Distance control is key to developing constancy. The most basic step towards creating good distance control is knowing how far all your clubs go with a full swing. Knowing your base distances will not only help improve your consistency, but increase your confidence on the course.
Here are two ways of refining your distance knowledge.
- At the range
- Pick a target with known distance
- Swing only at 80%
- Keep hitting towards that target till you’re confident
The best place to develop your distance control is at the driving range. Do not just bang out that bucket. Instead, pick a target for every single shot. When picking a target, first measure its distance from you. The most accurate way to do this is with a laser rangefinder. If one is not available, be sure to choose a target with a marked distance or ask the driving range staff about the yardages.
Then, when you have a target selected, hit enough shots till you find the club you can confidently, and consistently, reach said target with. A key to this step is to swing at 80% power. Tour professionals rarely, if ever, swing at 100% and neither should you. At 80%, your strikes, and therefore your distances should be more consistent.
When practicing your distance control, be mindful of the conditions as well. Yes, even in the generally stable Hawaii weather in a “controlled” environment like a driving range, conditions matter. Whether you are on a matt or grass, hitting into or with the wind, or even the condition of the range balls can all also affect your distance. This does not mean your practice is wasted if the wind is particularly gusty during your range session. It just means you have more factors to put towards your personal swing evaluation.
- On the course
- Be mindful of your distances
Though ideally it is best to work on distance away from the course, it is still something you can keep in mind while playing. When you are having distance control problems, do not just pay attention to how far you have left. You should also keep track of how far your clubs are going.
One way of doing this is with a GPS rangefinder system (like the one on our Ewa Beach Golf Club app). Most of these systems allow you to measure your distance both to the hole and from the tee. By paying attention to both numbers, you will begin to solidify your knowledge of your own swing.
Even more so than with the driving range, conditions will always play a huge role in your distance on the course. Wind, lie, moisture, etc. will affect your distance in some way. For example, specifically for golf in Hawaii, the difference between playing in Kona and Trade winds goes beyond a switch in wind direction. Kona winds are generally weaker with more humidity, which will dampen distance. Nice strong trade winds, though, could affect your ball two clubs off of your standard distance.
Keep these factors in mind while you are practicing and soon you will find yourself selecting, and therefore hitting, your clubs with more confidence.