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A shockingly simple drill to hit the golf ball farther

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One of the biggest requests I get on the lesson tee is for more distance. Everyone wants to hit the golf ball farther. Obviously. That being said, there’s many things that go into producing distance, such as…

  • Swing Length — how long is the swing or how long does the club stay in the air before hitting the ball?
  • Swing Width — are you at full extension at during the swing or do you get soft arms?
  • Impact Point — the horizontal and vertical point of contact that influences gear effect, launch, and spin rate.
  • Spin Rate — how much backspin does the ball have?
  • Height — how high is the ball in the air?
  • Launch Angle — what is the angle of the ball off the face during impact?
  • Ball Speed — how fast does the ball leave the blade?

But one thing remains true: if you want more distance, then you must swing faster with all of the above being maximized for your current swing speed. So how do you create more speed? Simple — set up the drill as shown below.

Use between 6-to-10 balls and swing 100 percent all out with no regard for where the ball lands. Then repeat the drill and make your normal speed swing and you will find that your clubhead speed will slightly increase. Do this drill 5 to 10 times per practice session and you will train yourself to swing faster.

However, it’s up to you to figure out how fast you can swing yet maximize the qualities listed above so you can maintain consistent contact.

Remember, you don’t have to get complex to solve your distance problem. Try this first and see what happens!

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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

22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. ogo

    Apr 2, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    You can’t just magically acquire a higher swing speed doing this 10 ball drill once or twice. You must do it three times daily and ten 10-ball sets …. for THREE MONTHS … 😮

  2. ChipNRun

    Apr 2, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    Tom,

    This reminds me of an excellent “tempo setter” which some players use after warm-up and right before tee-off:
    * Tee up five balls in parallel, about 6 inches apart. Set up with your driver, and crisply set up and hit five shots in a row. By the fourth or fifth shot, you can “feel your drive tempo” for the day.

  3. RITZ

    Mar 10, 2018 at 11:42 pm

    SuperSpeed sticks with their golf protocols will get your MPG up there.

  4. Raymond CHASTEL

    Feb 26, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    What did great golf champion -two time US champion -JULIUS BOROS- say “SWING EASY ,HIT HARD “:Tom Stickney is right :go for it

  5. S

    Feb 24, 2018 at 10:11 am

    No! I want to be able to hit it really far without any drills or practice, after I’ve sat on the office and couch chairs for a whole week, as I rush to the first tee early on a Sunday morning.
    lol

  6. Rich Douglas

    Feb 24, 2018 at 8:30 am

    Hit it hard. Always hit it hard. Don’t hold back; decelerating the club is bad juju.

    Swing it like a whip, not a hammer. But swing hard. Besides, you might even hit it.

  7. LuckyAussie

    Feb 24, 2018 at 1:22 am

    Shank.

  8. Ogo

    Feb 23, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    Okay, but don’t start with the driver; start with the 5-wood and then go to the 3-wood before you try the driver. Starting with the driver is wrong wrong wrong.

  9. Barry

    Feb 23, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    This seems like one of those tips that is ridiculed (I always love seeing the ‘shank numbers”) for being too simple. I recall Harvey Penick – one of the great instructors the game has ever known – dealing with pupils who couldn’t deal with the simplicity of what he was trying to teach them.

    But I will be solidly in Mr. Stickney’s corner on this one. My pro used this drill with me and it truly works.

    Here’s the problem. I start playing golf in college, about 20 years ago. Through the school of hard knocks, I learn that controlling the club face is key, and the game is more fun in the short grass. My handicap drops, but my swing becomes more and more cautious and controlled every year, always more and more fearful of a big miss. I’m scoring and competing well, but rounds are a chore, grinding things out because I’m short off the tee due to my cautious swing.

    In part due to this drill, I learn that I can swing out more and still be reasonably accurate. I can go after tee shots and swing out. Golf is more FUN. No change in mechanics, no new equipment, just give yourself permission to TAKE THE BRAKES OFF and I’m much longer and really no less accurate. When you get wild, you can always dial it back. But you have to come to terms with the fact that putting it out there is going to introduce some risk. In some ways it’s like learning to drive a car – on a side road, 35 feels fast, but when you come off the highway doing 75 it feels glacial. It’s all relative.

    This is one of those things that has reinforced what an incredibly mental game this is.

    • Speedy

      Feb 26, 2018 at 7:31 pm

      “Every Golfer from young adult through Seasoned Citizens, should own a heavy practice club that weighs at lease 22 ounces. Swinging a weighted club with your regular grip and stance is the best exercise I know to build the golf muscles”. – Harvey Penick

  10. Speedy

    Feb 23, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    Exercise, nutrition, practice swing a weighted club. That’ll be $200, please.

