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Realistic expectations for driver distance?


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#1 Pen

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 01:28 PM

I read a while back on Golf for Women that on average, women hit their drives 140 yards.  But, I have seen occasional references to women hitting 200-220 off the tee.

I'm working with a teaching pro, who will help me set expectations of distance (and otherwise improve my swing), but... I'm also curious to find out how far women here hit their drives, on average.  I've been playing for about 3 seasons, and am hoping to find some information to help me set reasonable expectations. I hit 160-175 on average, with most of the distance being from carry (probably 150), and the rest from roll.  My driver swing speed is around 75 mph these days.

What is your average driving distance? How much is carry, and how much is roll? For those of you hitting 200+ yard drives, are there unusual playing conditions that are a factor (e.g., high altitude)?  What is your driver swing speed?


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#2 Aimee

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 07:02 PM

Average...hmmm...depends who you play with and where...
My swing speed last time I checked was around 80 mph. If I'm swinging well I can hit close to 200 yards. Most of my drives are in the 180-190 range. I think roll is about 10 yards. I've gotten out to around 220 with roll. I'm not at high altitude. If it's dry (late in summer) I can get 20 yards roll.
From what I've seen, most "average" women golfers I've played with are hitting around 150 yards.
I played with a better (handicap in low teens) woman who got some drives out to 250, and you'd never say it looked like she swung "fast"...she just had excellent technique.
I'm still a 22 hcp, so it's not all about how far you hit it off the tee. If you are taking lessons, you have an opportunity to work on your whole game, which will ultimately enable you to score better.
Good luck!
It's not how...it's how many

#3 justhackin

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 08:11 PM

Pen

Not a women but I play with one ;)  My wife hits her driver about like you do unless her "good" swing kicks in then about 190-200 tops.  She takes lots of lessons, practices a lot and is a good solid 10 hcp. Her hcp secret ...... she hits her other clubs known distances and carries four wedges.  She knows how far she can hit each wedge with two different swings.  If her putter didn't fail her so often she would be in single digits.  You don't have to be long to be good.



hackin

#4 Pen

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 08:17 AM

Thanks Aimee and justhackin for your replies.  It's helpful to have a sense of where I can realistically set my distance expectations.  I get a bit tired of always playing driver then three wood for my first two shots on a hole, and it's discouraging sometimes to see that there are several par 4s that I can't reach in regulation...  Still, my main focus in my lessons these days is improving my iron shots-- I'm hoping to benefit from that (and work on my short game) in the long term.

#5 Gallery_Tenementrock_*

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 12:06 PM

I hope this does not come off as offensive or horribly misinformed...but I believe that women are capable of hitting it a lot farther than they do...IMO it's a matter of not swinging aggressively enough.

Maybe there's a perception that distance depends solely on size and brute force, or that swinging hard is not for women to do...but I look at the female figure, the lower center of gravity, the full hips and thighs and I think "Why not?"...I'm teaching my girlfriend how to swing, she's 5'3" 115 lbs but is built pretty solid around the hips and bottom, so hopefully someday she'll be pounding them out there well past 200.

I follow Hogan's advice to swing as hard as I can...while maintaining balance, of course.  People routinely call me a smooth swinger...I don't usually say anything but internally, I'm like "Hmm, sure doesn't feel like that to me."  So I say, as long as balanced is maintained throughout the swing, and your backswing doesn't get too long and out of control...take a big rip at it.


#6 Aimee

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 02:46 PM

It's actually mostly about the flexibility to get a nice turn.
Strength is important, even if someone is not muscular they can be strong in the "right" muscles. The one thing a lot of women don't work on is strengthening muscles which are specific to golf.
1) hands...you need a good grip
2) wrists...most women have very weak wrists, you need to be able to hit in thick stuff
3) forearms
4) shoulders
If you feel strong and confident, you are more likely to go aggressively after the ball instead of swiping weakly at it. And like Tenementrock says, having great balance is super important, which is easier if you have good flexibility and an athletic stance.

Edited by Aimee, 14 March 2008 - 02:47 PM.

