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The Quest for 300: How to Bomb Your Driver (Part 1)

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An interesting comment followed my last article about what we can learn from professional long drivers. The reader commented, “I would love to hit a true 300 yard drive. How would I learn to do that?”

This inspired me to write a primer for how the “average golfer” would proceed in a quest to hit a true 300-yard drive. I believe many golfers fall into this category, as a poll of avid golfers once revealed that more would rather hit long, straight drives than shoot a low score.

If you are going to truly fulfill this goal, I challenge you to hit the drive without tailwind, hard ground or slope.

You’re going to need three things to happen for you to hit a 300 yard drive:

  1. Enough club head speed
  2. Solid, square contact and optimal club delivery
  3. A well-fit driver that produces optimal ball flight.

In essence, you’re going to need to be fast and efficient.

Click here to read other articles written by Steve Pratt.

The minimum club head speed required to hit a 300-yard drive in neutral conditions is 108 mph, according to Trackman. A 250-yard drive, by comparison, (if this proves to be a more realistic goal for you) requires at least 89 mph.

A good start will be to get an accurate measurement of your club head speed as a baseline.

Given enough club head speed, you’re still going to need solid square contact. You’ll need a smash factor of 1.48 or above. Smash factor is a ratio of ball speed to club head speed. At 108 mph club head speed, this means you’ll need at least 160 mph of ball speed.

Perfect contact is only part of the picture, however. You’ll also need to catch the drive at least 5 degrees on the upswing. Most amateur golfers hit down with their drivers –- sometimes 5 degrees or more downward. At the necessary speed, this will cost you nearly 30 yards.

You will also need to groove either an inside-to-square or slight inside-to-out path. Swinging outside-in has now been confirmed to lose you distance.

Finally, you’re going to need a driver that fits both your speed and attack angle. Most golf shops aren’t equipped to measure both — so definitely seek out a fitter with a Trackman. Golfers lose up to 50 yards of distance by being equipped with an ill-fitting club — I see it all the time.

I’ll give you a couple of examples. A driver with too much loft for your swing will cause the ball to climb overly high and land too steep, which will cost you roll. A driver that doesn’t have enough loft will launch too low and cost you carry.

There is an optimal landing angle for the longest drives, which can be achieved by many combinations of launch angle and spin rate. However, your longest drives will tend to have higher launch and lower spin.

An efficient 300-yard drive might have around 12-14 degrees of launch, and 2100-2600 rpms of backspin. Of course it is possible to go 300 outside these parameters, but it might take you more club head speed than the 108.

Some of you already have the speed to reach 250 or even 300 yards off the tee right now. However, club delivery and equipment could be costing you tons of distance. We shouldn’t underestimate how efficient we need to be to hit a golf ball over 300 yards.

Trackman

Hitting a milestone drive is a lofty but satisfying goal that can really keep your interest in the sport strong.

I recommend that your first step is to find out what your current launch variables are. Only then can you assess what additional steps are necessary to bomb your first 300 yard drive.

In part 2, I will discuss how to make your club delivery more potent.

The Quest For 300: How To Bomb Your Driver (Part 2)

The Quest For 300: How To Bomb Your Driver (Part 3)

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Steve Pratt teaches full-time at Lindero Country Club in Southern California using Trackman technology. Steve teaches the Mike Austin method of swinging which, using Kinesiology, unlocks the maximum power and accuracy possible from the human body. Steve's clients include many professional long drivers who routinely hit the ball over 400 yards. You can find Steve on the web at www.hititlonger.com, and @hititlonger on Twitter.com.

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Bobby

    Oct 5, 2015 at 12:59 am

    I think a lot of people either hit the range, or inflate their numbers. I can bomb it 270-280 yards, and out of everyone I’ve played golf with I only had two people hit it further in the last two years of playing. It’s a rarity to encounter anyone hitting a 300 yard drive. I disagree with the 108mph swing speed. I say you need a 115mph swing speed. Good luck rolling it out to 300 consistently. With all the divots, sprinkler holes, etc… in your way. I suppose if you were at altitude that would be plausible.

  2. jack

    Jun 17, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    This is stupid!

  3. Slim

    May 15, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Driving distance is always confusing because it’s not always clear whether someone is talking about in-the-air-carry, or total distance. In this case I can tell you’re talking about total distance, including roll.

  4. Steve Pratt

    Apr 8, 2013 at 3:48 am

    It isn’t necessary to make major compensations with body position. You are correct in your assessment about geometry, but it is as simple as closing the stance about a inch to account for the upward AoA.

  5. D Sgalippa

    Apr 6, 2013 at 5:31 am

    The requirement to hit with AoA of 5 deg up is terribly misleading to the average golfer. Particularly when you have coupled that with the requirement to have an inside-out/square path.
    For a golfer that has aligned their feet, shoulders and hips parallel to the target line, all things being equal, the club will only be going inside-out until the club head arrives at the bottom of the swing’s arc. This basic geometric fact can only be altered if you make some major compensations with body position on the downswing. The corollary of that is that if you are hitting on the up, your clubhead is probably already travelling to the inside.

  6. Jack

    Apr 5, 2013 at 12:37 am

    For me I’d rather take shooting in the 70’s than driving 300. I already hit it 250-280 with the occasional 300 without swinging out of my shoes. It’s the other parts of my game that need more work!

  7. Steve Pratt

    Apr 4, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    Mike,

    320 on a flat course probably puts you in the 116+ range. See the above picture.

    However, ground firmness is a highly variable condition. On fast firm fairways, you could potentially hit it 320 with just 108 mph.

  8. Peter

    Apr 4, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    Dang, even if I’m leaving 25 yards on the table, that’s way too much.

  9. Mike

    Apr 4, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    So if I hit it 320 on a calm day on a flat course I am swinging in excess of 108, right?

  10. yo!

    Apr 3, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Every year I bought a new driver and gained 10 yards per year. Next year will be the 10th year, and with another 10 yards from technology, I’ll be in the 300 club. Just a little secret, the brand starts with a “T” and ends with an “e.”

  11. Steve Pratt

    Apr 3, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    @J What about 300+ in the center?

    @t Yes fast powerful hips have been proven to give distance – but don’t forget the role of a quick and complete release of the clubhead by the hands.

    @Evan If you’re at 375 now, what I will be writing about in future installments will get you over 400, and into the REMAX finals.

    @Paul, part two will be coming soon!

  12. t

    Apr 3, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    distance comes from the core. fast hips equals distance. work on your flexibility first, then worry about getting fit for the proper driver. guys were hitting it 300 yards long before all this technology took over. golfers who hit it 300 typically have the same specs.

    • Mike

      Apr 4, 2013 at 4:56 pm

      What produces more speed the hips or the arm swing? CLEARED HIPS = ability for the arms to create speed.

  13. J

    Apr 3, 2013 at 12:00 am

    You can have every 300 yard drive I’ve hit in my life if you are willing to trade me 285 in the center. Thanks!

  14. evan

    Apr 2, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    im driving about 375 right now…will this work for someone who is driving it too far?

  15. paul

    Apr 2, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Bring on part two!

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