There was a book released recently by Mark Broadie called Every Shot Counts.
He’s a stats guy and his research over ten years has proven that you will lower your scores more by hitting it 20 yards further than looking for a degree more of accuracy.
If you think about the top few players in the world, they all bomb the ball: Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Jason Day. They send it out there. That backs up some of the research in that book.
When I’m working with young kids, I want them to hit it hard. But it’s not just about that. It’s about the correct technique. Get the ball in the correct position to start with - just inside your left heel - then place another ball a driver head’s width in front of the ball on the tee.
If your angle of attack is too steep and you hit down on the ball, then you’ll hit the ball in front of the tee. That means too much backspin, low launch and less distance.
But if you do this drill correctly, and by that I mean if you miss the ball in front, you’ll be hitting up on the ball.
We now know, thanks to modern day launch monitors, that you don’t necessarily need to hit the ball harder to gain more distance. Instead, by changing your angle of attack to more ‘on the up’ through the ball you can increase distance on the same strike.
Research with Trackman (Trackman Newsletter, Oct 2010) has proven that an optimal drive, which has a clubhead speed of 90mph and an angle of attack of five degrees down, will carry 191 yards.
The exact same drive, optimised for an angle of attack of five degrees up, will travel 23 yards further and carry 214 yards. So, the advice is simple: don’t swing faster, hit more up!