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#7 Pen

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 03:26 PM

I've been working on strength and flexibility since November, and am hoping to start reaping the benefits this season.  I sometimes work with a personal trainer who helps me focus on exercises that help golf muscles...  Over the last year or so I developed tendinitis in my shoulder (most likely due to a swing with too much arm action and not enough turn), so I'm working on fixing that, too.

On the subject of swinging "aggressively"-- one of the issues I find, and one that I think is a problem for golfers of all skill levels at some point, is that it is harder to retain form if you go for "too much" in a swing.  I'm still trying to figure out that balance.  (I have an "athletic" but perhaps not an "aggressive" looking swing. When I try to turn it up a few notches, I get impatient and lose lag on the downswing.  *sigh*).

Thanks for the advice.

#8 Debit

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 08:12 PM

How far the driver goes is also a matter of what you're measuring. Unlike other clubs, I don't much care (except on one hole that I play semi-regularly) about carry. When folk (male or female) are comparing distances off the tee, they are generally bragging on where the stupid ball stopped vs dropped. With that intro, off the tee I anticipate the ball going about 220 yds, which is usually 30-40 yds beyond my women playing partners except when I'm playing with those with low hdcps. And Pen, I hate to rain on your parade or aspirations, but I have only seen one woman increase her distance. A low hdcper to begin with, she not only worked out in the off season but also was able to get rid of some hitch in her swing that had drained a tiny bit of power. Now her drives are much straighter and "maybe" 10 yds longer. My distances ... with any club ... haven't varied more than 5 yds in over 20 years of lessons, practice, 40+ rnds/yr, menopause, and attempts to quit smoking. As someone else suggested, the best outcome is to become more consistent and to have confidence in where the stupid thing will go and end up -- its called course management. Spend your time on the short game to really drop your scoring average.

#9 Breaker999

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 06:52 PM

I'm 5'4" and drive around 180 yrds total.  I play with younger and more physically fit guys and they outdrive me by 30-50 yards, when they hit it right.  Most times, they are about 20 yards ahead, or in the bushes way ahead.  My drives are almost always in the fairway.  I would like to gain 10-15 yards.  I've done some research and found three methods to increase distance.  

1. Flexiblity/Strength training.
  Watching golf on tv and players on the range, I noticed tall-and-skinny hits longer than medium height-muscular.  The former has better flexibility and strength where it matters.  Although we can't change our height, we can increase flexibility and strengthen particular areas of the body.  I'm working on losing some belly, stretching, and back exercises.  

2. Swing technique
  Small changes in our swing can add a few yards.  Stronger grip, increasing club lag, better footwork, setup changes, etc.  I focus on a good shoulder and a compact backswing.  I used to have a bigger backswing but that made the ball go shorter and all over the place.  

3. Equipment
  Tinkering with driver lofts and increasing shaft length can add a few yards.  I try different shaft brands and flexes.  For my driver I replaced the stock shaft because if felt too soft, and for my woods I kept the OEM shafts.  


I dont try to kill the ball when I'm on the tee.  Last week, I tried something different and swung more aggressively.  The drive was my best, but my back cracked in three different places.  I decided to forget distance improvement for now and focus on my second shots (my weakest point).  Or maybe I'll start playing from the red tees.

#10 kokogirl

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 08:27 PM

I am 5'2" and I hit my driver anywhere from 150 (really crappy) to 190 (really good).  These are real distances, not carry.  I think most of my drives are in between there in 170-180 range.  Today I played a lot of holes into the wind, so I did not check any driver distances.  No reason to bruise my already fragile ego!

I know if I got my swing speed up, I can hit farther. But when I try to swing faster, I cannot sync up my body and they all go left or right.  

I am concentrating on going to the gym and working on strength and flexibility.  I work out my lower body and abs twice a week and my upper body and back once/week.  The other days I practice golf.  (All snuck in between work and kids, etc).

I would love to gain some distance but I am probably better off learning to putt better.  200 yards drives would be really awesome, though.  Sigh...


