Stickney: The only 2 ways to hit a golf ball farther
If I had a dollar for every time someone walked into my Academy (myself included!) and asked how to hit it farther I’d own a bank by now. Golf course agronomy has evolved and the rock-hard fairways of yesterday are gone and have been replaced by soft conditions that require more and more carry off the tee. Sadly, the USGA has continued to allow the professional game to influence the game we, as amateurs, play and thus we see drivers that are limited as it pertains to the “trampoline effect.” I do wish we had hotter drivers that would allow the masses to hit drives like the professionals but sadly this will never happen.
Take a second to compare the average distance the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour versus your own handicap level and I’ll bet you’ll be surprised at where you fit in…
For a PGA Tour Player the average is 113 MPH, a Smash of 1.48, and a Carry Distance of 275
For the LPGA Tour Player the average is 94 MPH, a Smash of 1.48, and a Carry Distance of 218
The average 18 Handicap Male has a clubhead speed of 92 MPH, a Smash of 1.38, and a Carry of 214
The average 18 Handicap Female has a clubhead speed of 70 MPH, a Smash of 1.32, and a Carry of 147
(NOTE: These averages for the average Male and Female Amateur are from a sampling of thousands of shots hit using Trackman over the years, but are not 100% exact obviously)
Ok, now that we know what the data says for the most part, let’s dive into the ONLY TWO ways to hit it farther…
- You must accelerate from the top to the ball faster than normal
- You must keep the club in the air longer than normal
Sounds easy, right? Nothing too crazy there but let’s look at the two swings above. The one on the left is Tony Finau and the one on the right is Dustin Johnson and if you think about it, Tony has a very rapid acceleration from the top into the ball and DJ has a longer swing with more length overall.
In fact, when we reach impact, we’ll see almost identical clubhead speeds of 121.3 vs. 121.8 MPH, but Tony gets there quicker than DJ by a few milliseconds and has a higher peak speed of the club measured from the top to the ball. 2543ms for Finau vs. 2396ms for Dustin.
Obviously, these numbers don’t mean much to you and I- they are only there to illustrate a point of either swinging the club back longer or moving it down faster (in the correct sequence) to hit the ball longer. So how can we maximize these for your particular swing?
If you are a Tony Finau-type of swinger then I would suggest taking and alignment stick and swinging it like normal…you will hear a “swish” at the bottom of your swing. The louder this noise the better! Your goal is to try and make is swish “through” the ball. The better you can do this the faster you are moving and when you put a club back into your hands you can strive for the same feeling.
If you are a Dustin Johnson-type of swinger then I would spend time in the gym working on my flexibility- specifically figuring out how to gain more shoulder turn in a way that does not allow the arms to break down at the top. Coupling a huge shoulder turn with arms that are for the most part “straight” will give you more leverage and keep the club in the air longer. These two things together help you to have time to generate more clubhead speed.
In fact, here is one of the best ways to accomplish this action coming from TPI- the leader in golf fitness and health: Split Stance Lunge Turns | Drills & Exercises | TPI (mytpi.com)
Work on this and enjoy your longer walks to your ball in the fairway moving forward!
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Clement: “Infallible” release drill to add 30 yards to your drives
Yes, you heard it here: INFALLIBLE! This drill will end all drills as “the” go to drill when your golf swing is hangin’ on or being too forceful! None of my students in the last month either online or in person, French or English, male or female, have messed this up. Pure Wisdom! And we share it with you here.
Kelley: How a change in awareness can influence your body turn
A simple change of awareness can help you understand how the body can naturally turn in the swing. An important concept to understand: the direction the body moves is the engine to the swing. Research also shows the direction the body turns can be just as important as the amount of turn.
Golf is hard because the ball is on the ground, yet we are trying to hit it forward towards a target. With our head looking down at the ball, it’s easy to place our attention (what we are mindful of) on the ground, losing awareness to where we are going. This can make the body move in all sorts of directions, making hitting the ball towards a target difficult.
