Are you tired of being the “short knocker” in your group, tired of not being able to reach par 4’s in two, par 5’s in three? How would you like to gain 10-30 yards off the tee without buying a new $400+ driver?
This article reveals the steps taken by a 68 year old retired aerospace engineer to regain the driving distance of his youth.
The steps were taken over a 12 month period of experimentation using many different driver and shaft combinations and modifications.
He began his quest for increased distance because his distance with the driver had fallen off 20-30 yards over the past few years and he had begun to struggle with hitting five iron and sometimes four iron into greens where he used to hit a seven iron.
Self evaluation told him that his swing length was getting shorter and his club head speed was dropping like a rock. He had begun to increasingly have discomfort and flexibility loss in his joints. Especially his knees, hands, wrists and shoulders during and after a round of golf.
This article was written to help you quickly and easily make significant improvements in your driving game using the same success steps. After a review of distance producing factors, you will then learn several keys that will all work together to unlock the Longest Driver You Can Be.
Section One-Driving Distance Factors
Lets talk about distance. The scientists tell us that ultimately ball speed, launch angle and spin rate are factors that the golfer can control to maximize potential distance. Other factors like the wind, slope and hardness of the ground,length of fairway grass, humidity, and temperature are out of the golfer’s control.
Proper selection of a driver loft, head design, shaft type and flex will help the golfer maximize the factors he can control. Swing improvements to get the club going down the target line for the most solid contact will minimize distance and accuracy robbing side spin. Maximum ball speed is achieved when the club head speed is maximum AND the contact is solid with a minimum of back or side spin. Somewhere between topping the ball so it runs on the ground and skying it (Fore God!) there is an optimum launch angle for the conditions being played in.
And as evidenced by more and more professional golfers adopting physical work out programs, building up major muscle strength and flexibility will obviously help gain distance. However the average golfer is either not inclined to put in that much physical time and work or unable to due to age created limitations. So other answers are needed.
The driver is more difficult to hit than a three wood because of its lower loft. For that reason, in recent years club manufacturers have been making drivers with more loft. Some years ago, drivers with 7 to 8 degrees of loft were common; now the more common lofts are in the 9.5 to 12 degree range. the reason your driver shaft length is longer than your three wood shaft is so you can develop more club head speed and hit it farther.
The type of shaft in the driver is VERY important. It must match your swing characteristics or else you will not achieve maximum distance. The shaft is much like the engine in a car. In addition to shaft length both shaft flex (degree of stiffness) and the flex point(low, mid or high) affect performance.
Driver club head design in the past year or so has seen amazing advances in geometry and fabrication techniques that allow club makers to reduce and/or reposition weight to maximize performance. Positioning weight as far back behind the face and as low as possible has made drivers more stable (higher moment of inertia) and increased the launch angle while reducing distance robbing backspin.
Golf ball design has come a long way in the past few years. So now more than ever it is possible to gain distance by selecting the right ball for your swing.
First of all, many golfers think that playing a “pro” ball will help their game. When in fact, it will actually rob them of valuable distance in most cases.
Titleist and Callaway for instance make great “pro” level balls like the Pro V1, ProV1x, Hex Tour and Hex Tour 56. Truth is if your swing speed with the driver doesn’t exceed 100 mph you are giving up distance. My experience and testing has shown that it takes a certain minimum amount of club head speed to adequately compress such balls.
For the average, non-pro, non-low handicap golfer, quality golf balls like the Maxfli Noodle or Callaway Hx Hot or Titleist NXT Extreme are much more capable of producing maximum distance.
Now yes it is true these balls won’t spin as much as the “pro” balls, but they will certainly spin well enough to score with. Besides, how many times do you hit the ball past the hole anyhow?
Section Two-Golf Swing Considerations
It is beyond the scope of this report to try to improve your swing. You should consult with your local PGA professional if you are having basic swing difficulties or just want to map a plan for improvement.
In order to achieve your maximum driving distance potential you will need to make sure of three things as a minimum: Your grip must be proper- For a right handed golfer, you must grip the club in the fingers (not the palms of your hands) and your left thumb position must be to the right of center on the grip. Think of the butt end of the grip as a clock face and position your left hand such that the left thumb is between 1:00 and 2:00 o’clock. Generally speaking, the vee’s between your thumb and forefinger on each hand should point between your chin and right shoulder. You must do everything you can to reduce tension in your hands, arms and shoulders to achieve maximum club head speed. Your grip should be so soft that when you start your back swing, the club head lags behind or almost lags behind initially. If you gauge grip pressure from 1 to 10 with 10 being the tightest, then you should try to start with a grip pressure of only about 4. Of course, there will always be some increase during the down swing. But, if you don’t start tension free then you will fall way short of your distance potential. You must swing through the ball not hit at the ball. The ball must just get in the way of your swing, not be the focal point.
Section Three-Golfer Health Considerations
When the retired aerospace engineer started his quest to regain some of his lost distance, he began a series of very light physical stretching workouts to help regain some of his lost flexibility. This did not take much time and also encouraged him to make sure he did brief stretching to warm up before playing golf. (Note-always check with your doctor before starting any kind of exercise program, especially those with a purpose of having you exert more effort.)
After a couple of months he noticed a definite improvement and could even tell his small muscle control (handwriting) was improving. But, even though that stopped or at least greatly slowed any further loss of distance it did not help him gain back as much as he wanted.
The light exercise / stretching workouts also helped regain some lost muscle tone so he could swing harder. But, his aching stiff arthritic joints let him know they didn’t like the extra stress.
He did research and talked with a number doctors who recommended taking some form of Glucosomine/Chondroitin to increase his joint lubrication and encourage repair/rebuilding of damaged/aging joint tissue. And, this really did help him relieve most of his discomfort. (Note-always check with your doctor before adding to or changing any of your medications.)
