One of the most searched questions about golf is how to gain distance, how to hit it further, and how to up my club head speed; it's one of the biggest topics in golf and a huge pain point for tons of golfers. As a player, I hit the ball much farther than most players do, so I’m never out hunting distance, but I certainly understand the appeal. Hitting the ball far is a lot of fun; it makes you look somewhat cool, especially if you can follow it up, and hitting it further does help you to play better golf. I’m just at a point in my golf career where I’m going to look for length off the tee and a lot of consistency, with consistency outweighing length now. I used to be all gungho about distance, but it only helps once you hit set distances, especially if you aren’t trying to tip out courses everywhere you go. I have buddies that hit it further than me that I can beat like a drum, and guys who hit it shorter than I take me out behind the shed when we play. So we will discuss a couple of things, which should be chasing distance, the pros and cons, and the do’s and don’ts of chasing distance.
Who Should Absolutely Chase Distance
The desire to chase distance and out-drive your buddies off the tee is entirely reasonable, but should you be chasing distance? Once you hit the driver 280 yards to 290 yards off the tee, you really don’t need to chase distance; you should probably work on other things to get better. Unless you are playing a ton of 7,200 + yard courses, you don’t need more than 290 yards off the tee. If you are fine playing from the up tees and don’t ever want to play competitively, then you really just need 230 yards, and in the fairway every time, you don’t need to chase distance. If you have a junior or you are a junior golfer, go chase distance the right way. You develop swing speed and an understanding of swing speed early, and you will have it always. As a junior chase distance, if you are going to try to play competitively, the courses seem only to get longer, so you need to be long if you are going to be successful on tour. If you are trying to play competitively as a 20 - 50-year-old and you can’t hit the ball 250 yards with the driver, you need to find some length off the tee to really compete. Otherwise, you probably don’t need to chase distance, and it will probably come by working on hitting the face in the middle every time and driving up your smash factor (ball speed divided by club head speed. It is a good measurement to see if you are hitting the sweet spot.)
Pros to Chasing Distance
Drive for show pretty much says it all here. It feels cool and looks really cool to hit the ball a long way. You feel good every time you hit it further than everyone else in your group; it just feels good. But there has to be something else right? Correct, the theory is the further you hit it off the tee, the closer to the green, the more wedges I get in my hand. Wedges and short irons are scoring clubs; the more I get them in my hands, the better I will score. And If you are hitting a driver in the fairway, those are all very true, but if you sacrifice accuracy for distance, you will be disappointed. As it turns out, a ball coming out of the rough is very difficult to judge. Playing from the rough makes birdies hard to come by, even for a tour pro. The other logic is being on par 5 greens in 2 means birdies, and that is certainly true if you can hit the green with a long club like a wood or a long iron or hybrid in your hands. The next pro for hitting it further is if you hit driver further, it means you probably hit irons further as well. Since I hit 8 iron 180, I don’t mind having 180 yards into a green, I should still always hit it because I have an 8 iron in my hand! If I am not hitting it, something is going wrong! The final pro that I have for hitting the ball further and chasing distance is strokes gained. The strokes gained category of stats is fairly new to golf, and it's about how many strokes did I gain on the field in a specific category. So on tour, you go in, and you look at SG Tee; you can see people are ranked on how many strokes they gained on the field with tee shots; typically, the number 1 guy is usually one of the longest guys on tour. You do gain strokes on the field by hitting it further and straighter than the other guys.
Chasing distance has caused some of the best players in the world to lose it all. After Bryson won the US Open, there was a surge by some of the best players in the world to catch up to him, including Rory freaking McIlroy, one of the best drivers of the ball ever. Rory chased the distance, and he messed himself up; he was already one of the longer guys. His chase to get even longer following Bryson was a detriment to his game; he even admitted publicly that it was a mistake, and hurt his game, he lost his swing. Anytime you chase distance, that is a risk you are going to take. You can also hurt yourself chasing distance. Injuries are hard to overcome in golf; it's a grind that just keeps going, and once you get to a new level, getting back to that level after taking 6 months off is pretty difficult. Just look at Bryson right now; he is dealing with a bunch of injuries; Tiger has dealt with injuries for the last 15 years, he swings hard, and it has had an impact on his body. There are some risks to chasing distance if you don’t do it right. Rory and Bryson have the best technology and coaches on the planet, and they hurt themselves chasing distance, be careful if you decide you want to go that route!
Dos of Chasing Distance
When Chasing distance, there is no surefire way to go about it. But there are some great tools you can use to your advantage. When chasing distance, do use the CTRL Swing Master training aid in order to stay consistent and accurate while you work on your gains! Do use the Go Gator Gear Polo training aid to work on Maximizing your rotation to help you hit the ball farther. The Go Gator Gear Polo is the best way to chase distance. It's a sweet-looking golf polo with their patented channel designed into it. You slide an alignment stick into the channel, and it lets you do shoulder turn drills while you have an actual club in your hand. They are the best way to maximize your distance and shoulder rotation. They have specific drills they tell you to use to work on that shoulder turn, and you will gain distance if you use them! Make sure to use your Go Gator Gear Polo to maximize your shoulder rotation while using the CTRL Swing Master to build that consistency simultaneously! The last part of gaining distance is to work on your efficiency is what I call it. There is a way to maximize your distance without working out and adding to your gym routine. Use the clubhead speed you already have and tweak your angle of attack. The angle of attack is what angle your club comes down to the ball at. If your angle of attack is negative, anything with a driver, you can add massive gains by switching to a positive angle of attack. You can add 25 yards with ease going from a negative 2 angle of attack to a positive 4 angle of attack, just changing how you impact the ball. Going from an open face with an outside to an inside path is a weak swing; change that to a slightly open face, and a path that is in to out and you will see massive gains! I’m talking up to 30 yards with an 8 iron. But you have to be smart about it, or get a CTRL Swing Master to help you!
Don’ts of Chasing Distance
When chasing distance, there are a lot more don’ts than there are dos. Do not feel like you have to go to the gym to gain distance. Your bench press and squat do not really tie into your club head speed. Don’t feel like you need to be downing protein shakes. Don’t just swing harder on the course. Don’t just go buy the newest driver; that's a temporary fix. Don’t change too much about your swing. Play with attack angle with a coach, don’t just try to fix it yourself. Don’t count on throwing a medicine ball. Don’t switch to a whippier shaft to get that special kick. Don’t try just to swing harder and harder. They don’t really revolve around focusing on distance and potentially hurting yourself to get better.
Chasing distance can be a worthy goal; I won’t lie to you and say you cannot shave strokes by getting longer off the tee because you can. Having shorter clubs into the greens makes golf an easier game, but you can also do that by teeing it forward, moving up a tee or two, and having less club into the greens. If you are trying to play competitively, it helps to be long off the tee. All in all, if you are going to chase distance, the best tool in your arsenal is going to be your Go Gator Gear Training Polo which will help you maximize your rotation!