Distance - is it underestimated?

Who wants their golf ball to go further??? (100% of hands reach to the sky)!!!

Distance is a great thing. The beauty of seeing the ball fly as high and as far as anyone can in your club is a very good feeling (not that I have experience in this). The constant 'ooos' and 'ahhhs' as your playing partners watch in admiration at your Callaway Chrome Soft flying 300+ yards.

But is it a crucial aspect to playing better golf and, more importantly, how do we get more of it?

First of all, distance is a vital aspect in reducing your scores. Recent research (Mark Broadie - Every Shot Counts) has shown that the probability of you shooting a lower score is strongly correlated with the distance that you can achieve. Now, this might not sound good to all you players who believe you don't hit the ball very far. But, I have some good news......... EVERYONE (yes, you) can achieve more distance, whether it be 5 yards or 50 yards, we can all achieve greater distance. And its not as hard as you think!

The foremost reason that golfers do not achieve the distance they are capable of is down to the quality of the contact made with the ball...... in other words an 'off-centre hit' will travel considerably less distance than a centred strike (a centred strike being the ball struck off the middle of the club or the 'sweet spot').

It doesn't matter if you swing the club as hard as you can, you will not reach your optimal distance if the ball is not struck out of the centre of the face of the club. That horrible 'clunky' feeling will ensue and you might also feel the golf club twisting in your hands as the club moves violently when the ball is struck on the outside of the face.

So what do we have to do to ensure we strike the middle more often to achieve greater distance?

There are a number of great drills out there to help you, but first we must know exactly where the ball is being struck off the clubface. To do this, we need a training aid that can be found at your local chemist or Sainsburys!!! (Cue bizarre, puzzled looks). Athletes foot powder (Daktarin spray powder to be exact) can be used to see exactly where your ball is being struck on the face. Simply spray the product on the face of the golf club, take your normal swing and strike the ball and 'voila', a mark will appear on the face to show you where the ball was struck. If its in the very centre of the face then happy days, keep on going and you are reaching optimal distance. If it's on the outside of the face then you have work to do. Simply (and more importantly INSTINCTIVELY) try and hit the ball out of the middle of the club. I don't want you to think about changing your swing to allow this to happen, I just want you to change the area the ball is being struck from, two very different things.

Test yourself. If you constantly strike the ball off the heel, try and strike it out of the toe and vice-versa. If you keep hitting it out of the middle see how many in a row you can hit out of the middle.

Golf is much more fun when you hit the ball in the area of the clubface you are supposed to!

Hope this helps.