Before each lesson, I ask my students what they want from their golf lesson. There are two common answers — they want more consistency and they want to hit the ball further.
More consistency is a tricky one, but getting golfers to hit the ball further is much easier. So here are my top two tips for gaining more yards and hitting the ball past your buddies.
Increase your ball speed
The quicker the ball leaves the club-face the further it will go (everything else being equal). The major contributing factor to ball speed is club-head speed. Players who swing the club-head quickly tend to hit the ball further. To give you some idea how club-head speed translates in extra yardage, an increase of 1mph club-head speed equals an increase of three yards with a driver and two yards with an iron. Long-drive world champion Joe Miller recently recorded a drive of 437 yards with a club-head speed of 148 mph. The average club-head speed for a male golfer with an 18 handicap is 90mph, and around 80mph for a female 18 handicap golfer.
There’s no point swinging at 90mph though if you miss the ball! This is where the quality of your strike comes in.
To maximise the transference of club-head speed into ball speed (also known as smash factor) you need to be striking the ball from the centre of the club-face. Hitting the ball from the heel or the toe of the club-face will reduce how far the ball goes (it also makes the ball curve more, which could lead to more lost balls).
Hitting just half an inch away from the centre of the face can reduce distance by 10 yards.
One of the best ways to test the quality of your strike is by spraying your club-face with Athletes Foot-type spray and then hitting a shot. See where you struck the ball in relation to the sweet-spot.
If your local PGA professional has a launch monitor such as a Trackman or Flightscope, they will be able to measure your club-head speed, ball speed, smash factor and much more to help you maximise your distance.
Head Teaching Professional at South Chesterfield GC,
Advanced PGA Professional,
Trackman Professional level 1.