Drive for more than Show!
We have all heard the phrase “ Drive for Show; Putt for Dough”… usually muttered after a long drive followed by a missed short putt or conversely, a short drive followed by a long putt made. This year the PGA has come out with a new statistic called “ Strokes Gained Driving” which attempts to quantify the fact that great driving can lead to better scoring too! An example would be reaching a short par 4 with your drive and then making a birdie by simply two putting. Here are a few tips to help you get your driver in tip-top shape so you can gain a few shots as well:
- Get Fitted. The truth is out there…when it comes to better performance from your driver, a lot of it comes down to getting the optimal launch angle and spin rate for your swing speed. This year we are fortunate to have two state-of the-art launch monitors at our club. Our PGA Professionals will use these devices to fit you for correct shaft, loft, flex, etc. so that you know the driver you get will perform the best for you. Simply schedule a time for a driver fitting, and get ready for your best drives yet.
- Correct Impact. Did you know that the driver swing is the only time you are actually attempting to catch the ball a bit on the upswing. This should happen naturally from a correct set-up position if the ball position is more forward, ball is teed up higher, weight is more on back foot, etc. However if you struggle with driving, chances are you may be approaching the ball on a steep angle or hitting a bit downward on the ball. Here is a great drill to try: practice hitting your fairway wood (which has a much shallower face) using a ball teed up like a driver. It will appear like you will swing right under the ball…and at first you might sky a few. Stick with it and soon you will get the hang of sweeping it right off the tee. If you can hit a teed up three or five wood, your driver will be a piece of cake.
- Swing Relaxed. Did you know you can swing the club faster when you are relaxed? Sam Snead always wanted his swing to feel “oily”, Jack Nicklaus rarely swung at faster than 80%, and Ernis Els is known as “the Big Easy” for a reason. Pay attention to your grip, aim and posture first. Then try to make a practice swing and hold your finish position, just like you are posing for a picture. After you can do this easily with a practice swing, do the same thing with a driver hitting a ball. Many players feel they have a different swing when they are actually hitting a ball as opposed to practice swinging, and I would agree. If you get proficient at always swinging in-balance and relaxed, your two swings will become more alike – more like your practice swing. Easy distance will be yours…and maybe a few more Strokes Gained Driving.