If you hear it swoosh, it’s a swing. Once you learn to swoosh the club the next step is learning to hit the middle. To train this spray foot powder on the your clubface and observe where impact is after your attempt to hit the ball. If the ball mark shows up on the toe of the club try and hit the opposite part of the clubface (the heel) on the next shot—repeat the same process for the opposite miss (mark shows up on heel of club). Over time, you’ll need less exaggeration to hit the middle of the clubface. With enough training, this skill will become learned and will require no conscious thought.

Chipping

Stand with your feet close together, the ball off your trail foot, and the handle off the left leg. Lift the heel of the club slightly off the ground so the handle of the club is more vertical. Now make a longer, faster feeling putting stroke. The ball should pop in the air land on the green and roll. The less lofted the club the lower the ball will go and the more it will run. The more lofted the club the higher the ball will launch and less it will roll.

Putting

The most important part of putting is hitting the middle of the clubface. The faster you swing the putter the further the ball rolls. The slower you swing the putter the shorter the ball rolls.

how to play golf putting

How to play golf: Putting. Hitting the center of the putter face is the most most important thing.

The ball starts where the putter face is pointing whether it be straight right or left. To get a feel for speed imagine the effort it would take to roll a ball to the hole. Use that feel to create a putting stroke. Putting greens are not flat the ball will curve left or right. To help figure out which way a green rolls stand halfway between the ball and hole. Ask yourself which foot has more pressure on it. If you feel more pressure on your left foot the putt will break left and more pressure on the right foot means the putt will break right. If the putt breaks right the putter face should point left of the hole at impact. If the putt breaks left the putter face should point somewhere right of the hole at impact.

We’ll be back with more of this entry-level discussion of how to play golf. Let us know in the comments if there are any areas you’d like Jake to dive into!

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Instruction

Clement: The best video for beginner golfers ever

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One of the deep expertise we have is knowing what side you need to be swinging from to enjoy your best golf. Sometimes it’s both sides like me! So many professionals on tour are including left-handed swings (for the right-handed player) in their warm-up routines and practice routines as a great way to create muscle confusion. Our fabulous kinesiologist, Munashe Masawi, confirms this through his studies and personal training for his grueling sport of football.

But there is always one side that fires better, feels smoother, and has the potential for a lot more than the other for many golfers. Which one are you?

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Clement: Important video on grip! (dare we say “historic!”)

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We so much love being historically correct! Back when I started teaching 35 years ago, when I looked at what the top 5 coaches were teaching, I knew I had to forge my own way. Not only did it not make sense anatomically, it did not make any sense neurologically either! Fast forward to today and we talk about ground forces and how to let the hips turn in the backswing and grip? WHOA, DID THEY MISS THE BOAT THERE!!

This video really takes the cake and REMOVES ALL QUESTIONS AND DOUBT ABOUT GRIP; where to hold it, grip pressure and IN OUR OPINION, THE FIRST TIME IT HAS BEEN REVEALED IN IT’S FULL ANATOMICAL FUNCTIONALITY.

This will end all debates about the “weak grip vs strong grip” argument!

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