Section Four-Golf Club Considerations
There are three major components that make up the driver: the club head, the shaft and the grip.
Club Head For maximum distance your driver club head should have as many of the following features as possible: Face should be slightly (1/2 to 1 degree closed) to encourage a slight draw or minimize the effects of a fade/slice. Weight bias should be neutral or slightly draw biased to encourage a slight draw or minimize the effects of a fade/slice. Size should be 435 cc or larger for maximum forgiveness on off center hits. Loft should be 10 to 12 degrees minimum to achieve a launch angle near the optimum of 13 degrees for maximum carry/roll combined. Construction should be Titanium/Composite materials to minimize overall club head weight and allow achieving maximum club head speed.
Moment of Inertia (MOI) should as high as the limits allow to minimize distance loss due to the club head twisting on off center hits. The Coefficient of Restitution (COR-spring like effect) should be as high as the limits allow to produce maximum possible ball speed. The Center of Gravity (CG) should be low and back to help get the ball airborne without a lot of distance robbing backspin. My current favorite is the Cleveland Hi-Bore XL but there are certainly other very similar clubs made by all the name manufacturers If you decide you want to upgrade to a more current driver technology, there are plenty of bargains on eBay that will save you a lot of money.
Shaft The type of shaft in the driver is VERY important. It must match your swing characteristics or else you will not achieve your maximum potential distance. The shaft is much like the engine in a car. In addition to shaft length, both shaft flex (degree of stiffness) and the flex point(low, mid or high) affect performance.
For maximum distance your driver shaft should have as many of the following features as possible: Flex (ie, Regular vs Stiff) must be soft enough for your swing to properly load maximum energy into the shaft on the down swing. Most golfers, especially senior golfers, are using shafts that are too stiff for their swings. Material of Construction ( Steel vs Graphite) must be as light as possible to maximize club head speed. Graphite shafts have come a long way in the past few years in terms of improved quality and consistency. You may give up a little control with a graphite shaft but for the average golfer the benefit of the distance gained will out weigh the slight loss of control. Flex Point or Kick Point should be Low to Mid in order to help get the ball airborne with a minimum of distance robbing backspin. It sounds goofy, but a low kick point will hit the ball higher whereas a high kick point will hit the ball lower. Weight should be as light as possible in the 55 to 75 gram range in order for you to achieve maximum club head speed.
Grip The grip is very important because it is your only contact with the club. Your comfort level and degree of tension can be adversely affected if your grip is the wrong size or the material is too firm. The following factors should be considered in choosing a grip your your driver. The grip on the shaft should match your hand size so you can grip the club in your fingers, not your palms. You should not be using over sized grips unless your hands are quite large. Even if you have some arthritis issues, there are new very soft grip materials available that will allow a regular size grip to be comfortable for many golfers. If your driver is acceptable in all other areas, it is simple and inexpensive to have one of the latest grips installed. Many golf shops like Edwin Watts or Golf Smith will do it while you wait.
Section Five-The Final Answer
Since we have said that the shaft of the driver is the engine, let’s talk about giving it a boost.
A starting point is to consider lengthening the shaft of your driver. Most standard drivers today have a length of 44.5 inches to 45.5 inches. Older drivers were in the 43.5 to 44.5 inch range so club manufacturers have recognized that they can give longer drives by increasing the length of the shaft. It is practical to safely add 1 inch to 1.5 inches more to the length of today’s drivers with a high strength shaft extender. If the extender is properly designed it can easily be installed into the butt of your driver shaft.
Your driver is longer than your three wood and your four iron is longer than your six iron to help achieve greater distance through increasing club head speed. Lengthening the shaft will make it a little softer and actually help most golfers load more energy into the shaft on the down swing. And, the longer club will help slow down the pace of your back swing so you can stay in better balance and control.
So lengthening your driver will theoretically increase its distance over its standard length. But, when you do lengthen your driver, it will significantly increase the swing weight and change the feel. Both of which could upset your swing and even cost you distance and/or accuracy. That is why most drivers are manufactured at their current lengths even though the USGA allows a driver to be up to 48 inches long. But, don’t worry there is a good solution to the feel problem.
There is another distance increasing technique gaining favor today because it has been proven to both add distance AND increase accuracy/consistency. The technique is called counter weighting. It adds weight to the butt end of the club to move the balance point closer to the grip. Even the great Jack Nicklaus early in his career discovered that adding a lead plug into the butt of his driver helped hit the ball longer and straighter.
There are commercially available counter weighting products from companies like Balance-Certified Golf and Golf Smith that will easily add weight to the butt of your club. Counter weighting has several positive effects:
1) It smooths out your hand action thereby helping to improve accuracy, consistency and ball speed.
2) It also delays hand action so that less backspin is produced thereby giving a hotter ball flight for more roll.
3) It also helps increase club head speed by giving your large muscles a little more weight to react to. My analogy here is that you can throw a golf ball farther than you can throw a ping pong ball.
4) It also helps increase club head speed by allowing more energy to be stored on the back swing for release on the down swing.
My analogy here is the example of a person sitting in a swivel chair who starts spinning around holding two dumb bells out with extended arms(the back swing). Then when they pull their arms back in close to their chest (downswing) their rotation speed(club head speed) increases.
However, adding 20-30 grams of counter weight to the butt of a driver will considerably reduce the overall swing weight and change the feel. Again, both of which could upset your swing and even cost you distance and/or accuracy.
If you haven’t already guessed the answer, using counter weighting in a lengthened driver will give you the best of both worlds.Using a 1.5 inch driver shaft extender with a weight of 25 to 30 grams works best.
The above considerations showed how a simple combination of two proven technologies can give your driving distance a turbo boost.