By Paul Myers
It can be a great feeling to have ample swing speed at your disposal. Even a long golf course suddenly is far less intimidating when you can launch the ball down the fairway, or hit towering iron shots that come down soft. It isn’t necessarily enough, however, to have that power at your disposal – you need to know when and how to best use it. If you simply try to hit each shot around the golf course as hard and far as you can, good consistent results are probably unlikely. Rather, it can be good to demonstrate discipline and patience in order to get the most from your power.
Picking Your Spots
Depending on the type of golf course you are playing, there are likely to be some holes on the golf course that welcome the use of your power, and others that will punish you for missing just slightly. You job is to pick and choose the right times to be aggressive with your shots, and when to hit less club and make sure you stay in good position.
For example, a short par five might usually be a good time to try for a long drive so you can reach the green in two – but if there are hazards on both sides of the fairway, and deep bunkers around the green – you might be better served to play the hole in three shots and make sure you stay on the short grass. While it isn’t as fun to lay up on a par five, scoring-wise, you decision making should be first and foremost concerned with making the best score possible.
Not All Drives Must Be 100%
Just because you are hitting a driver doesn’t mean you have to give it maximum speed on every swing. Sometimes, a swing at about 90-95% effort is all that is required to hit a nice shot down the middle of the fairway and set up a comfortable approach. You won’t get any bonus points at the end of the round for hitting long drives on every hole, so don’t worry about smashing it off every tee. On the average, drives at 90-95% will probably be longer than the ones at 100% anyway. Instead, think of your round of golf like a chess match – for scoring it is all about position and putting yourself in the best spot to succeed on the golf course.
Trust Your Eye
Sometimes, a shot just doesn’t look right when you are getting ready to hit it. Even if you know you have the power to clear a hazard and reach the green, don’t fight your instincts if you are fully comfortable with taking on the shot. Good golf requires complete conviction, and you won’t be committed to a shot if you are doubting whether or not you should be trying it in the first place. Good decision making is part logical and part emotional – trust what your gut feeling is telling you and don’t go for a shot unless you are totally convinced that you can handle it.
By spending your practice time working on adding swing speed to your game, you are putting a valuable weapon in your arsenal on the golf course. However, just as important as being able to hit long drives, is knowing when to use them. Before each round, think about your strategy for the day and then adjust accordingly – even if that means you have to resist the temptation of the driver from time to time.
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