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#11 imsocrabby

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 08:59 PM

i'll start off with .....  I am not your average golfing female ...........

but i am an assistant pro and work with tons of ladies....all shapes, sizes, strengths, weakness', etc....


i am 5'2", 35 years old, pretty athletic.  my average driver SS is 95'ish.  that correlates in perfect conditions to approx. 220 carry.  when i am really warmed up and have a good groove....i am up around 98-103 SS.  i can usually keep up with most of our male members from the same tee box.  on some holes with ideal conditions i can get it out there 260-270 with roll.




the problem most women face is not being able to tap their existing power.  unless a women is naturally athletic, they have no idea where the power comes from or how to find it.  you don't have to be a brickhouse (see: lorena ochoa ).....you just have to know how to access that stored energy.  women are taught proper posture but a good athletic golf stance starts with sticking your arse out.  that goes against everything a girl is taught.    women typically stand 'too narrow'.  they tend to pick the club up rather than pull it back.  i always encourage the ladies i work with to lengthen their take-away from the ball....and stop at 3/4 to the top ( i personally take it past parallel...something i would never teach....but i've done it for 1/2 my life...it's like an addiction ).  getting the girls to use their legs and hips for power is a struggle but once it comes....the rockets are flying.

#12 little brit

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 10:04 PM

I would love to hit it longer, but at least I am usually very accurate.  

5'1" and 50 years old.  Played golf 4 years.  I can drive the ball around 210 on a really good day, but I would say on average more like 180. inc roll.  

I am not naturally athletic at all, but have taken quite a few lessons etc.  This game is hard.  I guess that's why we love it. :)


Sorry I don't know my swing speed at the moment.  I don't find I hit well in the sims to get a good measurement anyway.  On good drive days I feel like I can really kill the ball. I just lose my swing sometimes and it takes a while to get it back.

Edited by little brit, 19 October 2008 - 10:09 PM.


#13 resist_hard.

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 04:25 AM

My mum is a regular golfer and she drives the ball about 180yds on average with roll. She does have the ability to hit it further but lacks the confidence to really let rip. Earlier this year we played in spain, one of the holes to find the fairway you had to carry about 220 of water.

When we walked upto the tee box there was 3 english guys there laughing that they had all put about 4 balls each in the drink. One of them said to our group " fancy giving us a hand guys? We are trying to fill this pond with golf balls". Much to my mums disgust they let us play through which meant she had to tee off infront of them.

I hit a 4i across because wasn't carrying a driver at that point. It literally just cleared and i really had to hammer it. My step dad hit his driver and my mum selected a driver too. I think all of us thought she was gonna drop it in the water but somehow she absolutely hammered it and cleared it by a good 10yds. Just goes to show she has the power just lacks confidence.

#14 Shaitan

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 05:38 AM

Hmm, most of the girls I've played with aren't average then. I used to work with a female pro (probably in her mid-forties) and she had a swing speed up above 90mph, can't quite remember, but she was generally around the 220m mark. She was probably 5'6", with an athletic build. I also work with another girl (my age, 17...plays off 7) who is 5'10", fit, and she is the longest girl I've played with. She was consistently about 230m (95mph swing I guess) or a bit more, just absolutely nails driver. I've also got a friend at school who is about 5'4" and very slight (off 8), and she gets it out there maybe 190-200m. So all hope is not lost Pen :), they've just all good good swings and are fairly aggressive through the ball.

#15 imsocrabby

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 07:04 AM

shaitan really hit the nail on the head...


being aggressive through the ball.  staying in position and really going after it.


#16 Aimee

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 07:41 AM

Back to the original question of "AVERAGE"...I've played with enough casual golfers to confirm that the "AVERAGE" woman golfer (weekend player, not on any college team) is not hitting the ball 200 yards. I played in a tournament with a woman who hit her driver 250 yards, but she was a professional tennis player and absolutely crushed the ball, that was probably 240 yards carry. And she was short and built like a brick you-know-what.
As a recent owner of a SkyCaddie, I have also found that yardages on the cards are often pretty far off, since tee boxes get moved around, etc. You figure out pretty fast what your "true" driving distance is with a GPS, since you can mark the start/end location of a shot. Our course was rock hard yesterday and I was coming up wedge away from the green on a couple of par 4's. Did I hit 250 yard drive? Not really, it just rolled there. I'm not delusional.
I think the trap a lot of women fall in to is thinking "oh, if I only could hit the driver 200+ yards, I'll have it made". If you are playing the white tees, you HAVE to be able to hit it that far. Me, I know I can comfortably hit 185, play the red or gold tees, and have fun.
It's not how...it's how many

