Why the Fascination With Distance?

Over the years, I’ve seen players of all skill levels become obsessed with hitting the ball farther. And I can’t figure out why this is. PGA Tour stats continuously show no correlation between driving distance and scoring. As of this writing, of the current top 10 in PGA Driving Distance, only one shows up in the top 10 for scoring average. Every golfer says they want lower scores, but most continue to spend thousands on new equipment that promises a few extra yards, and practice greens all over are lonely, desolate places. A long drive does not guarantee a birdie.

So how to you avoid this temptation? Here are a few thoughts / tips:

• Mute the TV when watching golf. Every golf announcer talks endlessly about the players that hit it the farthest. And they show slow motion videos of Bubba Watson hitting a driver, but rarely break down Steve Stricker’s putting stroke.

• Play a few rounds without your driver. Then compare to your rounds with the driver. I’d bed that you won’t see much difference in the results, and may find that hitting your driver all the time puts you into trouble more than other clubs. This is not by accident. Golf courses are designed with obstacles (bunkers, water, trees, etc.) placed in the landing zones of average drives. So playing without a driver can teach you course management and help you avoid many obstacles.

• Track your stats. Fairways, GIR, and putts. Compare your scoring on holes where you hit driver vs. others, and keep track of how many penalty strokes come from the driver.

• Skip the range—ask the Pro Shop if you need directions to the practice green.

• Use a 2-1 ratio for your practice time. Spend twice as much time on the short game as on the full swing.
I’m interested in your thoughts and ideas on this. Do you fall into the distance trap? Email us, or post your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter.


Brant Kasbohm, PGA