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Better to hit it hard and learn to hit straight or vice versa?


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#1 left hand low

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 10:28 PM

Age old argument and I've heard both sides.  Is it better for a youngster to learn to hit the ball hard and then straight, or hit it straight and then maybe they grow and figure out how to hit it farther?  I'm sort of leaning to the latter and have a 10 year old girl and a toddler boy that will learn one day and I'm going to have to figure out the approach for them.


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#2 augustgolf

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 10:30 PM

How about letting them figure it out....it seems that is something with which we all struggle
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#3 BrianMcG

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 10:37 PM

Your girl needs to try to hit it hard.  For some reason beginning girls and women swing too easy. Probably from taking bad advice from well meaning significant others.

Tell you son to swing easy. He's not going to pay attention to anything you say anyway and will still hit it hard.

Edited by BrianMcG, 06 November 2016 - 10:39 PM.


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#4 heavy_hitter

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Posted 07 November 2016 - 09:33 AM

I have an older daughter and younger son.  They both were never afraid to go after it.  I think it is a very good trait to have.  I don't think it is something you want to teach.  

The best thing that can happen is for them to have good fundamentals.  Start with a good grip, then start with feet and base and work your way up.  They need to learn great footwork and use the correct muscles which will lead to accuracy and power.  They need to learn where the hips should be and how the legs work in conjunction with the hips to create lag and power.  Fairways and Greens is how you score.

At the end of the day, being able to hit the ball far is natural, god given talent in my opinion.  In football ball you can't teach 6'2 240 lbs with a 4.4 40.  In basketball you can' teach a 40" vertical.  In baseball you can't teach a 90 mph fastball or power to hit the ball 400 ft.  In golf, you can't teach someone how to hit the ball 300 yards, but you can teach them how to hit fairways and greens.  You can teach someone to gain distance, but you aren't going to teach someone Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, or Lexi Thompson kind of long.

Edited by heavy_hitter, 07 November 2016 - 12:15 PM.


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#5 LeoLeo99

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Posted 07 November 2016 - 10:58 PM

When I was 16, the "wisdom" I followed was hit it far and learn to hit it straight.  It's been almost 40 years and I'm still learning to hit it straight.


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#6 MrJones

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 08:55 AM

My suggestion would be to let them swing away with all they got with a club for a few balls and then have them hit at a target that's not as far. It helps if the target is something solid (so that when you hit it, the ball doesn't travel beyond the target.) Past the target needs to be a "bad" thing during this part of the practice.

They get to strengthen the swing but then learn to control the swing at the same time.
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#7 nitram

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 09:18 AM

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#8 blaird

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 11:15 AM

I read an article years ago in Golf Magazine, the part where they interviewed 3 tour pros and asked them the same 3 questions and one of the questions was along the lines of "what would you teach an 8 year old new to the game?" Two of the guys said about the same thing, grip, set up, alignment, etc... One of the pros said let them swing hard, you cant teach distance. I agree with that for the most part. If they can swing hard, hit the ball, and do it somewhat under control and dont flail all about then let them swing hard.

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#9 jobuddha

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 05:49 PM

My son's teacher always told him to hit it hard when he was starting out.  His thought - "I can teach him to hit it shorter"

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#10 EKELLY

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 09:27 PM

That's Nicklaus' old theory. I would strongly recommend learning the concept of squaring the club at impact with some good drills. If impact is good, you can always teach "swinging faster". If a bad habit creeps in while learning, it's much tougher to work out of it....If only I could go back, I'd have been a lot better, MUCH sooner..


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#11 Petunia Sprinkle

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 09:38 PM

Hitting it hard is a different animal from hitting it cautiously. Hitting it hard can be straightened out. Hitting it cautiously will NEEEEVER be long. In order for the cautious hitter to hit it long, they have to change. When horses go from walking to galloping, their gait changes. Galloping is NOT walking speeded up.

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#12 hot_corner

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Posted 11 November 2016 - 12:49 PM

I was more of a baseball player growing up so when I really started playing golf I had the grip it and rip it mentality so I could hit it hard but struggled to find fairways.  Now I've learned to hit it straight.  I think it all depends on the player though.

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#13 JetPilot

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Posted 23 November 2016 - 01:53 PM

View Posthot_corner, on 11 November 2016 - 12:49 PM, said:

I was more of a baseball player growing up so when I really started playing golf I had the grip it and rip it mentality so I could hit it hard but struggled to find fairways.  Now I've learned to hit it straight.  I think it all depends on the player though.

I suggest to my daughter to swing as hard as she can while maintaining balance, posture and the positions she has been taught.  Seems like you get the best of both, distance and accuracy.

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#14 leezer99

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Posted 24 November 2016 - 08:58 AM

Last night on the golf.com facebook page Brady Riggs spoke about developing kids under 12.  I think that question / answer starts around the 21:15 mark.