#17 Yuck

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 10:10 AM

My wife hits the driver about 190-210 mostly carry.  She uses a mens "Sr" flex and has a swing speed between 76-80.   She is "about" 50 years old and hits it much further then most of the women she plays with.  She is a very smooth swinger.  She is about 5' 4" and not exceptionally strong or flexible, but very "rythmic".  My Youngest Daughter, who is not a golfer and is around 5'5" hits the ball in the 250 range and with roll / wind has hit many over 280.  Her swing speed in in the 105 107 range and she has only had the patience to complete 9 holes a few times in her life.  She was a gymnast / diver and does goes at it very hard with "very high hands"  She thinks golf is stupid, but did win the long drive at a "Drive / Pitch / Putt contest when she was 12 or thirteen against girls and boys.  I cannot imagine her ever having the patience to be a golfer but she does enjoy beating balls at a driving range once or twice a year.  Both my wife and daughter were relatively "long" from the time they started and cannot explain to anyone why. My wife shoots in the low / mid 80's, and I am sure if my daughter ever played 18 holes, she would not break 100 and would likely run out of golf balls.

#18 Aimee

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 10:22 AM

Yuck, it's kind of funny how you describe your daughter...the woman who bombed the ball didn't win the tournament in part because she's a terrible putter (in comparison to the ball striking). She's all about blasting the ball and has no patience on the green, just wants to get off and on to the next tee box. Sounds like the women in your family are blessed with natural ability!
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#19 jas904

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 08:44 PM

I caddied for a 13 year LPGA vetran last week at a charity event at my club.  She carried driver 205.  Highest iron in the bag was a six iron.  From driver she carried 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 woods.  Oh, by the way she missed two greens all day and shot 4 under.
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#20 Callaway Girl

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 01:00 PM

I am 5'2" inches tall and hit my driving distance average is 250 yards.  My driving accuracy (fairways hit per round) is 89.8%.  My swing coach told me that a perfect drive is calculated by launch/descent angles, swing speed, and ball contact on the face of the driver.  A general rule of thumb is for every 3mph of swing speed equals 1 yard in distance (that is a perfectly struck golf shot).  An example:  My swing speed is 90mph X 3 = 270 yards.  As you can see, I am losing 20 yards somewhere in my swing or contact impact.

I thought this was a interesting calculation that 1mph equaled 3 yards, since I have never heard that before.  While I attended the Navistar LPGA Classic, the Golf Channel announcer on hole 18 confirmed this calculation.  All of the LPGA players tee shots were being measured for swing speed and distance.

Edited by Callaway Girl, 06 January 2009 - 03:31 AM.


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#21 SpeedyPro

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 03:26 PM

View PostTenementrock, on Mar 14 2008, 01:06 PM, said:

I hope this does not come off as offensive or horribly misinformed...but I believe that women are capable of hitting it a lot farther than they do...IMO it's a matter of not swinging aggressively enough.

Maybe there's a perception that distance depends solely on size and brute force, or that swinging hard is not for women to do...but I look at the female figure, the lower center of gravity, the full hips and thighs and I think "Why not?"...I'm teaching my girlfriend how to swing, she's 5'3" 115 lbs but is built pretty solid around the hips and bottom, so hopefully someday she'll be pounding them out there well past 200.

I follow Hogan's advice to swing as hard as I can...while maintaining balance, of course. People routinely call me a smooth swinger...I don't usually say anything but internally, I'm like "Hmm, sure doesn't feel like that to me." So I say, as long as balanced is maintained throughout the swing, and your backswing doesn't get too long and out of control...take a big rip at it.


