The REAL secrets to hitting the golf ball farther.

IMO, the most important thing in this article is the last sentence.

I am sorry, but it is this long driver’s opinion that every “swing system” ever devised will not make you hit the ball farther or play better. No system is going to work for more than a very small percentage of people…if it actually works for anyone at all.

There is also no such thing as adding 30 yards instantly by the change of equipment or change of swing from one day to the next. If you are an experienced golfer and you take advantage of everything you can, you might be able to add 10-15 yards over several months.

If you are an inexperienced golfer, distance improvement can be much greater, but it still takes time. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES IN GOLF. Any one that tries to sell you that, might as well throw in some beach front property in Florida and part of the Brooklyn Bridge. Improvement in golf is small and it takes hundreds or even thousands of repetitions for it to become part of your muscle memory. Anything else is just a band aid that ends up being a bad habit.

Experienced or inexperienced, the object of making changes in your golf game is not about shooting one low round tomorrow. It is about your handicap being lower 6 months from now.

So here are some things that will make you longer and better 6 months from now. Don’t try to do everything at once. One step at a time. If you don’t understand something or disagree…immediately disregard it.

1. A driver that fits you. To get maximum yardage from a driver, you must have the proper loft and shaft flex.

2. Increase your flexibility. Stretching every morning before you go play for 15-30 minutes (I do), will add more yardage to your game than weight lifting or equipment changes. Lower back, hamstrings and shoulders/rotator cuffs are the ones I concentrate on.

3. Rotational exercises. Any kind of motion that will help you increase how well your torso rotates. I take a small (ladies size) 6 lb. medicine ball and swing it like a golf club while engaging the core muscles in my stomach. The smaller the ball, the better. I don’t like the use of weighted clubs. It ruins your feel and can cause tears in your wrists, elbows and shoulders.

4. Balance. You can swing as hard as you want as long as it is in balance. This “swing easy” nonsense is just a band aid to avoid being in balance and having good rhythm. I wrote about this in a previous post. If you click on “instruction and advice” on the right side of the blog and scroll back, you will find it.

5. Proper rhythm. If you allow the club to set at the top of your swing, you will be able to generate more speed coming into the ball. That does not mean a really slow back swing. There is nothing worse for club head speed than a deathly slow back swing that ends in a quick transition at the top. The speed of your back swing only needs to be slow enough for the club to set. Think of the 1-2 count of a grandfather clock pendulum.

6. Constant, medium grip pressure. You don’t want it too light or you won’t be able to help but increase it during the swing. You also don’t want to death grip it.

7. A proper release. Here is where a lot of people have been misinformed. Everyone knows that throwing or casting the club makes you lose power and speed. A large section of the golf public has been brainwashed into believing that adding lag on the way down increases speed and distance. WRONG! This method has worked for an extremely small percentage of golfers, but the vast majority have been ruined by this. If you increase lag on the way down, you bury it to the inside and the club face is also open. You will have to slow your rotation to allow the club to square from that position or risk blocking it way right. In addition, adding lag narrows your arc, which reduces club head speed and increases spin because the angle is steeper. Sorry to get technical, but way too many people have been sold this bill of goods. A proper release is a constant rotation of the club face from the top of the swing all the way to the finish. A proper release will result in the wrists touching shortly after impact. Some people will be afraid this causes a hook. Actually, starting the release too late is what causes the big hooks, as a flip is necessary at the bottom to avoid a block when the face is open. Proper lower body and shoulder rotation will keep a proper release from going left. I know…a lot of info and none of it is necessary to know. I just needed to go into technobabble to inform those who have been told to over lag the club.

To sum up the above mess. Rotate your shoulders and try and touch your wrists as soon as you can. As long as you are rotating, that will be the release you want.

8. Use centrifugal force (CF) to your advantage. If it’s good enough for NASA, it should be good enough for you. If you take a bucket of water and spin around, CF is what pushes the water to the bottom of the bucket and keeps it from flying out. CF will speed the club up and get your arms to full extension if you don’t counteract it. Examples of counteracting CF: adding lag, burying the club to the inside, swinging inside/out, throwing/casting the club, diving at it with your head (are you listening Tiger?), “swinging easy,” or grabbing it with your hands and pulling it into your body. CF will also help you square the club if you don’t counteract it.

9. Don’t try to increase your arc on the back swing. You want to keep your hands the same distance from your chest that they are at address. “Low and slow” will get the club behind you and numbers 4-8 on this list go out the window when that happens.

