Want more distance off the tee? Work on swing technique and tempo
“Drive for show, putt for dough,” “never up, never in,” “when it’s breezy, swing easy.”
I hate golf clichés.
I especially hate it when golf instructors like me use them. Of course, you want to “keep it in the short grass.”
I vowed to never use them, but the other day I had to break my own rule and use a golf cliché to help myself. I was out in Las Vegas giving a golf clinic at Silverstone Golf Club with fellow Cobra Golf staffer and Pinnacle Long Drive Team member Mike “Lava” Moulton. We cut out early to play a few holes. After watching him belt a 330 yard drive down the fairway with a 3-wood, I stood on the tee actually wanting to out-drive the guy. It didn’t matter that at 6′5″ and 230 lbs, he is 9 inches taller and 100 lbs heavier than me and his longest drive in competition to date is 475-yards; I was actually thinking I could out-drive him!
So I did my best Laura Davies impersonation and swung my driver as fast and as hard as I could actually coming out of my shoes at impact. I looked like a 20-handicapper playing in a pro-am with Tiger Woods - ridiculous. The result was nothing like my customary 240-yard drive with a slight draw that I usually play. That is because my ego kicked in and like most golfers, I don’t like to lose and I don’t like it when people out drive me, even men. I was trying to be someone I was not and it wasn’t working for my game. After a few skew drives, I had to tell myself “play your own game.”
My game is one of keeping the ball in play by hitting average length straight drives and getting up and down when I miss greens. It is not a game of power. Standing on the tee waiting to hit, watching a “long driver” hit the ball, makes you want to swing a little harder than normal. You can’t help it, watching someone “grip it and rip it” makes you want to “let the big dog eat” too. It is fine if you swing faster and hit the sweet spot of clubface, but usually a faster swing results in a bigger mis-hit. For every quarter inch you hit the ball outside the sweet spot of the clubface you lose 10 yards of distance. Even with the bigger face drivers, you end up loosing up to 30 yards if you hit the ball off the toe or heel of the clubface.
So finally after 3 holes, I stopped trying to increase my clubhead speed by 50 mph and swung the club with my normal tempo. I “caught one on the screws” and Mike yelled out, “you got a hold of that one!”
So for maximum power, improve you swing technique to consistently hit the ball in the center of the clubface. Find a tempo that allows you to consistently make square contact with the ball and groove that swing. Once your swing technique improves, then you can work on speed and strength to increase the length of your shots. In the meantime, “swing within yourself” and you will end up “crushing it.”
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