by Kevin Haime, 2000 PGA of Canada Teacher of The Year (Kevin Haime Golf Centre)
If you want to play better, more consistent golf, stop trying to hit the ball farther. Golfers are obsessed with speed and distance but that obsession is a swing killer.
Don’t get me wrong… I don’t want you to slow down or to swing at half speed. I just want you to realize what makes a golf ball fly farther. When it comes to maximizing your distance, It’s more about how you hit the ball… not about trying to swing harder.
My years working on our FlightScope launch monitor with golfers of all ages and abilities has taught me that golfers need to practice and swing smarter, not harder. As a matter of fact, when a golfer tries to swing harder or faster, he usually mishits the shot because of excess movement or even tension. And even those golfers who do make contact with their so called “fastest swing” usually find that they only gain a mile or two of club head speed which translates into less than 6 extra yards of ball flight.
If you really want to gain some yards with every club in your bag, you need to stop focusing on swinging faster and start paying attention to your club path and face angle as it hits the ball. If you can swing your club on a better path and hit the ball with a square club face, you’ll really see some extra yards and better shots. It’s common for me to see a golfer in a launch session who improves path and face squareness actually gain as many as 30 to 40 yards of distance.
Better golf will actually come if you put away your longer clubs and spend your practice time focusing on your club path and face angle at impact. With my better players we spend hours hitting little pitch shots paying attention to the path of the club and making sure the club face swings in a neutral position. We focus on solid contact that leads to great little crisp pitches that land, spin and release perfectly every time. Those pitch shots not only improve a player’s short game, they also improve full swing fundamentals. You’ll be amazed how your little swings will make your full swings better. After all, your pitch motion is the blueprint or foundation of your golf swing.
Next time you’re practicing hit more little shots and focus on the two positions I’m illustrating in the photos on the opposite page. As a matter of fact, if you can achieve these waist high and chest high club positions, you’re well on your way to hitting better shots.
I really like these two photos you see here on this page. My golf club is swinging into a nice “on plane” position and my club face is neutral. Notice how relaxed I look as I swing my arms up and turn my chest. My body has stayed in flex and in posture. The swing looks simple.