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Thursday, 18 August 2016

Swing Easy and Accept the Extra Distance

What's the biggest problem for many golfers?  They try to hit the ball too far.  Because they once hit a seven iron 160 yards, now they pick a seven every time they're 160 yards from the pin.  I have a buddy who is woefully short virtually every time with his approaches.  He hits some nice shots, but they inevitably end up short of the pin, if not the green itself.  And yet, he never blames it on the fact that he isn't using enough club.  It's always something else.

When questioned about it, he says, "You know I hit my seven iron 150 yards."  Unfortunately, I don't know that.  In fact, I generally out-drive him by thirty yards and yet he often hits one club less than I do on the par threes.  It never occurs to him that he should use one or two more clubs and swing within himself.  

Sam Snead's 80 percent rule would turn so many people's games around.  Swing at 80 percent and find the center of the clubface and you will actually find yourself hitting the ball farther, as well as straighter.  If mid to high handicappers would decide never to hit a club full out, they would immediately see an improvement in their game.  Raymond Floyd called it "playing comfortable."  He could hit a seven iron 180 yards, but he generally hit one between 140 and 160 yards.  Why bust a seven iron when you can hit a smooth five or six iron?  The reality is it's often ego getting in the way of common sense.  For most handicap players, they would immediately improve if they did nothing other than just take one more club on every full shot and swing it smoothly.

Ask yourself when the last time you hit an approach shot over the green.  For most amateurs it won't be easy to remember unless they managed to skull a shot.  Why not follow Raymond Floyd's advice and learn to "play comfortable."  Hit the club that you know you can easily get there, not the one you can get there, but only if you happen to flush it.  

Sam Snead was convinced that he actually hit the ball farther by swinging at 80 percent.  As my old father used to love to say, "Swing easy and accept the extra distance."  For most of us that's true.  If we'd only swing easier, we'd soon see our shots improve.  Watch the pros.  How many of them do you see swinging out of their shoes?  Don't let your ego get in the way of a good game.  As Harvey Penick once said, "The woods are full of long drivers."  So, don't forget to swing easy and accept the extra distance.