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The Quest for 300: How to Bomb Your Driver (Part 2)

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In my first installment, I talked about the minimum prerequisites to drive a ball 300 yards under neutral conditions Let’s recap.

You will need to have at least 108 mph of club head speed and 160 mph of ball speed. Furthermore, you will need proper club delivery into the ball, with square and solid contact. Finally, 300-yard drives are unlikely to happen without a really well-fit driver.

So why should you aim to hit the ball 300 yards or more (assuming we are straight)? Some of you feel that 285 yards is plenty, and on some holes it is. But in my experience, completely overpowering a golf course is not only fun, but a great way to dominate (and intimidate) the competition. You can hit over trees, carry fairway bunkers and cut doglegs. It’s a huge help to take it really low.

At 285 yards, chances are you’re still hitting a hybrid (or more) into a par 5. And you aren’t scaring any par 4s. But when you can hit a mid or short iron into par 5s and knock it pin high on short 4s, you’re tapping in for birdie a few times per round.

For many of you, who may be after 250 yards (89 mph club head speed), this is the difference between reaching all the holes in regulation on your course or not. And that is a big difference in strokes. These tips will work just as well for you, or even a 200 yard hitter.

Click here to read other articles written by Steve Pratt.

So today I want to discuss club delivery. How you deliver the driver head through space into the back of the ball makes a giant difference.

Most golfers hit down and across. This means contact is made with a downward strike, and then a low, left exit. Most slicers swing this way.

Additionally, better golfers who rely on video analysis with plane lines swing this way. However, if your club shaft is tracking the line, you are cheating yourself out of 25 straight yards. This could be the difference between 285 and 310. Or 225 to 250!

If your teacher recommends you have each club on the plane line, he is not accounting for what golf Doppler radar systems like FlightScope and Trackman have shown us about club delivery and ball flight.

Those devices prove that the most efficient way to deliver the strike with a driver is from under, up and out. The club head reaches the bottom of its arc a few inches before impact, approaching well from the inside. The strike is upward, and the club head actually crosses the target line early in the follow through.

On video, the shaft will appear under the plane line. But because of the D-plane adjustments, this will not be a push — nor will you be stuck. In fact, the club path will be dead on target — zero degrees!

With a proper release, ball flight will be high and penetrating. It has been proven that we will gain more than 25 yards from this “track” into the ball.

Delivering the club in this manner takes three adjustments. We will move the ball more forward in our stance, from front heel to big toe. Also, we must allow the right hip and shoulder to achieve a “low” position via a large lateral shift. Finally, we will release the club head freely, and earlier.

In part 3, I will talk more about finding the right driver to match your swing and aid in your quest to hit a 300 yard drive.

The Quest For 300: How To Bomb Your Driver (Part 1)

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.

24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Pingback: Technology is here to stay in televised sports | Girl With A Notebook

  2. William

    Jun 11, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    Great article Steve. With the principles that Steve teaches extra distance is a bonus. His swing methods produce a very repeatable swing that is very accurate. I recently took some lesson from Steve and I am convinced that he is the best instructor on the planet. The Yoda of the golf swing.

  3. shane

    May 15, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    Can anyone explain further the under plane approach not being stuck?? I look at my swing on video and my clubshaft is slightly under the original shaft plane line and was always told that this cause a push/hook. Can you explain witht he D plane why its not stuck and will hit straight shots? Also hanging back while not great for accuracy or your back seems essential to hitting up on the ball. correct?

  4. Finn

    May 15, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Great article, all 3 parts. It is rewarding to see that I have found something correct by just hitting the ball and seeing what works. I am 52 years and will soon (on July 4th) have been playing golf for 7 years. I have a Tailormade (version 2) driver with stiff shaft and 9.5 loft but the actual loft is closer to 14.5 so I have roughly 5 degrees of AoA. I vary my drives from standing straight (for sharper draws) and tilting my upper torso (for maximum height or fades). 300 yards (270 meters) only happens a few times a year but 255-280 yards (230-250 meters) every round.

  5. Aaron Davis

    May 15, 2013 at 1:53 am

    Great article Steve, glad to see you on here!

  6. tmk

    May 14, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Great article and looking forward to the other stories. One quick question — it seems like most of the big hitters have a relatively upright swing with high hands. I’ve been working on this and it does seem to give me a bit more clubhead speed. At times, however, it also seems to make it harder for me to hit from the inside. I’m not sure if this really is the case or if it just feels that way to me because I’m starting my downswing from a place that is not as far to the inside. Any thoughts would be helpful. Thanks again for the article.

