Importance of Controlled Power
I saw an interesting video clip yesterday where Greg Norman was describing the best driving tip he ever had. Very early in his golf career, before he even turned professional, he said his instructor told him to learn to hit the driver as hard as he could. As he explained, once he learned to hit it as hard as he could, he then learned how much he could back off of that to get great control.
He further explained that because he learned to hit it very hard early, his "backed-off 85% swing produced bigger drives than many of his competitors did with their full power swings, but his advantage was that he was much straighter because he was really backing off of his full power. A look at old PGA Tour statistics will reveal that Greg Norman in his prime was one of the best overall drivers of the ball in golf.
Hmmmmmmm. Power + accuracy. Pretty awesome combination off the tee, huh?
The lesson here is the same as I preach when I reference Ben Hogan's Power Golf, published in 1949. In the chapter on equipment, Hogan lists his "Regular", "Maximum" and "Minimum" distance with each club in his bag, from drive on down to sand wedge. What is interesting is that through all his irons, his "maximum" is 25 yards longer than his "regular" distance. So Hogan discovered that to optimize his accuracy with his irons, he should hit them much softer, more controlled, than his full power swing. But he had those yards in reserve if he needed them.
Is that the way you play your irons? If you don't hit 14+ greens a round in regulations, maybe you should.
What I see most often in amateur golf is that we all go at it too hard. And we hit it all over the lot as a result. Swinging harder than the controlled power that Norman was explaining, and that Hogan was illustrating, can only result in inconsistent contact and missed fairways and greens.
The next time you play, throttle back on your driver swings and think accuracy, rather than distance. See what happens. Then on your approach shots, take at least one club longer than you normally would — maybe even two — and put a relaxed controlled swing on it. I think you'll be amazed that you don't lose that much distance, actually, but your accuracy and distance control improve exponentially.
Let's all go out and play this way this weekend and chime in here with our results.
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Great article. Sure helped me right away.
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