Hitting It Longer
So, the consensus is that almost all of you would like to hit it longer than you do now, so I'm going to address that today. Of course, that length has to come with accuracy, so the answer is not simply to "swing harder".

There are two main determinants to hitting it longer –- increase clubhead speed or improve the quality of impact. In my observation, the latter is where the opportunity lies for most golfers.

Even with these large drivers and "forgiving" irons of today, there is but one small specific spot on the clubface that delivers the optimum transfer of energy. A miss by as little as ¼ of an inch can cost you 5-8% of your "earned" distance that would result from a given clubhead speed. Increase that miss by another ¼" and that loss increases dramatically again. Misses by ¾" from the exact sweet spot will result in a distance loss of up to 15%.

Those are numbers that can be improved for every golfer – you just have to focus on solid contact, rather than "hitting it hard". And that starts by shortening your driver.

In an article this week in follow-up to Jimmy Walker's first tour victory, he noted that he had worked with his equipment sponsor to improve his driving accuracy, and cut his driver down to 44-1/4 inches. That's almost two inches shorter than the industry "standard" for new drivers. So, if a tour champion quality golfer cannot handle that length, what chances to we recreational players have?

I have encouraged you before, and will again – grip down on your driver at least TWO FULL INCHES and swing away. You will see your accuracy improve dramatically, and your distance improve as well. I promise.

The other area where almost all golfers can improve is in the quality of their strike. Most mid- to high-handicap players are coming into the ball too steeply and from outside the ideal swing path. I'm not going to tell you what muscles to move how, but simply this: Picture the clubhead moving as level to the ground as possible through the impact zone. You want the club to make as direct a hit to the back of the ball as possible.

In addition, the clubhead HAS to approach the ball from slightly inside the target line, then come back inside the target line. In other words, it has to follow the circular arc of the swing. You can achieve that by swinging more around your body, rather than up and down. Take a look at this excellent video of my favorite golfer of all time for an idea of how that should look: So, the consensus is that almost all of you would like to hit it longer than you do now, so I'm going to address that today. Of course, that length has to come with accuracy, so the answer is not simply to "swing harder".

There are two main determinants to hitting it longer – Increase clubhead speed or improve the quality of impact. In my observation, the latter is where the opportunity lies for most golfers.

Even with these large drivers and "forgiving" irons of today, there is but one small specific spot on the clubface that delivers the optimum transfer of energy. A miss by as little as ¼ of an inch can cost you 5-8% of your "earned" distance that would result from a given clubhead speed. Increase that miss by another ¼" and that loss increases dramatically again. Misses by ¾" from the exact sweet spot will result in a distance loss of up to 15%.

Those are numbers that can be improved for every golfer – you just have to focus on solid contact, rather than "hitting it hard". And that starts by shortening your driver.

In an article this week in follow-up to Jimmy Walker's first tour victory, he noted that he had worked with his equipment sponsor to improve his driving accuracy, and cut his driver down to 44-1/4 inches. That's almost two inches shorter than the industry "standard" for new drivers. So, if a tour champion quality golfer cannot handle that length, what chances to we recreational players have?

I have encouraged you before, and will again – grip down on your driver at least TWO FULL INCHES and swing away. You will see your accuracy improve dramatically, and your distance improve as well. I promise.

The other area where almost all golfers can improve is in the quality of their strike. Most mid- to high-handicap players are coming into the ball too steeply and from outside the ideal swing path. I'm not going to tell you what muscles to move how, but simply this: Picture the clubhead moving as level to the ground as possible through the impact zone. You want the club to make as direct a hit to the back of the ball as possible.

In addition, the clubhead HAS to approach the ball from slightly inside the target line, then come back inside the target line. In other words, it has to follow the circular arc of the swing. You can achieve that by swinging more around your body, rather than up and down. Take a look at any video of Ben Hogan on YouTube from behind the target line for an idea of how that should look.

So, work on those two things and see if you don't begin to pick up those yards.
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.


[ comments ]
bkuehn1952 says:
It would be interesting to me to know what sort of golf shaft length was used by some of the ladies on the LPGA. Not the big hitters but the more modest length drivers like Paula Creamer et al. Frankly, my game is a lot closer to the LPGA than the PGA as far as swing speed, carry distance, etc... If the ladies are carrying drivers with less than a 46 inch golf shaft, I need to change too.
10/18/13
 
slimpks1850 says:
I had a weird feeling of deja vu reading this article. It's almost like I've read part of it not too long ago.
10/18/13
 
GBogey says:
So I have to have a better swing to hit the ball further? I thought all I had to do was buy the latest Taylormade offering.

Seriously, as I learn more about this game, my belief is even stronger that the big problem in new clubs club length, not lofts.
10/18/13
 
jpjeffery says:
"...Take a look at this excellent video of my favorite golfer of all time..."

Is it Hogan? I bet it's Hogan...

Can't tell though, there's no link. :(

:)
10/19/13
 
jpjeffery says:
@slimpks1850 That was kind of obscure, but when I read the 'full' article I got that sense of deja vue too! 's funny.
10/19/13
 
jpjeffery says:
OK, enough jollity. I like the advice here, thank you, Terry.
10/19/13
 
dtak84 says:
I believe when Jimmy Walker won with his shorter driver, he was STILL ranked near the bottom of driving accuracy or efficiency or whatever. If he can't accurately hit a 44 1/4" driver, does that mean us amateurs should have it even shorter?

I know a shorter driver is easier to control, but a slower swing speed also yields less extreme misses. A one degree error at impact with a 110mph swing speed will be a much bigger miss than a one degree error at 90 mph swing speed...

Not sure what point I was trying to get across.
10/19/13
 
Beekeeper45 says:
Already cut my Driver to 43", 3 wood to 42" and I did loose some distance but its nice playing from the short grass.....now if I could figure the putter out...
10/20/13
 
slimpks1850 says:
The article repeats itself. repeats itself.
10/21/13
 
larrynjr says:
I was really surprised in the latest GD that Lexi Thompson is hitting a 7.5 degree driver. I was under the impression that you need a very high swing speed for those lower lofts. Many profession men rarely go lower than 9 degree. Perhaps her clubface is heading way up at impact and needs the lower loft to keep from ballooning? I was custom fitted for my driver last year 44" but even with my 100mph(ish) swing speed, went with a 13 degree drive due to my steep impact position.
10/21/13
 
snuffyword says:
Lately, my 15* Tour Edge CB1 goes just as far as my driver, also a Tour Edge. The advantage is that I'm usually in the fairway and my misses are quite playable. I need to find a way to shake this driver ego.
10/24/13
 
[ post comment ]
Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

Click here to learn more about Terry.
Click here to for Terry's blogroll.
 
    Golf Talk
Most Popular:

Subscribe