The Quest For Distance
In my last post, I wrote about my EIDOLON partner, Ralph Thompson, so he’s going to stick around as my subject today, too.

Ralph and I have played lots of golf together over the past 15 years, and he's always trying to hit the ball further, as most of us do. So he tinkers with equipment and his swing, in that search for more.

We should all realize that hitting the ball far is the result of many things, and we all have our differences.  I’m pretty long for a 5’7” 56-year-old guy, because I was blessed with good instruction as a kid, and God gave me broad shoulders and good strength. I also work at it . . . a lot.

But the real key to my distance is that I hit the ball very solidly most of the time, and my fundamentals are sound – good timing of all the body parts.

What I see in most amateurs who don’t hit it as far as they should is that they try to hit harder and harder with their arms and hands, and they totally lose the power from their body core. What I work on with Ralph, and many other players, is to get the upper legs, back and shoulders fully “loaded” in the backswing, and then turning them ahead of the arms, hands and club as you come through impact.

Here’s an example:

How many times have you tried to hit an “easy” iron into a green and just "nuked" it ?

Happens more often than not, right ?

The reason for that is because you knew you didn’t need to hit it “full”, you slowed down your arm swing, which then allowed your body core to stay ahead. What you got was a shot hit with much less effort, but one that went as far as your “hard ones”.

And, probably more often than not, you got much more solid impact and better trajectory because you allowed everything to happen in sequence.

In contrast, how many times have you tried to “get on it” a little (or a lot) and end up short of the green, either because you mishit the shot or ballooned the trajectory ?

Both of those are the result of getting your arms and hands overly involved, and letting your body core lose all its power.

So, as an experiment . . . and a challenge to you . . . . go play a few holes at your course with the goal of swinging at what feels like 80% ... no more.

Watch what happens to your driving distance and accuracy, and your iron play.

I’ll bet your 80% swing produces almost the same, if not more, distance than you get from your “full swing”.

And that will blow your mind.
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[ comments ]
Tim Horan says:
Spot on with this one Terry!
I must be a slow learner... I have been playing on and off for 40 years and at 54 years old I am still trying to knock the skin off the flat out on every shot! The last couple of weeks I have developed a duck-hook with almost all my drives with the odd sail-away slice and then pounding my fairways and irons to make up the distance lost from the tee. On Saturday I very nearly dumped the lot in the lake on 18. It was dire. I got up Sunday 04:30 and was on the tee at 05:00hrs (mad or what). Whereas most rounds I will hit driver 11 holes out of 18, I took only 3 (Twice it lost me shots). I was taking a 13 degree 2 wood @ 80% and still nutting it 290-295yds (straight) why would I need a driver? and why would I need to exert all that energy? on a normal day I only hit my driver 300 yds. It was the same with the irons also. Saturday, I doubt if I broke 90. Sunday I shot 76. At 80% if you can remain focused and not get sloppy it has to be the best recipe for consistent low scoring. I think we all need to be reminded from time to time what the basics are. We all get wound-up, we watch others hitting hard and our competitive nature destroys some of the fundamentals in our swing. I find getting away early when there is no other idiots around often restores my belief in my swing. What does it matter if you make a bad shot at that time of the morning with nobody around...drop another ball, make the right shot and take that "great" feeling to the next shot. Then take that great feeling to the next round.
Kickntrue says:
In my head, I KNOW this to be true. On the course I KNOW this to be true, so why can't I follow it?
wedgeguy says:
Because you are enamored with the 300 yard drive, which you get one out of 20 swings at best. Your youthful testosterone is out of control. I've seen your game, boy, and you need to learn to throttle back. A 180 yard 8-iron from a bunker????? Come on!!!!!

Just kidding you, you know.
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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