While watching last week's LPGA event, I noticed Morgan Pressel is suffering from short distances, which I never knew.
Comparing Morgan and Lorena, i would say Morgan has more solid lower body, but you know Lorena outdrives Morgan anyday.
My gf is quite big as a girl, 5'6" 155 lbs, and she is very stable in lower department: strong legs and thighs. But she only drives 150 yds. She does not have any muscles in arms and shoulders.

So I think "strong lower body" is not a necessary condition for long distance. I think most of women (no offense here) just don't know how to fully extract their potential power. :D

#22 Awsi Dooger

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 03:58 PM

View PostSOsburn, on Oct 21 2008, 02:00 PM, said:

A general rule of thumb is for every 3mph of swing speed equals 1 yard in distance (that is a perfectly struck golf shot).  An example:  My swing speed is 84mph X 3 = 252 yards.  As you can see, I am losing 12 yards somewhere in my swing or contact impact.

The ratio I've always heard is 1 mph = 2.4 to 2.5 yards. In fact, there are threads on this site and other major golf sites that use that relationship.

Many male pros swing 115+ consistently and they darn sure don't average 345.

For a pro the 2.4 to 2.5 might be low, since they hit it flush more consistently. But I've never heard 3 suggested as a norm for amateurs. I swing 100 or slightly higher and my good drives these days are 250ish so I fall within the guideline. I'm a guy in my late 40s. I used to reach 280 or beyond with persimmon in my 20s, but naturally losing strength and flexibility, the modern equipment which I despise, and too much of an outside-in path have robbed me of significant distance.

Anyway, this is an interesting thread, particularly the recent posts. My wife hits her driver about 150 on average, low trajectory but plenty of roll. She has a relatively short backswing with very little wrist break. Her swing thought is "explosion point." I don't know who told her that but she keeps it in mind and tries to be aggressive at the ball, as others have said. Her swing fault is picking the club up too quickly. When I see that I almost want to scream, "Stop!" Inevitably it produces a descending stab at the ball, and often a weak pop up. When she's low and smooth on the takeaway her wrists work better and she gets a nice click.

#23 Aimee

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 04:10 PM

SpeedyPro has an excellent point, since we've seen posts from people talking about women of all different sizes hitting all kinds of distances. You don't need muscles to create swing speed (as noted, Lorena Ochoa is no amazon). It's technique, that's all. Some people are blessed with great flexibility, eye-hand coordination, balance, etc. I get outdriven by a friend who doesn't lift anything heavier than a glass of tequila ;) .
Just as the "average" golfer struggles to break 100 (statistically, there's more hackers than pros), the average woman doesn't drive much more than 150 yards. We who frequent the golf boards tend to be a little more into the game and I think you tend to get people posting who are above average statistically. I play muni courses/public courses and I know what I see. Maybe those people who belong to private courses are statistically much better players (people serious about golf/spending big bucks to play when they want).
Whatever else, remember the saying: "drive for show, putt for dough". There's a reason the guys who compete in the Long Drive contests don't usually make it on the PGA tour.
It's not how...it's how many

#24 kokogirl

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 07:04 PM

View Postimsocrabby, on Oct 20 2008, 08:04 AM, said:

shaitan really hit the nail on the head...


being aggressive through the ball.  staying in position and really going after it.

What is a good thought to help me be aggressive through the swing without getting quick?  When I think aggressive or strong through my swing it also tends to get quick.

#25 birdiegirl11

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 12:13 AM

View Postkokogirl, on Oct 21 2008, 05:04 PM, said:

View Postimsocrabby, on Oct 20 2008, 08:04 AM, said:

shaitan really hit the nail on the head...


being aggressive through the ball.  staying in position and really going after it.

What is a good thought to help me be aggressive through the swing without getting quick?  When I think aggressive or strong through my swing it also tends to get quick.

I too find that thinking about being aggressive is detrimental especially with my longer clubs. My best distances come from good tempo and timing which equate to solid ball striking. My instructor has had to beat me up to understand that a faster swing is not the same as increased clubhead speed. In fact, she showed me that what I think of as aggression turns into a tight grip,  off-plane swing with a poor release, and not getting my lower body through at the right time. That means a reallllly bad shot -- usually on another fairway. :) As I plan my shot, the last thing I say to myself is "let the club do the work". More often that not, it's the thought that works best for me.

