Unfortunately, I seem to hear this a lot lately: Help! I’ve lost distance. Certainly not everyone is experiencing this but if you are, here are a few things to consider when you seem to be losing distance.
What has changed?
There are a lot of things to consider if you seem to be losing distance. Here are a few symptoms that we see in our fittings:
- I changed my (driver, irons, etc.) and I have lost a lot of distance.
- Ok, so what changed? Different shafts? Different head design?
- I started hitting smother hooks, push fades and have no idea why?
- Well, now you are probably not making consistent contact and optimizing your “smash factor” so you are losing distance. Injury? Sore back? Tendonitis? Trying a new swing change?
- I am getting a little older but I still work out and feel in great shape.
- Yes, but as we age, our flexibility gets worse and we are not making as big of turn, losing extension, and not being as aggressive in your swing and follow through. Result: Loss of club speed and maybe poorer contact.
If you have changed equipment, the obvious things to look at are lofts, shaft lengths, shaft flexes, and shaft weights. Are you hitting the ball higher/lower than you did in the past? Do your new clubs feel heavier/lighter than your old ones? Are you making less solid contact (more thin or fat shots)? Some of our customers think that changing to lighter shafts is the answer. Well, maybe. But don’t get crazy. If you have been playing Dynamic Gold S300’s for years and are losing distance, do NOT go to a 65 gram graphite shaft. The new shafts will play way too soft (flexible) and light resulting in poorer contact, especially for more aggressive swings. Do NOT change your shaft weight by more than 20 grams (lighter or heavier) without consulting a qualified clubfitter to verify your results! Same with shaft flexes. You do not change things like club speed dramatically overnight so neither should you change your shaft flex dramatically!
Unless you are working with a swing coach, some of the DIY changes you are making could actually be hurting your performance. Going to a weaker grip, for example, to eliminate the pull hooks you have been experiencing, may cause you to now it a high fade which will rob you of distance. So do yourself a favor and find a good swing coach that can help you get that distance back.
Strength and Flexibility
This can be a real factor in why you may be losing distance. Golf, the the big guns are showing us, is not a game, it is now a sport. Sports require training and conditioning to maintain performance. Probably the most important things to work on are flexibility and core strength. There are plenty of fitness groups out there but I would look for a TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) certified trainer and make a commitment. I did and it made a world of difference.
Ok, time to get real. In our modern world, we are pressed for time so we try to find a “quick fix”. No time for a swing tune-up? Work-outs seem to be boring? Well, you can to a certain extent “buy” a game with some equipment changes. So here we go.
- Get a new(er) driver with the right shaft. If your driver is more than three years old, technology has really advanced, so check them out.
- Swap out more irons for properly fitted hybrids. It is amazing how much more distance you can get these days with the new hybrids. But, be careful. Shafts are really poor in off-the-rack hybrids.
- Try some lighter weight shafts. While this is not a cure for every golfer, changing out shafts for slightly lighter and even more flexible shafts can improve distance. The lines are also blurring between graphite and steel.
- Change your golf ball. If you are playing a typical high performance golf ball like Pro v1x, TP-5x, or Chrome Soft X, try some of the newer softer golf balls. You may be pleasantly surprised.
So, don’t despair. You can get most if not all of your distance back! Some of it will require a little more work, but in the end, you will play better golf and have more fun!