10. Last, but not least, know what “completing your back swing” means. “Complete your back swing,” “low and slow,” and forced lagging of the club are in a dead heat for things people try to hit it farther and end up ruining their game. Golfers trying to “complete their back swing” almost 100% of the time end up making a back swing that is way too long. It ends up being a huge arm swing after their shoulder turn is finished and once your arm swing takes over for your shoulder turn…turn out the lights.

Put a shaft across your chest touching your shoulders and hold it there with both hands. Turn you shoulders as far as they will go. Then without moving, grip the club normally and extend your hands away from your body to where they would be after taking a back swing. That is a full back swing for you individually and anything longer than that is bad. More than 90% of all golfers aren’t flexible enough to take it to parallel. Almost 100% strive for parallel. Exactly 100% of all golfers who are trying to “complete their back swing” go well past their maximum shoulder turn with their arms.

If someone tells you your swing is too long and you respond, “I am trying to complete my back swing.” Guess what?

I have eight letters for you. JB Holmes. One of the longest hitters on the PGA Tour, with the shortest back swing…and not to be rude, but none of you are as flexible, hit as many balls or as talented as Fred Couples, Bubba Watson and John Daly. Some of you may drink as much as Daly, but that doesn’t count.
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You might think this is semantics, but it isn’t. Golf is not about forcing yourself to do what is right. It is about avoiding things that are wrong and allowing what is right to happen.

30 Responses to “ “The REAL secrets to hitting the golf ball farther.”

  1. Tony Kim says:

    Incredible post Monte!

    Something that I’ve always noticed about your swing tips and instruction is that they seem to be have a lot of potential in helping people with their games while minimizing the risk that you’ll actually hurt their games instead. I really have to cringe at some of the stuff I read in some of the major golf publications. I don’t know HOW many times I’ve read about how one should create a HUGE arc on their backswing..lol. That line of thought really hurt my game for so many years. Same with that lagging your clubhead on the downswing garbage. Rule #10 also applies to me…big time.

    Thanks for this post!

  2. doug shepherd says:

    Monte, I have conversed with you a couple times on GEA since you joined the website. I have to say after playing 30+ years the last 23 at a CC ( tough to hang on in this economy) you have to be one of the best guys at cutting the the BS I have come across. Keep it up, Doug

  3. meateater says:

    Monte,

    Lot of good points. About the release, do you think it is more about letting the centrifugal force work or do you advocate actively trying to uncock the wrists on the way down and roll the forearms over?

    Could you describe what you feel from the top? Are you concentrating on starting with the lower body? Do you try to keep your arms passive or are you trying to fire your arms down? What are you doing differently playing actual golf from a LD competition in terms of yur swing?

    Thanks much.

    • On the release, it’s individual, but it has been my experience that you can’t release the club too early if you are turning. The steady improvement in my game started when I tired to release it from the top. The reason why so many people don’t do this is because most of them think the release is the throw/cast and if you do that from the top, you don’t hit the ball very far.

      I try to do everything in sync. If I start with the lower body, I get the club stuck and open. I try to keep the arms out of it and let CF get them extended.

      In LD, I would just setup left and swing as hard as I could. On the course, i used to try and work the ball with the contour of the fairway. I am trying to get back to that.

  4. Keith says:

    Great post. I agree with absolutely everything you said.

  5. Monte,
    You can’t say things like this; “There is also no such thing as adding 30 yards instantly by the change of equipment or change of swing from one day to the next.” By looking at Golf Magazine/Golf Digest over the last 10 years I should be knocking my drives 350-400 yards with the “gain extra 30 yards” instructions each year. I have yet to see a consistent 20 yard gain by changing equipment, over a period of time I have seen a 10-15 yard increase with better ball striking. My swing speed is what it is and has not changed that much, I would think added swing speed with better ball striking would be the key to longer drives and irons. Would that be making it to simple? Once again great post, I always look forward to seeing what you have to say. If you think getting out to play and practice with one kid is tough try it with 4 kids, somehow I maintain a decent Hcp and can still shoot in the mid 70’s with keeping it simple.

    Don

    Don

  6. Rusty says:

    Great post. However, I’m not sure I want my golfing buddies to read it. It’s too spot on. I’m much smaller than they are and out drive them always. I also take their money.

  7. Matt says:

    Don’t let this go to your head – You think much like the Late teachers Harvey Penick and Claude Harmon

  8. Claude Gravel says:

    Sounds good overall. But your bit on increased lag makes no sense. The physics do not lie: within reasonable limits, the natural (passive) release gives you less clubhead speed than the delayed release for a same arm speed. Leaving the face open? Flipping the wrists? Well, one have obviously to adjust his swing mechanics when you change the release: most of the time, just a stronger grip will do.

