Friday, August 7 2020


"It’s not distance, but direction that’s important"

Update: June, 17/2018 - 07:00
Viet Nam News

By Robert Bicknell

Haizzzz… here we go again.

Apparently, the USGA has decided to officially continue their investigation re: the golf ball goes too far. The study, known as the “Distance Insights Research Project”, will initially involve 21 industry stakeholders (architects, superintendents, golf course operators, tour players, and recreational players among them).

 It’s true that Tour players have been driving the ball around nine yards further than five years ago, but is this the ball or a combination of other factors?

In my opinion, the players today are bigger and in better physical condition. This is why they can generate much more clubhead speed.

In a recent article, Dustin Johnson said that he didn’t feel he hits the ball too far. Well, no surprise there, but to be honest, he really doesn’t. Sure, when he really gets a hold of one people gasp in amazement, but that’s an exception and usually downwind. His average isn’t too ridiculous compared to other pros and in the end, length means nothing if the ball isn’t in the fairway.

Unfortunately, hitting big has always been a benchmark for amateur players, which is probably why most of them cannot break 100.

When I used to work for PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, we had two driving ranges set up so that one of them was always “into the wind”. Example, if the range near the Champion course was into the wind, the one near the Haig course was downwind.

Guess which one was more popular?

Amateurs were always hitting with the wind and bragging about how far they hit it, while the pros and low handicappers always practiced into the wind, because it’s a more difficult shot.

Practicing smart is why they’re pros and low handicappers.

I see far too many players worrying about length to the point they destroy any hope they have of hitting it straight. Every month I get a bucket of requests from people asking me how they can hit the ball further. Its ridiculous.

One of the top amateur players here in southern Viet Nam, who shall remain nameless, has a room full of Best Gross trophies and he is also one of the shortest hitters. The difference is he is always in the middle of the fairway, or next to the pin on Par 3’s. He doesn’t give a damn about length.

And that’s why he wins a lot.

There are three ways to increase your distance:  better technique, better physical conditioning, and better equipment.

Most people waste 40-80 per cent of their energy on flawed technique. They don’t impact the ball squarely because they are swinging out of their shoes. Also, many are not in good physical condition. If your idea of “working out” is lifting beer cans, you’re not going to hit the ball further.

Today’s Tour pros are gym fanatics.

OK, so that leaves us now with equipment and, for the most part, I constantly see people playing with clubs that are not suited for their game. They have the wrong shaft, wrong weights and have never been properly fitted.

And if you think having fitted clubs isn’t important, you’re crazy. Every pro and low handicap player have their clubs fitted and so should all the mid-high handicappers.

Today’s equipment is far superior to the old days, but you have to have it set up right.

Anyway, I’m now 60 years old, but can still crack one 300 or more when I need to, but I don’t think that’s the ball as much as the clubs and physical conditioning to be honest as I’ve been a gym fanatic for the last seven years, trying to offset the effects of aging.

I find that I carry the ball longer but get less roll. That’s due to the design of the driver and the conditioning of the fairways. As maintenance levels change, so does driver technology.

But, as far as the ball going too far, I don’t see it as a massive problem, especially for the amateurs who only get out once or twice a month. Let them have fun out there.

At the pro level, yes they hit the ball further, but ALL of them do that, not just a few, so everything remains equal.

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.VNS




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