Sunday, March 30, 2008

Strategic Planning

The Masters Tournament begins next week and with it the unofficial start of the golf season for all northerners, so in honor of the new season the professionals at the United States Golf Academy have this advice to help you shoot your lowest scores ever.

There are three strategic ways to improve your golf scores. The first is to shorten the golf course by improving your driving distance. Second, find the swing tempo that produces the most predictable distance for each club from the fairway. Successful shots to the green come not from your ability to hit the ball far, but your ability to predict how far you will hit the ball. Finally, you must create a reliable short game strategy and stick with it. So let’s start the season by finding some extra yardage off the tee.

Driver Distance
We use a ball fight monitor called Trackman at our schools. You might have seen it used on recent television broadcasts. Trackman radar actually maps the entire flight of a golf ball, just as radar is used to track a storm or airplane. Because of the accuracy of this technology, we are able to find the right launch and ball spin conditions to maximize driver distance regardless of club speed. In fact, without controlling these conditions additional club speed is wasted.

Finding the optimal launch and spin conditions for an individual player comes in two parts: First from achieving the correct angle of attack or how the club approaches the golf ball and then finding the right driver to match that set up. The typical golf ball leaves the golf club at a vertical angle of 9 to 15 degrees. This is called the launch angle and is achieved from a combination of the loft built into the driver and the angle the club swings through the golf ball. Trackman shows us that regardless of driver loft, the longest drives occur when you hit up on the ball slightly, at an upward angle of three to five degrees. For many of us this means teeing the ball higher than usual and playing the ball more forward in your stance (more to your left for a right handed player and more to the right for the left handed). In any golf swing, the club moves back and up, down through the ball, and then back up in the follow through. By moving the ball forward and teeing it higher, we strike the ball later in the swing, when the club starts back up. It is important to note that this does not require a change in the way you swing the club. It is much more about when and where you strike the ball.

Next week we will discuss how to enhance this technique by finding the right driver for you. In the meantime, if you have any questions I encourage you to contact me at or better yet come visit us at the United States Golf Academy.

No comments: