Add 40 Yards to Your Golf Drives by Improving your Club-face Contact
What can you do to increase your distance off the tee? Focusing your golf swing on hitting the ball in the centre of the club face – centre contact – will give you the maximum distance for your swing and club-head speed. Understanding where you currently make contact can help you make the adjustments necessary to optimize your driver distance.
What is Centre Contact? – You hear them say sweet spot.
Back when drivers were made of real wood they had an artificial insert in the middle of the club face. The insert was typically attached by screws, and the placement of the screws usually defined the centre of the club-face, giving rise to the phrase “hitting it on the screws” when referring to a particularly well-hit drive.
Of course modern metal drivers don’t have screws, but the concept remains the same: Hit it on the screws and it goes farther – and the difference can be significant.
How important is Centre Contact?
For instance, a 100 mph swing will drive the ball approximately 240 yards if hit perfectly square. A hit that is ¼ inch off-centre will decrease distance 2-3%, or 3-5 yards. A hit that is ½ inch off-centre will decrease distance 5%, or 12 yards. A hit that is ¾ inch off centre will decrease distance 10-15%, or 25-40 yards!
In this case we are referring to a ball that is hit in the middle of the club-face as well as hit with a club-face that is square to the club path. Keep in mind, though, that ¾ of an inch is only about the diameter of a dime. With today’s big club faces, you could be substantially farther from centre, which could be costing you
How can you tell where you are Contacting the Ball?
Club manufacturers and club fitters use “impact tape” stuck to the club face to determine where you are contacting the ball. Check with your local PGA Pro and ask to use some impact tape if you want to check your impact location.
Make Your Own Budget Strike Detector
Or you can create your own “budget” impact detector with a range ball and a magic marker. Just make a pea-sized dot on the range ball and align your ball on the tee so that the dot is directly in the back. Hit the ball, and a mark will transfer to your driver face. Presto! You’ll know exactly how far away from centre you are making contact.
Make Set-Up or Swing Adjustments to Improve Centre Contact Consistency
The next step is to make whatever adjustments to your set-up or swing needed to make better centre contact. Sometimes it will be as simple as moving closer or farther from the ball at address. Other times you may need to make a swing adjustment. Set-up adjustments are far easier to incorporate than swing changes, so that’s a great place to start. If you need to make a swing change, try taking your specific issue to a PGA Pro. You’ll improve much faster than trial and error on your own.
Learning how to hit your drives in the centre of the club face can improve your driving distance. You can quickly check your impact tendencies with impact tape, or a simple magic marker and a range ball. Knowing where you make contact on the club-face can help you determine whether you need a golf swing change or a set-up change. If you are off by ¾ of an inch or more, you could pick up an additional 20 to 40 yards off the tee by improving your contact position.
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