Instruction – Go The Distance in 2018
Welcome to 2018! This will be my 16th year of writing a monthly instruction article for AVIDGOLFER. The process each time is challenging and enjoyable. One of my biggest thrills is when a golfer stops me to mention they’ve read a recent AG article and it helped their game.
So, I’m going to start off the new year with a subject that everyone wants to know about: gaining more distance! It’s been a few years since I’ve done an article on distance. I’m going to give you some cold hard facts and then my opinion on what will help you gain more distance.
Trackman is the name of a launch monitor widely viewed as the ‘go-to’ for capturing ball and club data from your swing. The company is constantly doing studies to support what’s going on in the tech world of golf. In one of their studies, they’ve determined from data collected from over 10,000 golfers that the average handicap is 14-15. The average golfer swings his driver at 93 mph for a total distance of 214 total yards off the tee. The average golfer also hits down with their driver swing roughly 1.5 degrees. This stat should not be negative if the golfer is looking to gain distance. By hitting down on the golf ball they jeopardize their launch of the ball (too low), create too much spin on the ball and most likely have a slice curve for a shot pattern. This combination is not the recipe for maximizing your distance off the tee. The average golfer is leaving up to 25 yards on the table by hitting down on the ball.
Golfers looking for more distance need to make a level to slightly upward strike on the ball with their driver. This will help reduce the spin on the ball and launch the ball higher in the air for more carry distance. It will also be easier to draw the ball from this angle of attack. Keeping the same clubhead speed but improving the downward hit on the ball with the driver will make a world of difference.
To achieve a more level to slightly upward strike on the ball start with a few adjustments in your setup. Widen your stance, place the ball even with your front eye, position your weight slightly on your back foot and make sure to have both V’s on your grip pointing toward the back shoulder. In the backswing be sure to turn behind the ball as your weight shifts to your back leg. Allow the club to swing over your back shoulder with the club pointing in line with your hands, and make sure that your top hand is flat to your forearm.
In the downswing keep your back to the target, and let the club swing down from the inside. You want to have a feeling that you’re going to hit up on the back inside of the golf ball as you let your lead hand and arm rotate back to square at impact. The club should continue to circle thru to the finish and you turn thru with your lower body. Making solid contact with the proper angle of attack is going to undoubtedly help you gain more distance. Let 2018 be the year that you hit the ball farther, shoot lower scores and enjoy the game of golf even more.
Tim Cusick is the Director of Instruction at the Four Seasons Resort and Club/Dallas at Las Colinas. The Northern Texas PGA named Cusick Teacher of the Year in 2005, 2009 and 2015, as well as the 2014 Horton Smith Award winner for education. He’s the author of ‘The Four Keys to Improve your Swing.’ Follow him on Twitter @timcusickgolf and visitm his website: timcusickgolf.com.