You know the line… 1986’s hit movie “Top Gun”…
Maverick to Goose:” I feel a need… a need… for speed!”
Forgive the corny movie reference, but that line has a place in golf instruction today, specifically when it comes to students who want to hit the ball longer. Distance is an admitted obsession in the game – all you have to do is watch a golf telecast and practically every commercial is advertising how many more yards they can get you through the latest driver or golf ball.
But when the subject of distance comes up in a lesson it is much harder for your local PGA Professional to get you that yardage that the golf companies are advertising. Why, you ask? Not because the instructor is not good at what they do, but because distance is one of those things in the game that has limits. There is no magic pill, no golf club (sorry), that will make you 50 yards longer. So what CAN you do?
Increase your speed! The golf ball is influenced by how fast you swing + where the club is coming from + where you hit it on the face… So if you are swinging great, you are maxing out at YOUR speed, and you are flushing it right out of the middle of the club face every time, how come you are only hitting it 240 yards? Speed. In this case the student is maxing out their potential, and the next steps would be pretty simple.
First, if you are truly hitting it well and can do it consistently, it is time to get into the hands of a really good club fitter and see if you are fully tapping into technology to get every inch of yardage you can. Sometimes technology, while not giving you that 50 yards advertised on the commercial, can get you 15-25 yards on a driver which means 2 clubs less into a green and the potential to hit it closer.
Once this is done, it’s time to consider your physical fitness, specifically core strength and flexibility. These 2 areas have become key words in golf fitness over the last 10 years, and experts like the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) have made quite a living showing teachers and students how to get stronger and fitter in these areas. By increasing your strength and flexibility, you give yourself a chance to hit the ball longer with that good swing of yours.
So it is a process to hit the ball longer, not just a quick fix. Your local PGA Professional can certainly help you pick up yardage in your swing immediately with some easy fixes to bad habits, but once you get consistent and want to take that next step, it’s time to become a “Top Gun” and get faster!