  7. Steve Pratt

    May 4, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    @Emmanuel – Now that you’re becoming a teacher, you’ll be able to teach slicers this skill!

    @JoeGolfer – I make a full release without the toe passing the heel, making hooks virtually impossible. Injuries are always tough, and we must work with what we’ve got at the end of the day.

  8. Emmanuel Vizcaya

    May 3, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    I for one enjoyed this write up and can attest to the benefits of striking up from the inside. The added distance was one of the reasons I passed my PAT.
    That being said, not everyone possesses the skill to do this. If a slicer doesn’t possess enough skill to correct a slice this hitting motion would be extremely difficult for him to achieve.

  9. Steve Pratt

    May 3, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    @MarkY – I’m sorry you find the article uninspiring. And you’re missing the point. 300 is just an ultimate destination, a journey. For some golfers the target might be 200 yards, but the principles apply just the same.

    We’re not talking about effort, we’re talking about getting results with higher efficiency. Less wasted motion, smoother – yet powerful.

    • Joe Golfer

      May 4, 2013 at 12:08 am

      Good, diplomatic response. Never fun when some “Anonymous” says what you’ve written is B.S.
      He really did miss the point. I thought your advice was very good.
      I play the ball forward and hit on a slight upswing, but I have to go with a slight fade due to a bad back and old injuries. I have to use a slightly open stance due to my back/hips. Plus, if I close my stance to hit from the inside-out (which I agree with you is the best way to increase distance), I find that I can’t always control it, as I have to release my hands more, and I get inconsistent results as far as accuracy.
      With the straight to very slight fade, I get the accuracy, and the hands release naturally. So I’ll just have to take a loss of yardage because of a balky back. I’m missing that extra yardage that a strong hand release gives, and I understand your point, as I use it in tennis, but the hand release it too inconsistent if I go to inside-out path, even with a strong grip.

    • Slim

      May 15, 2013 at 3:36 pm

      Don’t listen to the negative Nellie’s. They can stop reading. The rest of us are enjoying the effort you’re putting into this and the info you’re sharing. People can take from it what they want.

  10. Cody Lewis

    May 3, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Great article, I agree with some of the comments that your next installment should include videos but otherwise, good information here. I often coach golfers at Falcon Ridge Golf Course in NV and you are spot on.

  11. MarkY

    May 3, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    What a BS article. 95% of most amateurs would do well to hit 285 and keep it in the fairway. Trying to gas a drive 300 is asking for trouble.

    D-plane, doppler, etc… what a bunch of nonsense.

    • naflack

      May 3, 2013 at 2:32 pm

      It is interesting that so many tour pros still hit down with their long clubs…

  12. Steve Pratt

    May 2, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    @Andy – send me your Trackman report. I will discuss increasing clubhead speed in a future article.

    • Andy

      May 3, 2013 at 4:23 am

      Morning Steve,

      How do you wish me to forward the report ? I can’t see an email address to use.

      I note on my Driver testing I was hitting 1 to 2 degrees down in general (Trackman data) but during the MATT fitting (prior to hitting balls) I was 1 degree positive.

      Thanks for offering to take a look.

      • Joe Golfer

        May 4, 2013 at 12:13 am

        @Andy I noticed that his bio at bottom of article has a website address called http://www.hititlonger.com and a Twitter handle of @hititlonger
        His website has a link to contact him and ask a question or send a comment, and it asks for your email address. So I assume you can contact him that way and explain that he asked for your Trackman report at GolfWRX. Hopefully he’ll respond and give you an email address where you can send your info.

  13. Steve Pratt

    May 2, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Tiger is currently at 295.1 from 119.5 mph clubhead speed. (PGATour.com). He could be at a 320+ average at the same speed. Arguing that this delivery pattern is intentional for better accuracy is relatively invalid, as he is 152nd at 55.7% fairways hit.

    Hunter Mahan is at 287.1 from 112 mph clubhead speed. More efficient, but not great.

    • Narf

      May 15, 2013 at 1:02 pm

      Don’t the PGA stats include drives hit with 3 & 5w? That’s hardly a fair number for this conversation.

