How Far Can I Hit the Ball with My Natural Ability?


Who doesn’t want to hit the ball longer? Shoot, one of the reasons Tiger Woods embarked on some of the major swing changes in his career was because he became concerned when he dropped out of the top 5 in driving distance on the PGA Tour. Every golfer would love to hit the ball farther, not just with the driver but with all the clubs. 

But can they? Is there more distance out there to be had for most of us or just a few of us? One thing is for sure – if you are custom fit by a really GOOD, very EXPERIENCED custom clubfitter, you will end up hitting the ball as far as your natural ability will allow.

When we say “as far as your natural ability will allow,” we first mean that above all else, distance is a product of each golfer’s clubhead speed. Those with the highest clubhead speed have the potential to hit the ball the farthest. But whether any golfer, regardless of clubhead speed reaches their maximum potential distance depends on how well their clubs are fit to their size, strength, athletic ability and swing characteristics.

Since the vast, vast majority of golfers buy their clubs standard off the rack in a golf retail store, golf course pro shop or through an online golf retail site, there is a pretty good chance the majority of those golfers are in not properly fit to maximize their clubhead speed or to be able to turn that clubhead speed into the most distance possible. In hearing from hundreds of custom clubfitters about thousands of custom fitting sessions, I’d say it is safe to say something in the area of 50% of all golfers they have fit do walk away hitting the ball 5 to 15 yards longer than they did before they were professionally custom fit.

From a pure swing vs clubhead speed relationship, if you currently swing with an early to midway release, being able to train your swing to hold/retain your wrist-cock angle until as late in the downswing as possible will increase your clubhead speed. Lessons can help do this for sure. But so can changing to a SHORTER (yes shorter) length driver. There is valid scientific evidence which proves that for many golfers with the tendency to unhinge the wrist cock angle early to midway on the downswing, changing to a shorter length driver puts less stress on their wrist cock angle so with proper swing training it becomes much easier to hold this angle later in the downswing, and in doing so, gain 3 to 7 mph in clubhead speed.

Science also proves that for each 1mph you can increase your clubhead speed, you gain 2.8 yds of carry distance with the driver. +5mph and you gain +14 yds.

Being properly fit for the right LOFT for your clubhead speed and your angle of attack (upward, level or downward) into the ball is where most golfers who have been playing with a driver they bought off the rack can and do gain distance.  Most golfers believe the lower the loft, the farther you hit the ball. While that is true with about 2/3 of your irons, it is not that way with the driver.  Since the driver is the lowest loft full swing club in your bag, the physics of ball flight dictate you must choose the right loft for your swing speed and angle of attack that gets you to YOUR optimum launch angle for maximizing your swing speed into the most distance possible.  If you swing the driver at 90mph or less and you’re using an 11 loft or less, chances are very good you do have more distance in your swing that is hiding behind a bad fit. 

Being fit for the right TOTAL WEIGHT and SWINGWEIGHT (or MOI) and LENGTH to match your individual strength, your swing aggressiveness, your swing tempo and your swing rhythm most definitely can offer more distance. This can happen because the right weighting can increase your swing speed and/or it can increase your on center hit percentage. Hit the ball off center and you lose distance. Hit the ball on center and you gain distance.

It bears also saying that for those golfers with a higher level of will power and commitment, there are physical training programs specifically tailored to increase clubhead speed through dedicated flexibility and core strength workout techniques.  A cursory search of ‘clubhead speed training programs’ will reveal a number of these workout programs. 

Who can determine if YOU have 10 or more yards hiding in your swing, waiting to come out?  Again, it is a GOOD, EXPERIENCED custom clubfitter who has already done this for many golfers.  Sound like it might be time to see if there is such an experienced clubfitter in your area?