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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 ]
johnnydb711 says:
I recently started "gripping down" on my driver, a wee bit on my irons too, trying to focus on swinging shorter and "around" my core. The results have been spectacular for me with much more satisfying contact, more predictable ball flight/accuracy and distance.
10/21/13
 
parman68166 says:
I have recently experimented with "gripping down" on my driver (my problem club) and have been pleasantly surprised at the results, so much so that I am going to get the driver shaft cut down about an inch. Thank you for all you do for us "strugglers." Love your articles. Thank you again!
10/23/13
 
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

Click here to learn more about Terry.
 
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