But imagine if we looked out over our lead shoulder with our attention to the target and made a backswing. Being mindful of the body, the body would naturally turn in a direction and amount that would be geared to move towards the target in the swing. (Imagine the position of your body and arm when throwing a ball). After proper set-up angles, this will give the look of coiling around the original spine angle established at Address.
With this simple awareness change, common unwanted tendencies naturally self-organize out of the backswing. Tendencies like swaying and tilting (picture below) would not conceptually make sense when moving the body in the direction we want to hit the ball.
A great concept or drill to get this feel besides looking over your shoulder is to grab a range basket and set into your posture with Hitting Angles. Keeping the basket level in front of you, swing the basket around you as if throwing it forward towards the target.
When doing the drill, be aware of not only the direction the body turns, but the amount. The drill will first help you understand the concept. Next make some practice swings. When swinging, look over your lead shoulder and slowly replicate how the basket drill made your body move.
The Wedge Guy: What really needs fixing in your game?
I always find it interesting to watch how golfers interact with the practice range, if they do so at all. I certainly can figure out how to understand that some golfers just do not really want to get better — at least not enough to spend time on the practice range trying to improve.
What is most puzzling to me is how many golfers completely ignore the rationale for going to the range to at least warm up before they head to the first tee. Why anyone would set aside 4-6 hours of their day for a round of golf, and then not even give themselves a chance to do their best is beyond me. But today, I’m writing for those of you who really do want to improve your golf scores and your enjoyment of the game.
I’ve seen tons of research for my entire 40 years in this industry that consistently shows the number one goal of all golfers, of any skill level, from 100-shooter to tour professional, is simply to hit better golf shots more often. And while our definition of “better” is certainly different based on our respective skill level, the game is just more fun when your best shots happen more often and your worst shots are always getting better.
Today’s article is triggered by what we saw happen at the Valspar tour event this past Sunday. While Taylor Moore certainly had some big moments in a great final round, both Jordan Spieth and Adam Schenk threw away their chances to win with big misses down the stretch, both of them with driver. Spieth’s wayward drive into the water on the 16th and Schenk’s big miss left on the 18th spelled doom for both of them.
It amazes me how the best players on the planet routinely hit the most God-awful shots with such regularity, given the amazing talents they all have. But those guys are not what I’m talking about this week. In keeping with the path of the past few posts, I’m encouraging each and every one of you to think about your most recent rounds (if you are playing already this year), or recall the rounds you finished the season with last year. What you are looking for are you own “big misses” that kept you from scoring better.
Was it a few wayward drives that put you in trouble or even out of bounds? Or maybe loose approach shots that made birdie impossible and par super challenging? Might your issue have been some missed short putts or bad long putts that led to a three-putt? Most likely for any of you, you can recall a number of times where you just did not give yourself a good chance to save par or bogey from what was a not-too-difficult greenside recovery.
The point is, in order to get consistently better, you need to make an honest assessment of where you are losing strokes and then commit to improving that part of your game. If it isn’t your driving that causes problems, contain that part of practice or pre-round warm-ups to just a half dozen swings or so, for the fun of “the big stick”. If your challenges seem to be centered around greenside recoveries, spend a lot more time practicing both your technique and imagination – seeing the shot in your mind and then trying to execute the exact distance and trajectory of the shot required. Time on the putting green will almost always pay off on the course.
But, if you are genuinely interested in improving your overall ball-striking consistency, you would be well-served to examine your fundamentals, starting with the grip and posture/setup. It is near impossible to build a repeating golf swing if those two fundamentals are not just right. And if those two things are fundamentally sound, the creation of a repeating golf swing is much easier.
More from the Wedge Guy
- The Wedge Guy: It’s not all about distance
- The Wedge Guy: Are you really willing to get better at golf?
- The Wedge Guy: Anatomy of a wedge head
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Feb 28, 2022 at 11:52 am
The only two ways to hit farther? Improving strike (smash factor) , and optimising impact conditions (spin and launch) can make a big difference too.
Feb 22, 2022 at 6:27 am
I don’t want to hit my golf ball FATHER ?
Feb 21, 2022 at 11:04 pm
TOM change the title to farther not father
Lol you are welcome