    • I disagree with you on the same premise that I disagree with a lot of Dave Pelz’s theories. I understand the physics. I was won the national and world long drive because of this. The odds of an amateur golfer who practices occasionally implementing increased lag properly and squaring the club face are very small, stronger grip or not. Golf is not unlike any other facet of life when it come to mathematics. What is mathematically sound on paper and what works in reality are often two different things.

      Plus don’t misunderstand. I am not advocating throwing the lag away. I said that specifically. I am advocating people not adding lag on the downswing. Most people can’t handle doing that, especially if it makes their down swing significantly narrower than their back swing.

  9. hackgolfer says:

    Great post!!!…and omg i laughed when my instructor said today I’m too long in my backswing.

  10. Shakey Focus Lou says:

    That video on youtube of you at the driving range. Is that your normal swing these days? I noticed that your club at the top was WELL short of parrallel. Are you able to get crazy distance without seeing the clubhead out of your left eye at the top of the swing?

    • The shortness of the swing is normal, the slight stack and tilt is not. I don’t know how that video got on youtube. I didn’t post it. I was working on someting weird that day.

      • Shakey Focus Lou says:

        I’ve tried a shorter backswing on my shorter irons, and it seems to go just as far (sometimes farther) and with more consistency, but didn’t know if it would apply to a driver as well. As an occasional golfer (once every 2 or 3 months), I think a shorter backswing will probably give me more consistency without practice. Knowing you can still spank it a good distance is good to know. So far I’ve incorporated your tips: 1) Loosen grip, 2) Good balance, 3) Maintain spine angle, 4) Rotate shoulders, 5) Hit down on ball, and my scores have improved with zero practice. Maybe a shorter backswing will help me better control some of my shots that lead to the couple of 7s and 8s that seem to screw up my score.

        • Shorter back swing for occasional golfers almost always leads to lower scores and longer drives and here is why. The shorter backswing ends up being the same shoulder turn and and a shorter arm swing. That is what you want.

  11. Tony Kim says:

    Monte,

    Any thoughts on hip turn? I remember when articles about how one should minimize hip turn were in vogue for a while. The reasoning behind minimizing your hip turn was so that you can maximize your body’s coil…like twisting a spring (example right out of several articles!). Totally bogus or is this actually a good thing?

    • This is another one of those theories that might make sense mathematically, like increasing lag on the downswing, but is totally bogus in practice for most people. For the vast majority of people is makes there swing very nonathletic and ends up being an all arm swing. The more you restrict you hip turn, the more tension you create at the base fo your spine.

  12. Smitty says:

    What part of the wrists are your trying to touch shortly after impact?

    • If your club is square and on plane, the butt end of the club will point to the spot where the ball was. To get to that position just past impact, your forearms must have rotated and the inside of your wrists will be together.

  13. Smitty says:

    Thanks for the help. Shot a 76 over the weekend (easy course) with no duck hooks. Did slice a few drives, but for practicing a hour a week that is not bad.

    Not sure I figured out the release but will spend more time at the range to get the hang of it.

    • Here is the thing with the release. Just like I said in another post, golf is about avoiding the bad things and the good things will happen automatically. If you rotate your lower body and shoulders, don’t grip it too tight and don’t add some stupid mainstream magical golf cliche (adding lag, swinging inside/out or implementing x- factor) the proper release will happen.

      I just explained what the proper release was so people wouldn’t try and avoid it by doing one of those ugly things I put in parenthesis above.

  14. smitty says:

    Where is the ball positioned? Do you believe in the moving according to club or the same position for all clubs?

    • I believe in different positions for each club…for myself and for most people. Just like anything else in golf, there are always exceptions.

      Generally speaking, driver off the left instep or heel and LW off the middle…with everything else staggered in between is a good place to start and adjust from there as needed.

  15. Zeriwheerse says:

    Hi; Ive been skimming this site for a bit. Wanted to tell how special this site is!

  16. peter mies says:

    Do you actually come to a set/pause at the top and then start down?
    Peter

    • Depends on how you look at it. All swings have to pause, even if it is for an extremely short time, in order to change direction. Very few people can have good rhythm with a complete noticeable stop. You just want the change of direction to be smooth.

  17. peter mies says:

    what do you think about the “gurus” who advocate ‘keeping the right wrist bent’ through the entire swing…
    Thanks
    P

    btw…played today and tried all different swing ideas but it wasn’t till I focused on returning the club on the shaft plane, release from the top and be in sync that I produced a perfect ball flight, nice tight draw and acceptable distance

    • I think advocating keep a body part locked in that place is terrible. If you take it away properly, turn you body in snyc and release it properly, your wrist will do that automatically.

      If you go out and make a swing where you try and keep your wrist in that position…good luck.

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