  14. Tags

    May 2, 2013 at 10:59 am

    Swing up on the ball works but Tiger hits down and still pipes it 325. Hunter Mahan hits down too and hits about 285-290

    • Cris

      May 2, 2013 at 12:40 pm

      …and both of them are making the corresponding swing changes to hit up on the ball and increase their carry distances.

      • naflack

        May 3, 2013 at 2:30 pm

        Tiger is not doing that. His go to ball off the tee is a cut with the ball teed lower and slightly descending strike.

  15. Andy

    May 2, 2013 at 5:29 am

    Love the article Steve. I’d certainly like to get near that 300 mark.

    I’m 44, live in the UK and the idea of hot days and hard fairways is alien over here. So need to do it the hard way.

    I work with my Pro on Trackman during lessons and last weekend spent 2 hours at TaylorMade (Wentworth) being measured for a new driver and Irons. So I’m serious at improving. Have the trackman data from that, but won’t bore you with that detail here 😉

    My swing speed is currently 98-101 with a driver.

    So really my first big challenge is – how do I get that speed up by 10Mph ? I already take lessons, I already play regularly, seems I need to get stronger and more flexible…?

    Looking forward to reading the other parts.

  16. Shastygolfer

    May 2, 2013 at 12:27 am

    Dude videos

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Instruction

The Big Shift: How to master pressure and the golf transition using prior sports training

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If you’re an #AverageJoeGolfer, work a day job, and don’t spend countless hours practicing, you might be interested in knowing that sports you played growing up, and even beer league softball skills, can be used to help you play better golf. We’re sure you’ve heard hockey players tend to hit the ball a mile, make the “best golfers”, while pitchers and quarterbacks have solid games, but baseball/softball hitters struggle with consistency. Did you know that a killer tennis backhand might help your golf game if you play from the opposite side? Dancers are way ahead of other athletes making a switch to golf because they understand that centeredness creates power and consistency much more efficiently than shifting all around, unnecessary swaying, or “happy feet.”

Lurking beneath fat shots, worm burners, and occasional shanks, are skillsets and motions you can pull from the old memory bank to apply on the golf course. Yes, you heard us right; your high school letterman jacket can finally be put to good use and help you improve your move. You just need to understand some simple adjustments different sports athletes need to make to be successful golfers.

In golf, shifting from your trailside into your lead side is what we’ll call the TRANSITION. Old School teachers refer to this motion, or shift, as “Foot Work”, New-Fangled-Techno-Jargon-Packed-Instruction uses “Ground Pressure/Force” to refer to the same concept. Don’t worry about the nomenclature; just know, as many GolfWRXers already do, that you must get your weight to your lead side if you want any chance at making solid and consistent contact. TRANSITION might be THE toughest motion in golf to master.

The good news for you is that TRANSITION happens in all other sports but in slightly different ways, depending on the sport. Golfers can more quickly learn TRANSITION, and speed up their swing learning process by understanding how prior sport experience can be applied to the golf swing.

[The basics of a solid golf move are; 1) you should have a SETUP that is centered and balanced, 2) you move your weight/pressure into your trail side during the TAKEAWAY and BACKSWING, 3) TRANSITION moves your weight/pressure back into your lead side, and 4) you FINISH with the club smashing the ball down the fairway. Okay, it’s not quite as easy as I make it sound, but hopefully our discussion today can relieve some stress when it comes time for you to start training your game.]

Baseball/Softball Hitters

Hitting coaches don’t like their hitters playing golf during the season, that’s a fact. The TRANSITIONS are too different, and if they play too much golf, they can lose the ability to hit off-speed pitches because their swing can become too upright. Golf requires an orbital hand path (around an angled plane) with an upright-stacked finish, while hitting requires batters to have a straight-line (more horizontal) hand path and to “stay back or on top of” the ball.

Now we apologize for the lack of intricate knowledge and terminology around hitting a baseball, we only played up through high school. What we know for sure is that guys/gals who have played a lot of ball growing up, and who aren’t pitchers struggle with golf’s TRANSITION. Hitters tend to hang back and do a poor job of transferring weight properly. When they get the timing right, they can make contact, but consistency is a struggle with fat shots and scooping being the biggest issues that come to mind.

