Sure-fire Way to Longer Drives
The driver industry does not want me to write this. They’ve rammed this power story down our throats for years and how many of you are really hitting it that much further than you used to? Be honest, have the last 2-3 drivers you’ve purchased really added the 10-15 extra yards they promised? If so, then you should be hitting it 30-50 yards further than you did in the 90s? Is that happening?

I did an interesting little experiment the other day. I pulled an old Reid Lockhart persimmon driver out of the closet. This was not some “grandpa” club, but one we made in the 1995-97 era. It had the most sophisticated filament-wound graphite shaft available at the time, and a really cool insert of woven graphite – light but extremely hard. A guy who makes motorcycle fairings made them for us. All in all, these were hot weapons in their day.

So, the question was – how much longer are the modern drivers?

With my custom Alpha driver (I’ve tested it against all the new stuff for several years and have found nothing longer), I hit a half dozen drives down our Number 1 fairway until I had just pounded, as solid as I can. Then I pulled out the old RL persimmon . . . darn it looked small. The first one was a little thin and I didn’t get much out of it, but then I got in a groove and hit a couple of really solid ones. So then I drove down to see what I got.

What I found was that the two best drives with my Alpha were about 10-12 yards longer than my two best with the RL persimmon. That’s all. Hmmmm. And back at the shop I discovered that the old RL persimmon was almost two full ounces heavier than the newer Alpha. Hmmmm, again. That alone was probably the difference.

Granted, the persimmon is not near as forgiving, but what the test showed is that if you want to be longer, you have to hit the ball solid. And if you do, it doesn’t make a lot of difference what driver you are hitting, in my humble opinion.

So, how are today’s tour professionals hitting it so dang long? Because they are finely tuned athletes, that’s how. They work out like demons, they hit balls til their hands bleed, and they have all the tools of modern science to help them make solid contact. Especially great instruction. These guys are all completely, fundamentally sound.

And that’s why you are not hitting it longer . . . you are not completely, fundamentally sound. So, if you really want longer drives this year, engage your golf professional. Invest that $3-400 that you would have spent on a driver into a series of lessons to learn how to put the club into a more efficient power position at the top, engage your body core and make a more correct release through impact. That’s the way to a more powerful swing that will produce more distance.

I am going to be 60 on Sunday. I’m 5’7, weigh 165 lbs, and have not worked out like I should lately, but I can still get it out there pretty good, because I learned sound fundamentals as a kid, and have worked on them my whole life. It’s not about how hard you swing, but how you swing hard. (I just made that up, actually, but I like it.) The only thing that matters is how fast the clubhead is moving at the moment of impact. And that comes from a fundamentally sound swing.

Want more on this subject, or are you all mad at me now?
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[ comments ]
johnnydb711 says:
I am so relieved to hear someone in the golf profession confirm what I have always believed and argued. I quit spending money on upgrading clubs years ago and have invested the money in regular golf lessons from my local PGA pro. I have a better understanding of the fundamentals and the "feel" of my swing. I'm not quite tempted to dust off my old Niklaus Macgregor Muirfield 20th persimmon driver but I am perfectly happy to stick with my "flintstone" Taylormade R5 Dual.

Thankyou Wedge Guy!
DigbyGuy says:
Interesting comparison and one which does not surprise me. I am 79, and at the risk of sounding like a braggart, I consistently outdrive younger men with whom I play. I caddied as a kid and have been associated with this wonderful game since and done a lot of observing of golf techniques. Thanks for your article.
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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