1. Grip
2. Balance
3. Hit it hard
4. Play golf (on course)

https://www.facebook...55507440702782/

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#15 left hand low

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Posted 24 November 2016 - 01:03 PM

Thanks for the link. Very helpful. I tend to agree with what he is saying.


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#16 dsales

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Posted 29 November 2016 - 04:00 PM

Juniors I work with have won over 200 events in last 4 years. In kids, speed development is critical. In their development years, they have two speed windows. Train for speed first and foremost.  Especially since results in kids golf really doesnt matter in grand scheme of things.  

My experience illustrates that developing speed is more difficult outside of speeed windows.  I do have a number of very good speed programs but nothing has ever createdD the results that of speeed training from early age.
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#17 leezer99

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Posted 30 November 2016 - 08:44 AM

View Postdsales, on 29 November 2016 - 04:00 PM, said:

Juniors I work with have won over 200 events in last 4 years. In kids, speed development is critical. In their development years, they have two speed windows. Train for speed first and foremost.  Especially since results in kids golf really doesnt matter in grand scheme of things.  

My experience illustrates that developing speed is more difficult outside of speeed windows.  I do have a number of very good speed programs but nothing has ever createdD the results that of speeed training from early age.

What sort of speed development can kids under 12 do?  I was under the impression that their fast twitch muscles don't even develop until puberty.

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#18 dsales

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 09:20 PM

Kids have two specific speed windows. Each window last approximately 2-3 years. One is before and then after puberty. Once a speed window has passed, so hasn't a key component to their athletic development. Not many coaches or people know about that. One of the biggest reasons why parents need to research and find cisches who have specialized trip aiming for juniors. Really does make a huge difference in the long term.
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#19 MadGolfer76

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 09:35 PM

This isn't either/or.

Learn how to make solid contact so that you get both.

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#20 spezza11

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Posted 26 December 2016 - 11:14 AM

I agree with solid contact

Teach the grip (if your not sure read about) don't teach your bad 1/2 - 3/4 right grip teach them the full correct grip. It's all about basics. Then the stance and let them swing for the fences if they want
Just ensure the basics are are place and the rest will come

The most fun majority of kids will have is those times they actually swing hard and make solid contact on some with the driver and then they want to to hit the ball like that again!

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#21 HoosierMizuno

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 11:36 AM

tiger said his dad told him he could swing as hard as he wanted as long as he remained in balance at end of the swing.
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#22 dsales

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 11:40 AM

Speed kills.  In development years, kids have speed windows.  Bypass a speed window, and they lose key athletic development window that they can't go back to.. Face control is a fine motor skill that comes after speed window.
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#23 RedWolfWay

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 12:16 AM

I am a fan of teaching young kids from the green backward. Around the green, you learn touch, which comes with softer hands, and softer grip. This will parlay into the full swing, and kids will learn accuracy, which contrary to popular belief in todays youthful minds IS more beneficial than power. Dustin Johnson isn't number one in the world because he pounds it (not saying it doesn't help) but his wedges have improved and he's hitting the ball left to right, which is an easier ball to control.
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#24 mcneergolf

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 12:56 AM

I bought a Swing Speed Radar about two years ago for us both to use and my daughter loves trying to top her speed record. It is interesting because we quickly found out it wasn't all about how hard she could swing the club with brute force. You can kinda of monitor a small change and see the effect in speed and she can visually see that result... Now saying that, she has struggled with that in some aspects because she goes 100% at everything. Leading to overshot greens that go ob..down the back side hill.. When off waaay off..  I am finding personally it is a hard balance for a child(10 in my case) to understand to throttle back and by how much and when to. I am hoping it comes as she matures or someone has some good recommend drills? She has been taught by the coach how to do this but on the course it just doesn't seem to stick yet.

Edited by mcneergolf, 24 April 2017 - 12:59 AM.


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#25 Petunia Sprinkle

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 02:24 AM

View PostRedWolfWay, on 24 April 2017 - 12:16 AM, said:

I am a fan of teaching young kids from the green backward. Around the green, you learn touch, which comes with softer hands, and softer grip. This will parlay into the full swing, and kids will learn accuracy, which contrary to popular belief in todays youthful minds IS more beneficial than power. Dustin Johnson isn't number one in the world because he pounds it (not saying it doesn't help) but his wedges have improved and he's hitting the ball left to right, which is an easier ball to control.

Dustin Johnson is a perfect example of someone who hit it hard first, then, learned to hit it more accurately without losing distance, Is there a straight hitting, short hitting tour player who learned to hit it long without losing accuracy?


