Yes it sounds crazy doesn't it but let me tell you this is not marketing BS but a fact that keeps on repeating itself over the last few seasons!
Let me explain......
Ok so why should you strive to gain more distance?
Quite simply it equates to lower scores because the closer we are to the hole after our tee shots the less shots we take to complete the hole. In Mark Broadie's book 'Every Shot Counts' he labours the point that although you may well go in the rough a little more, the strokes gained advantage to being long off the tee is enormous.
No surprise at all then that the upper echelon of the game is littered with the games longest hitters. Yes there are advantages obviously to being straight but in my opinion it's definitely power first, accuracy second rather than the cautious approach that plagues the amateur game.
The facts in Broadie's book point out that 10 yards to a Tour Player is worth around 0.70 of a shot per round, that maybe equates to around £350,000 for the average player on some figures I saw recently! No wonder then that they are all chasing distance from the tee, but so should you because 10 yards equals even more to the amateur, maybe anything from 1-5 shots depending on your handicap!!
So now we have established the need to hit a far as we can, how do we do it?
While there are undoubtably a number of areas we can focus on to gain distance with the Driver, the number one area that gives greatest results and in my opinion is fairly easy to improve,
is clubhead speed.
Now I can hear you all shouting at me as to why you can't increase speed:-
Im too old!
I will lose accuracy!
I'm not going in the gym!
To be fair they are nothing more than excuses and I will explain how time after time, particularly in the Winter months my players massively increase speed on their development programmes.
I'll be honest at this point and this is not taking a swipe at golf specific fitness trainers but I have yet to see anyone who has significantly increased their speed by fitness training alone. By that I'm not condemning fitness training, in fact quite the opposite I encourage all my players to train. Golf specific training in my opinion equips players with more tools to swing fast but does not guarantee it.
Equally I would say my attempts at changing technique and motor patterns in search of more speed have been few and far between. Yes we have 3D biomechanics software etc etc to analyse the moves but it seems a slower road than the one I'm going to talk to you about.
The Big Win!
So the big winner on gaining clubhead speed in my opinion centres around two major factors.
Yes you actually have to try to hit hit hard! No amount of gym training, doing disassociation drills, X-Factor stretch or the latest YouTube fad will result in speed unless you're actually trying to generate it through impact!
Now when I am doing this with players, it really throws them out of their comfort zone, sometimes I'm screaming come on give me more speed as I'm encouraging them to abandon all other swing prerequisites and give me speed.
The focus of these speed sessions has to be entirely around speed, ideally measured with a device such as Trackman. At this point our goal is to see the clubhead speed mph rise both on an average and on a max personal best. If you haven't got a measuring device, listen to the sound of the club but basically assume the next one needs to be faster.
So the secret is to have speed sessions, with the intent and focus of delivering as much speed through impact as possible, ideally these will be measured but even without access to technology you can still have successful sessions. They should definitely form part of your training if you are seeking distance, you would be amazed at the number of people wanting speed but not practicing it!!
So do speed sessions work?
Oh boy do they work! I don't think theres anybody I've done this with that hasn't increased their speed by 3-4mph at the first time of asking!
Then what happens is, it drops a little by the next session, then we repeat and see similar progress etc etc. Over a period of weeks/months we see both the normal mph rising and the max personal best rising, just like going in the gym and weight and reps increase with a continuous pushing for the next level.
I have coached Pro's who have increased as much as 10mph in 3 months on this programme, if you bear in mind that for every 1mph of clubhead speed you should gain around 3 yards in distance, then thats a whopping 30 yards more........BOOM!
Ahh but I can hear you saying what happens to accuracy?
Well my experience over the years points towards theres no disruption to accuracy, in fact id say that for a large majority it gets better as we have a greater commitment to the shot and a reduced guiding and steering mechanism.
That makes it WIN WIN!
So back to my original opener10 yards in 10 minutes!
If pretty much everyone can get 3-4 extra mph immediately, then thats 10 yards and lower scores!
I expect you all to be running to the range right now!