According to 2014 Trackman data, the average LPGA pro gets about as much carry distance as I get from carry and roll combined.
Well, I’ve never been too embarrassed by it. The world is full women who can kick the tar out of me in a fight, are faster, stronger, throw harder, jump higher….
I guess the question becomes, should I worry that I don’t hit as far as the best 100 women on the planet?
The question has less to do with ego and more to do with practice, potential, and gaining a grasp on reality.
I’m fully aware of the advantage distance provides when comparing one golfer to another with all other skills being equal. I’m also aware that we all have physical and learning curve limitations.
I’m not sure how far I could hit my clubs if I had a perfect swing. As is the case with any other crappy player, I’ve hit shots with my irons that were freakishly long. I’m not talking about the few yards gained by just hitting the sweet spot, or those hit thin that carry almost as much as a normal shot but then fly through the green for 20 additional yards, or ones that hit a cart path or sprinkler head.
I mean shots where I did something to generate additional club head speed AND hit the center of the face, resulting in an otherwise normal trajectory that just continues to climb, bringing about a where the $@!% did that come from? thought, followed by a quick glance to make sure the correct club was pulled.
Fortunately, these types of shots rarely occur because they usually result in a missed target. But they do provide the only glimpse into what might be if my mechanics were sound.
When practicing with the same club, a pattern of variance becomes visible. Shots with too much side spin, or ones hit fat will be way short or will miss badly. There will be those hit “pure” and travel a bit beyond the average distance.
But it’s the percentage of “ok shots” that make or break my score.
These shots make up my shot zones and what club selection is based upon. When my ok shots are on, my iron game is at it’s best. Yes, there will always be the pulls or pushes and shots hit slightly fat or thin. But what drives me to improve throughout the winter is the hope of starting and finishing a season owning a swing that will provide the best chance to keep the ball in play and hit a lot of greens. A swing which reduces the really bad misses which destroy a round. A dependable, predictable swing.
Thinking about what the average PGA players hit is so far out of reach it becomes a pointless exercise, even-counter productive. Unless of course that PGA pro is Corey Pavin.
Hole 6 of my home course is a short par 4 dog leg left when played from the white tees. The fairway rolls downhill a bit. Because of the terrain, I averaged 160yds with my 7 iron on this hole, a full 20 yard beyond my stock distance for that club. But I then have to hit to an elevated green. Depending on where my tee shot lands left or right, I might use that same 7i full swing for a 125yd approach. Pulling off that approach shot is a great feeling despite the "shameful" distance. It meant I knew my game and was able to execute the shot that gave me the best chance.
So when practicing and trying to learn the 5 keys, this is what I’m really after. If realizing a greater distance potential comes about from an improved swing, great! But reducing those score damaging duffs, slices and hooks are what seems most important.