After focusing on contact and directional control last week I wanted to spend this article focusing on maximizing your current speed to create better distance off the tee. If contact is good and we are controlling the direction, the next most important thing is hitting it as far as possible. The saying “drive for show, putt for dough” has been so radically disproven. It’s a catchy saying, but if you really want to shoot lower scores; hit it as far and as straight as possible, it makes everything else easier. PGA Tour professionals, from the fairway, average 83% GIR from 100 yards, 76.1% from 150. and 53.7% from 200 yards (credit @LouStagner on twitter). To take that further, its 83% with a sand wedge, 76.1% with a pw-8i, and 53.7% with a 4-6iron. If you’re beating those GIR percentages with your current clubs then you are doing an awesome job.
A great exercise is to chart the clubs you have into every green during a round and mark whether you hit the green. If you’re not getting many attempts with 7iron or less, then looking to maximize your distance off the tee should be an emphasis.
In looking at distance we have a few major components: Club speed, ball speed, launch angle and spin rate. Club speed takes work to improve and I will talk about it at another time. In an effort to maximize distance with your current speed the focus needs to be on angle of attach and delivery.
If you can maintain good contact and directional control with a better AoA you are on the right track for getting every last yard out of your swing. As always, if you have any questions please feel free to email or call anytime. I hope you have found this helpful. Next week I will move on to some short game assessments so that you can start to utilize all that new found distance and control in your full swing game.
What this table shows is that depending on our clubhead speed, there is a maximum distance we can produce based on our angle of attack. The more the clubhead is traveling down as it comes into impact, the more limited we are in the launch that can be produced and the more spin that is needed to keep the ball in the air. The difference of 10 degrees of angle of attach from someone swinging at 95 MPH can be as much as 30 yards under normal conditions.
Angle of attack is very hard to measure without a device like Trackman, but I do have one test that can help give you some insight. If you take a headcover like I have in the picture and place it about a foot in front of your ball(a leather headcover that lays fairly flat is ideal) and take a swing you will get a lot of feedback. If you smash into the headcover the angle of attack was most likely down. If you can hit the ball solidly while avoiding the headcover the AoA was with level or up, which are both good. The one caution is if you avoid the headcover but the ball goes extremely high, then there is an issue with how you are delivering the club at impact and you are creating the upward AoA with a flip or early release. I have demonstrated what a good positive AoA would look like, as well as a poor one.
Below is a practical example from a recent lesson on the gains that can be created quickly from better club delivery. If you can maintain good contact and directional control with a better AoA you are on the right track for getting every last yard out of your swing. As always, if you have any questions please feel free to email or call anytime. I hope you have found this helpful. Next week I will move on to some short game assessments so that you can start to utilize all that new found distance and control in your full swing game