This has turned into an interesting thread, and I've sat here for an hour trying to come to terms with when I might advise someone to 'be aggressive'. But my concept of being aggressive comes from decades of playing baseball and softball and being a power hitter. The ways I have learned to be aggressive with my body don't fully apply to a golf swing. I can apply lots of lower body power with a stable base and working my hips... but I have to be relaxed from the waist up in order for the timing to be right. I was a pull hitter who had to work hard at going to the opposite field.  It's no coincidence that my instructor is having me hit golf balls as though I'm trying to take it to the right side.

So to most women, does being aggressive equate to hitting through the ball? What does being aggressive in your golf swing mean to you? Am I backwards???


#26 Callaway Girl

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 10:44 AM

Maybe 2.3 or 2.4 would be more realistic for the average amateur golfer. Obviously, there are many facets to the golf swing. My swing is not perfect and I am trying to get the most out of the big stick. I do carry a 1.3 USGA handicap, but am not a +4 like the majority of the LPGA players. Hopefully, I will continue to improve my driving distance, but I will never see 280 + yards off the tee box. If you look at the LPGA stats, the women professionals that are 5'2" - 5'3" drive the ball between 220 - 255 yards.

In regards to you question about being aggressive when hitting through the ball. My goal is to always swing within yourself in a relaxed manner. Most people that I play with try to swing out of their shoes when hitting the driver. My average tempo when hitting all of my clubs is around 70%. When I want additional power, let's say swinging at 80%, I focus on a relaxed grip, stable lower body, a full shoulder turn, and swinging through the ball, while staying in balance. The shoulder turn is the key for me. If I make a bigger shoulder turn it equals more distance for me.

Hope this helps.

Edited by Callaway Girl, 06 January 2009 - 03:33 AM.


#27 Aimee

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 03:57 PM

I'm thinking that "aggressive" might not be the perfect word because it's interpreted as swinging "hard"...it's more like swinging all the way thru the swing; not letting up. I see a lot of people who kind of stop swinging once they are aware that they've made contact with the ball. Swinging down the line, finishing high. If you stop thinking about the swing being "done" as soon as the ball moves off the club, you won't lose club head speed. The pro that my husband and I take lessons from is very big into getting the tension out of the arms/shoulders, since tense muscles don't allow you to get that "snap" onto your swing that comes with loose arms. Think about playing "crack the whip" as a kid.
It's not how...it's how many

#28 imsocrabby

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 06:31 PM

a lot of the ladies that i teach (mostly beginners) swing their arms....not the club.  


to me....the club is an extension of your arms.  i like to feel the grip in my hands...and the club head at the end of the shaft.  when i take the club back along the line....i am feeling the grip.  my hands are relaxed....and my forearms are more relaxed.  i try to keep that feel throughout the swing.  my tempo feels like slo-motion to me....but on video it is anything but.  i know that if it doesn't feel like slo-mo....i am too quick and too tense.  when i get to the top (or what i feel is the top)....the grip is all i feel.  by focusing on the grip.....i know that the club head follows.  the more relaxed i am.....the more aggressive i can be through the ball.  


to me an important key is to remain focused on feeling that grip and staying down through the ball.  two players who i think exaggerate staying low but help me with the visual are Paula Creamer and Natalie Gulbis.  I don't advocate those shoulder dips......but the visual image of their swing helps me when I'm hitting it thin... :wacko:




lorena ochoa's swing is amazing.  i wish i had those long arms.  i've seen it in person a few times...the arc she makes is impressive.

#29 kokogirl

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 09:17 PM

Thanks for the replies to my question.  I have found that when I think aggressive I think hard which equates to stiff and quick.  I will continue my quest by working on tempo and weight shift and try to not worry about hitting it farther for now.

My husband tells me to let the club do the work.  I have not worked with my pro too much with my driver.  I will have him watch my driver swing when my husband and I take a lesson again.

#30 imsocrabby

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 09:25 PM

don't laugh...

when i am working on tempo...i sing in my head....



let it flow....let yourself go....slow and low...that is the tempo....


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