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Dave Pelz's Fast New Ways to Lower Your Handicap

Driving Patterns Dave Pelz
Robin Griggs
DRIVING PATTERNS

Overlaying amateur tee shots on the 540-yard par-5 fourth at Arrowhead Country Club on top of ShotLink's Tour driving data shows a huge distance gap.

Your big problem
You overswing and lose balance when driving

My New Research on DRIVING
Poor balance, direction and target selection are killing your accuracy and distance

THE COLD HARD FACTS
Driving Distance
As handicaps go below 15, average driving distance increases rapidly

 

PGA Tour 289 yards
0 Handicap 245 yards
10 Handicap 218 yards
20 Handicap 173 yards
30 Handicap 173 yards

 

Driving Accuracy
Fairways hit improves with handicap

 

PGA Tour 64%
0 Handicap 50%
10 Handicap 48%
20 Handicap 26%
30 Handicap 34%

 

Rough Tendency
The ratio of hitting drives in the right rough vs. the left rough increases with handicap.

 

  L/R
PGA Tour 1/1.09
0 Handicap 1/2.48
10 Handicap 1/1.12
20 Handicap 1/1.71
30 Handicap 1/1.50

 

Why your numbers are bad

1. PROS don't lose balance — or change foot position — until they complete their swing and walk away.
YOU swing your driver so hard you fall off balance.
(While the players we measured rarely did this on practice swings, it was almost the norm on real tee shots.)

2. PROS rarely swing their driver at 100 percent.
YOU try to hit the ball as far as you can with your driver, trying to squeeze every inch possible out of your swing.
(In interviews, most of the amateurs answered 'as far as I can' when asked how far they expected to hit their drives. Although they usually laughed when they said this, I believe they meant it.)

3. PROS aim down the right or left sides of the fairway, anticipating that the ball will draw or fade back to the center.
YOU have no bias in aim direction, nor do you favor a side of the tee box to compensate for your tendency to hit drives left or right of your setup alignment.
(The amateurs we measured consistently teed the ball in the center of the tee box and aimed straight down the middle of the fairway.)

How to make them better

Throttle back
Commit to "swinging within yourself" and finishing in balance without moving your feet. This may mean using only 85 to 90 percent of your available power (or effort), but your results will improve because of it. Good balance is fundamental to good golf. You can't hit drives repeatedly in the fairway without it.

Favor the fade
Aim left if you usually slice. I know you don't want to play for a slice and you'd rather take a chance on hitting one straight (or even with a draw), but this attitude hurts your scores. Always play the best you can with the game you brought to the course that day. If you want to eliminate your slice, work on it during practice at the range. On the course, aim down the left side and get your drives to stop in the short grass.

Hit for accuracy
Do whatever it takes to hit the fairway, even if that means hitting 3-wood or a hybrid off the tee. If you give up 10 percent of distance for 10 percent more accuracy, you'll shoot lower scores.

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