    • Ogo

      Feb 23, 2018 at 8:52 pm

      A weighted club is stupid because you only deaden your arms and hands… and you use different muscles than with a driver or any other club. A weighted club will kill your golf swing… believe it

      • Speedy

        Feb 24, 2018 at 3:35 pm

        Strict supervision required for some.

      • acew/7iron

        Feb 25, 2018 at 9:18 am

        I agree…I think trainers like the orange whip are better for speed.

        • Scott

          Mar 8, 2018 at 12:14 pm

          acew,
          Today, then what to they want to sell you tomorrow?

      • Scott

        Mar 8, 2018 at 12:13 pm

        maybe for some, but not true, ogo. Did not kill mine.

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Instruction

Gabe Hjertstedt teaches Doc Rivers how to hit the lofted chip shot

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In the first episode of this instructional series with Short Game Guru Gabe Hjertstedt and NBA Coach for the Los Angeles Clippers Doc Rivers, Gabe teaches Doc how to hit the lofted chip shot to get the ball to stop quicker on the green.

Look out for more videos this week including more from Gabe and Doc’s short game session, their full lesson, and our interview with Doc.

Enjoy the first video below!

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Instruction

WATCH: How to hit your driver more consistently

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In this video, I share two great drills that will help you improve your driving today.

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Instruction

3 keys for getting out of bunkers with soft sand

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One of the most infuriating things in golf is to land in a bunker that has too much sand, or sand with the consistency of a truckload of talcum power. Now, I am not picking on the Superintendents; they do have to add new sand from time-to-time, so no hate mail please! It’s my fault for hitting it in the bunker in the first place, and bunkers are supposed to be hazards; I know that.

The one thing we will assume for this article is that even though we are in soft sand, we will have a good lie, not a plugged or semi-plugged one. We are in a bunker that just has a bunch of sand, or it’s soft and fluffy sand. Everyone asks me what the secret is to handling these types of conditions and I’m here to help you get better.

1) Get a wedge with the correct bounce

Let’s consider that you play the same golf course every weekend, or that you mostly play on courses that have the same type of playing conditions mostly. When you have this luxury, you should have wedges that fit the conditions you tend to play. So, if you have a low bounce wedge with a sharp flange and you’re playing from bunkers with lots of sand, then you are putting yourself at a disadvantage.

Why alter your swing if the wedge you have can help you? Use a high bounce wedge (9-12 degrees of bounce) for soft sand, and a low bounce wedge (6-8 degrees) for firm sand.

2) Control your Angle of Attack 

As with most things in golf, there are always things that you must pay attention to in order for you to have the odds in your favor. Simple things such as paying attention to the lie you have can help you save shots in the rough. In bunkers, you cannot test the surface, however, you can use your feet to feel the density of the sand. Pay attention to what you feel in the balls of your feet. If you feel a ton of sand below you, then you know you will have to alter your angle of attack if you want any chance to get out of the bunker successfully.

So what do I mean by this?

The setting of your wrists has a very dynamic effect on how much the wedge digs in or skids through the sand (assuming you have an open face). When there is a surplus of sand, you will find that a steeper attack caused by the maximum cocking of your wrists makes it much easier for the wedge to work too vertical and dig too deep. When you dig too deep, you will lose control of the ball as there is too much sand between the blade and the ball — it will not spin as much and won’t have the distance control you normally have.

The secret to playing from softer sand is a longer and wider bunker swing with much less wrist-set than you would use on your stock bunker shot. This action stops the club from digging too deep and makes it easier for you to keep moving through the ball and achieving the distance you need.

3) Keep your pivot moving

It’s nearly impossible to keep the rotation of your shoulders going when you take too much sand at impact, and the ball comes up short in that situation every time. When you take less sand, you will have a much easier time keeping your pivot moving. This is the final key to good soft-sand bunker play.

You have made your longer and more shallow backswing and are returning to the ball not quite as steeply as you normally do which is good… now the only thing left to do is keep your rear shoulder rotating through impact and beyond. This action helps you to make a fuller finish, and one that does not lose too much speed when the club impacts the sand. If you dig too deep, you cannot keep the rear shoulder moving and your shots will consistently come up short.

So if you are in a bunker with new sand, or an abundance of sand, remember to change your bounce, adjust your angle of attack, and keep your pivot moving to have a fighting chance.

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