So how can you use your star baseball/softball hitting skills with some adjustments for golf? Load, Stride, Swing is what all-good hitters do, in that order. Hitters’ issues revolve around the Stride, when it comes to golf. They just don’t get into their lead sides fast enough. As a golfer, hitters can still take the same approach, with one big adjustment; move more pressure to your lead side during your stride, AND move it sooner. We’ve had plenty of ‘a ha’ moments when we put Hitters on balance boards or have them repeat step drills hundreds of times; “oh, that’s what I need to do”…BINGO…Pound Town, Baby!

Softball/Baseball Pitchers, Quarterbacks, & Kickers

There’s a reason that kickers, pitchers, and quarterbacks are constantly ranked as the top athlete golfers and it’s not because they have a ton of downtime between starts and play a lot of golf. Their ‘day jobs’ throwing/kicking motions have a much greater impact on how they approach sending a golf ball down the fairway. It’s apparent that each of these sports TRAINS and INGRAINS golf’s TRANSITION motion very well. They tend to load properly into their trailside while staying centered (TAKEAWAY/BACKSWING), and they transfer pressure into their lead side, thus creating effortless speed and power. Now there are nuances for how to make adjustments for golf, but the feeling of a pitching or kicking motion is a great training move for golf.

If this was your sport growing up, how can you improve your consistency? Work on staying centered and minimizing “happy feet” because golf is not a sport where you want to move too much or get past your lead side.


Dance

My wife was captain of her high school dance team, has practiced ballet since she was in junior high, and is our resident expert on Ground Pressure forces relating to dance. She has such a firm grasp on these forces that she is able to transfer her prior sports skill to play golf once or twice a year and still hit the ball past me and shoot in the low 100s; what can I say, she has a good coach. More importantly, she understands that staying centered and a proper TRANSITION, just like in Dance, are requirements that create stability, speed, and consistent motions for golf. Christo Garcia is a great example of a Ballerina turned scratch golfer who uses the movement of a plié (below left) to power his Hogan-esque golf move. There is no possible way Misty Copeland would be able to powerfully propel herself into the air without a proper TRANSITION (right).

Being centered is critical to consistently hitting the golf ball. So, in the same way that dancers stay centered and shift their weight/pressure to propel themselves through the air, they can stay on the ground and instead create a golf swing. Dancers tend to struggle with the timing of the hands and arms in the golf swing. We train them a little differently by training their timing just like a dance routine; 1 and 2 and 3 and…. Dancers learn small motions independently and stack each micro-movement on top of one another, with proper timing, to create a dance move (golf swing) more like musicians learn, but that article is for another time.

Hockey

Hockey is a great example of the golf TRANSITION because it mimics golf’s motions almost perfectly. Even a subtlety like the direction in which the feet apply pressure is the same in Hockey as in Golf, but that’s getting in the weeds a bit. Hockey players load up on their trailside, and then perform the TRANSITION well; they shift into their lead sides and then rotate into the puck with the puck getting in the way of the stick…this is the golf swing, just on skates and ice…my ankles hurt just writing that.

If you played hockey growing up, you have the skillsets for a proper golf TRANSITION, and you’ll improve much faster if you spend your time training a full FINISH which involves staying centered and balanced.

Now we didn’t get into nuances of each and every sport, but we tried to cover most popular athletic motions we thought you might have experience in in the following table. The key for your Big Shift, is using what you’ve already learned in other sports and understanding how you might need to change existing and known motions to adapt them to golf. If you played another sport, and are struggling, it doesn’t mean you need to give up golf because your motion is flawed…you just need to know how to train aspects of your golf move a little differently than someone who comes from a different sport might.

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Clement: Effortless power for senior golfers

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Are you struggling with range of motion? Want more EFFORTLESS POWER? We are truly the experts at this having taught these methods for 25 plus years, while others were teaching resistance, breaking everyone’s backs and screwing up their minds with endless positions to hit and defects to fix. Welcome home to Wisdom in Golf!

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Clement: How to turbo charge your swing

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The shift in golf instruction continues and Wisdom in Golf and GolfWRX are right out there blazing a trail of fantastic content and techniques to get you to feel the most blissful, rhythmic golf shots you can strike! This here is the humdinger that keeps on giving and is now used by a plethora of tour players who are benefitting greatly and moving up the world rankings because of it.

The new trend (ours is about 25 years young) is the antithesis of the “be careful, don’t move too much, don’t make a mistake” approach we have endured for the last 30 years plus. Time to break free of the shackles that hold you back and experience the greatness that is already right there inside that gorgeous human machine you have that is so far from being defective! Enjoy!

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