Getting Real on Distance
Dennis M Clark
Golf is, and has always, only about two things only, direction and distance. And while they equally play an integral part in the game, the balance of them, and the true recognition of just how they can affect our own game, is often distorted, much to our detriment.
Direction is patently obvious. We need to hit the ball at the target, and the better we do this the better we play.
Distance however, is where the distortion occurs, and this upsets, no, make that ruins, more games and golfers than you can shake a stick at.
Distance often requires” exact distance”. When we’re putting, chipping, or in club selection on our approach to the green, the important side of it.
When distance is mentioned it’s usually all about getting the ball out further off the tee or stretching the distance an 8 iron can hit.
Let’s be honest, the desire for more distance has been a desire for all of us at some stage. Unfortunate for the majority that desire remains in place and is fed by the continual design of balls and clubs, especially in the de-lofting of irons to make us believe we now hit our new set even longer.
The magazines and YouTube are filled with new positions and moves that will somehow create more distance, and while some are scientifically sound, the average golfer will never achieve much more distance than what they currently have.
Like all desires, the one for more distance is perpetuating and never really fulfilled. The irony is that it doesn’t need to be for the average golfer to improve their success in the game.
Bearing that in mind, let’s take a logical and realistic look at the distance factor.
A number of years ago I had a man come for a lesson and when asked what he wanted from it he replied more distance, with the belief this would greatly improve his game.
By the way, this scenario is reasonably common, as most golf coaches will testify to.
His handicap was 12, and during the lesson we discussed distance and the benefits of it, and why more would be an asset.
Of course it is easier to hit it closer to the pin when approaching with a 7 iron than it is with a 4 or 5.
Also, if you hit the ball a maximum of 220 yards, the least you can possibly make on a hole measuring 460 yards is 3, whereas if you hit it 230 there is a possibility of making 2.
So we agreed that indeed, distance is important.
I then asked him, “On an average day, hitting the ball as well as you can, how many greens he couldn’t reach in regulation on his home course”. He replied 2.
I then asked him why he felt he needed more distance when he already had enough to play to a handicap of 2.
We set him the task of focusing on learning to strike the ball as well as he could, more often, the real issue.
He went away realizing that distance wasn’t the issue he had believed it was, or would give him the result he thought he wanted. What he already had was more than enough to achieve a much loftier goal, and could be done more realistically.
Over 40 years of coaching golf has shown me that the single biggest issue in golf is most people simply don’t realize the ability they possess, and so waste money, time, and energy something unnecessary, which they don’t usually achieve anyway.
If we would only learn to fully understand, and use correctly and fully, what we already have, we can achieve much more than we realize.
So next time you think you have a lack of distance issue................
A wise man once said, “Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done”