Sunday, April 25, 2010

I only hit about 6 fairways out of 10. How can I improve on this stat?

You may not be aware but the most accurate driver on the PGA tour at year's end is 80%. And this stat is not a driver only stat as it includes teeing off with a club other then a driver such as a fairway wood. Yup, 8 out of 10 fairway's hit wins every year and the winner is never a long driver of the ball but rather one of the shorter hitters out there such as Fred Funk who has won the most accurate driver title several times in his career. So 6 out of 10 fairways is not that bad but actually pretty good.

Let's look at an average golfer for a moment. If you go out to your local driving range and watch golfers hit their drivers, what do you see? If you see two or three golfers out of ten who can consistently hit the ball straight, on a nice trajectory, you're there on a good day. I am not talking about hitting 300 yard drives right down the middle but rather the ball flying high and straight, landing downrange at any reasonable distance, within 20 yards on either side of its intended target. Name any other recreational pursuit in which one of its most common goals seems so unattainable by so many people. It is safe to say that far less then half of all golfers can consistently get off the tee with a driver successfully - and that's being charitable. Now, imagine any other consumer product that works only half the time in the hands of an average user. A product like that would be off the market in a week; yet we golfers just shrug our shoulders and say, "Man, it is a tough game."

I looked the other day and this year's Masters Champion, Phil Mickelson, was ranked 132 out of 134 PGA Pros at 46% of fairways hit. Hard to believe.

But getting back to your question: the first thing to do would be to measure your current driver regarding length, loft, face angle, shaft flex, total weight, grip size, etc. Then have you hit some balls and record your swing characteristics/tendencies and see how well your swing matches up with your driver. Chances are good that a few changes may have you hitting an extra fairway or two. For example, if you are a RH golfer whose misses are usually out to the right and your current driver has a square or slightly open face angle, then you would do well with a driver whose face angle is 1 or 2 degrees closed. Just common sense, plain and simple.

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