Since the advent of launch monitors we have become super cognizant of how far we hit our driver- much more so than ever before.
This in part, I believe, comes from the improved agronomy and overall course conditions that we have grown accustomed to over the last ten to fifteen years. It seems that now most golf courses have fairways that are soft and plush…looks great, but makes the game harder since the ball does not roll out.
Back when courses were harder and watering was less important they ran firm and fast- think of the British Open as dust and dirt flies up after the pros hit from the fairway! These conditions help the average golfer to gain a touch more distance as the conditions actually allow the driver to roll out after landing.
With course conditions today, if we don’t optimize our ball’s flight, spin rate, impact point, and landing angle you just cannot get any substantial distance on the ground.
I know in past articles I have discussed fundamental things you must correlate so that you can hit the ball longer but I thought that I’d give you a few simple keys that I use daily to help people hit the ball longer…
Get a can of Dr. Sholl’s Odor X and see where you hit the ball on the face! Your goal is to hit the ball in the high center of the clubface, just above the center-line of the grooves and the ball will go farther. Hitting the ball low on the face and/or off the heel will drastically reduce your distance production.
According to James Leitz’s study on impact points you will see a 8 to 9 mph decrease in ball speed when you hit the ball low on the toe or heel and about 2-4 mph anywhere else other than the center.
Sometimes just changing the tee’s height from lower to higher or higher to lower can help you hit the ball further by improving your angle of attack. Sure there is much more to altering your AoA than changing your tee height but this can help. The golfers I see tend to tee the ball down low in efforts not to “pop” the ball up and this causes more downward motions with the driver than I’d like to see.
Most people tend to hit DOWN on the driver, not up, and that will hurt the average golfer more than anyone else. In fact with a clubhead speed of 100, just by changing your angle of attack from -5 to 5 you can improve your total distance from 255 to 281 according to studies done by TrackMan.
Draw vs Fade Swing
Here is an interesting thing to experiment with on the range- the curvature of your golf ball. I am a perfect example of someone that hits the ball further one way versus the other.
My fade swing is the one I use 90% of the time off the tee because I know where it is going to land most of the time, however, when I move the ball the other way it goes much further. For whatever reason I tend to make a more aggressive move with the draw increasing my clubhead speed and overall distance. You too might notice this in your game?
It seems that most players tend to hit the ball longer with it moving one direction vs the other. Remember I did NOT say that draws go further than fades because it all depends on the player because I’ve seen people hit it longer both ways.
The last thing is to try a different golf ball… there are plenty of balls that are better for distance while others are better for control. Find the one that works best for you.
I would suggest doing a ball fitting with your local professional. I’d bet they can find you a ball that might work better for your needs. If you have access to a TrackMan you can also see this in action on the golf course by taking the unit with you and hitting other golf balls than the one you currently play.