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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

Right Knee Bend: The Difference Between PGA Tour Players and Amateurs

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The knees play an especially important role in the golf swing, helping to transfer the forces golfers generate through our connection with the ground. When we look closer at the right knee bend in the golf swing, we’re able to get a better sense of how PGA Tour players generate power compared to most amateur golfers.

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How to eliminate the double cross: Vertical plane, gear effect and impact location

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One of the biggest issues teachers see on the lesson tee is an out-to-in golf swing from a player who is trying to fade the ball, only to look up and see the deadly double cross! This gear effect assisted toe hook is one of the most frustrating things about trying to move the ball from left to right for the right-handed golfer. In this article, I want to show you what this looks like with Trackman and give you a few ways in which you can eliminate this from your game.

Below is the address position of a golfer I teach here in Punta Mita; his handicap ranges between scratch and 2, depending on how much he’s playing, but his miss is a double cross when he’s struggling.

Now let’s examine his impact position:

Observations

  • You see a pull-hooking ball flight
  • The hands are significantly higher at impact than they were at address
  • If you look at the clubhead closely you can see it is wide open post impact due to a toe hit (which we’ll see more of in a second)
  • The face to path is 0.5 which means with a perfectly centered hit, this ball would have moved very slightly from the left to the right
  • However, we see a shot that has a very high negative spin axis -13.7 showing a shot that is moving right to left

Now let’s look at impact location via Trackman:

As we can see here, the impact of the shot above was obviously on the toe and this is the reason why the double-cross occurred. Now the question remains is “why did he hit the ball off of the toe?”

This is what I see from people who swing a touch too much from out-to-in and try to hit fades: a standing up of the body and a lifting of the hands raising the Vertical Swing Plane and Dynamic Lie of the club at impact. From address, let’s assume his lie angle was 45 degrees (for simplicity) and now at impact you can see his Dynamic Lie is 51 degrees. Simply put, he’s standing up the shaft during impact…when this happens you will tend to pull the heel off the ground at impact and this exposes the toe of the club, hence the toe hits and the gear effect toe hook.

Now that we know the problem, what’s the solution? In my opinion it’s a three stage process:

  1. Don’t swing as much from out-to-in so you won’t stand up as much during impact
  2. A better swing plane will help you to remain in your posture and lower the hands a touch more through impact
  3. Move the weights in your driver to promote a slight fade bias

Obviously the key here is to make better swings, but remember to use technology to your advantage and understand why these type of things happen!

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Master your takeaway with force and torques

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Most golf swings last less than 2 seconds, so it’s difficult to recover from any errors in the takeaway. Time is obviously limited. What most golfers fail to realize is that the force and torque they apply to the club in the initial stages of the swing can have major effects on how they are able to leverage the club with their arms and wrists.

Our research has shown that it is best to see the golfer as a series of connected links with the most consistent golfers transferring motion smoothly from one link to another and finally to the club. Approximately 19-25 percent of all the energy created in a golf swing actually makes its way into the motion of the club. That means the remaining 75-80 percent is used up in moving the body segments. This emphasizes the fact that a smooth takeaway is your best chance sequence the body links and become more efficient with your energy transfers.

In the video above, I give a very important lesson on how the forces and torques applied by the golfer in the takeaway shape the rest of the swing. There will be more to come on the subject in future articles.

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