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#26 heavy_hitter

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 08:00 AM

View Postmcneergolf, on 24 April 2017 - 12:56 AM, said:

I bought a Swing Speed Radar about two years ago for us both to use and my daughter loves trying to top her speed record. It is interesting because we quickly found out it wasn't all about how hard she could swing the club with brute force. You can kinda of monitor a small change and see the effect in speed and she can visually see that result... Now saying that, she has struggled with that in some aspects because she goes 100% at everything. Leading to overshot greens that go ob..down the back side hill.. When off waaay off..  I am finding personally it is a hard balance for a child(10 in my case) to understand to throttle back and by how much and when to. I am hoping it comes as she matures or someone has some good recommend drills? She has been taught by the coach how to do this but on the course it just doesn't seem to stick yet.

It comes with hours and hours and hours of practice.  Then they still don't always do it.  My daughter will be a freshman in college next year and she still does that.  She will play 9 holes of beautiful golf with a great looking swing, then presto she starts forcing shots.  My son has the tendency to do it with his driver and not his other clubs.  We have the discussion about this a lot.  It is mental and it is trying to force a score rather than just swing the club.  It just takes hours and hours and hours of practicing to not do it and then at times the bad habit will show back up.  For my son we work a ton with the orange whip as swell as a smash bag.  It is repetition of making the correct swing.

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#27 Palmetto Golfer

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 01:38 PM

I have gone back and forth with speed training with my son (10 y/o).  I got a speed radar and we had a lot of fun with it.  He made some improvement over the next 3 months but not a lot.  The problem he had was the more he would speed train the worse he was hitting the ball.  He especially had trouble hitting his irons as time went on.  It was really frustrating to him b/c he generally hits the ball well.  Plus, he was swinging faster with the driver (about 4 mph) but he would either hit it out of the fairway or worse...miss hit it and was shorter than normal. So we stopped doing it.

I have been toying with the idea of bring it back out. His swing is much better than it was when he first started it.  He was at his lesson the other day hitting drivers for his coach.  His coach told him to let it rip one time and he did...to the tune of 7 mph faster and the ball went dead straight.  I was shocked.  If he is leaving that kind of distance in the bag then that is a problem.

Ultimately, I think it depends on the kid.  Also, I agree with others that have said you can only teach so much.  I don't care how much training I would have had as a kid...I was never going to run a 4.4 forty or throw a 95 mph fast ball.

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#28 heavy_hitter

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 04:04 PM

View PostPalmetto Golfer, on 24 April 2017 - 01:38 PM, said:

I have gone back and forth with speed training with my son (10 y/o).  I got a speed radar and we had a lot of fun with it.  He made some improvement over the next 3 months but not a lot.  The problem he had was the more he would speed train the worse he was hitting the ball.  He especially had trouble hitting his irons as time went on.  It was really frustrating to him b/c he generally hits the ball well.  Plus, he was swinging faster with the driver (about 4 mph) but he would either hit it out of the fairway or worse...miss hit it and was shorter than normal. So we stopped doing it.

I have been toying with the idea of bring it back out. His swing is much better than it was when he first started it.  He was at his lesson the other day hitting drivers for his coach.  His coach told him to let it rip one time and he did...to the tune of 7 mph faster and the ball went dead straight.  I was shocked.  If he is leaving that kind of distance in the bag then that is a problem.

Ultimately, I think it depends on the kid.  Also, I agree with others that have said you can only teach so much.  I don't care how much training I would have had as a kid...I was never going to run a 4.4 forty or throw a 95 mph fast ball.

Palmetto and I chat through PM's quite a bit and I would like to add some things.

Hitting the ball hard doesn't mean much.  It just means you swing hard.  Unless you compress the ball, hitting the ball hard really doesn't mean anything.  It is possible to swing as hard as you can and never compress the ball.  The question is, are they releasing the club properly to maximize the power and speed.  

Speed is more important than power.  Teaching a kid to swing hard at the ball is not teaching them how to gain swing speed and it is not teaching them to hit the ball further.  There are two windows of opportunity for boy's and girl's through there youth to gain swing speed.  After that, it is very difficult for kids to gain swing speed.  It can be done, but it will take a lot more time for development if ever achieved.

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#29 jollysammy

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Posted 28 April 2017 - 12:44 AM

I found that my son improved more due to his using muscle back blades and thus swings as hard as his accuracy lets him.  That is, if you swing hard with blades and miss the sweetspot you will know right away that you are missing.  To the other kids on his high school golf team it seems like he's swinging fast and hard, but to him, he's swing controlled and relaxed at about 60% power.

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#30 BeerPerHole

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 11:23 PM

My little guy has been hitting balls for years and is just starting to compete. I stuck with the theory I heard years ago - let them go after it starting out. It seems to have worked because his swing is very nice. I just taught him two things after a couple years of swinging away...1-grip, and 2-lag. That's it.


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