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Gytaryst

Thoughts on Distance

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Hi, I've played (on and off) for years. I've always been a hack shooting in the 100-110 range. The lowest I've ever shot was probably 97 or 98. 

I stopped playing back in the 80's - life, work, parenting, college, all took up my time. I got back into it briefly in the late 90's for a couple of years, but again, things changed and I just stopped going. 

Third time's a charm? No. I retired in 2012 and was bored so I took up golf (once again) in 2013 -2014. I was older now with a lot of health issues. Mainly a severe bad back, very limited motion, and 80 pounds of extra flab I never had before. After a year of trying to get back into it, I could only ever drive the ball 180 yards, (and not consistently). I went out with my step-son and a friend of his (the last time I went out). They chose a course where you had to hit at least 200 yards just to get to the fairway. It was embarrassing. I sold my clubs and gave it up . . . again

But I missed it, so I'm back at it again. I've been researching it a lot more. I've taken one lesson (which was just hitting the 8 iron). I tracked every shot on the last 5 rounds I played and my average drive is about 158, (total). Yesterday I took my old Cobra driver and a brand new TaylorMade M6 to a launch monitor and hit 100 balls. My average carry (with my driver) was probably 130-140 and my average distance was probably 155-160. I hit a few 178-182. Not very consistent at all. With the TaylorMade I did even worse.

My question, given my bad back and crappy knees, is it possible with lessons that I might gain 20-40 yards? If I can't hit at least 200 consistently it's no fun playing.

 

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Lose the weight. Seriously. It might not resolve all your physical issues but it sure will help.

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well, how far could you hit it back in the 80s?  how limited do you feel when you swing?  do you feel like your bad back, knees, 80 pounds is limiting your flexibility?  I'm sure lessons would help you at least gain an understanding hopefully of how to swing a club to create speed.  You'd be amazed at the amount of elite athletes in some sports that swing a golf club like it's a broom stick or something.  Also, if you're playing on courses where you have to hit 200 yards just to reach the fairway, maybe you're playing from the wrong tees?  Lose the ego and play from the tees that allow you to have the most fun and keep up the pace of play. 

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You should probably take a lesson or two and see what the pro says.  No one here can tell you if you will be able to ever hit a 200 yard drive.

The other thing would be to play Par 3 and Executive courses.  I realize everyone has a fascination with blasting a drive down a fairway, and parts unknown, but golf can be fun without “having” to hit a 200 yard drive just to reach a fairway.

John

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4 hours ago, downbylaw11 said:

Also, if you're playing on courses where you have to hit 200 yards just to reach the fairway, maybe you're playing from the wrong tees?  Lose the ego and play from the tees that allow you to have the most fun and keep up the pace of play. 

Yes...Please study the USGA play it forward chart. Also I remember @iacasposting charts on this forum that are helpful in choosing correct tees to match a player's distance. And I've found some courses that accommodate this by recommending a "mix" of tees throughout the 18. All very helpful to those of us who have lost speed and distance. Best, -Marv

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1 hour ago, MarvChamp said:

Yes...Please study the USGA play it forward chart. Also I remember @iacasposting charts on this forum that are helpful in choosing correct tees to match a player's distance. And I've found some courses that accommodate this by recommending a "mix" of tees throughout the 18. All very helpful to those of us who have lost speed and distance. Best, -Marv

Hehe, I'm not embarrassed to admit I usually play from the whites when I play by myself because I just wanna have fun and work on striking the ball.  Yeah, I'm a single digit and can handle the blues with my distance, but the way I see it is that whats the point in playing back tees if I'm still grinding to break 80 from the whites?  I'd rather play them until I no longer feel challenged by them. Which is why I think guys who suck, or don't hit it very far should be playing reds, regardless of age or gender

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Look at ball position with driver. Seriously, I was playing with a guy the other day in his 30,s and he hit a driver with the ball in the middle of his stance, he only hit it 200 yards at the most. I didnt say anything because i didnt want to be "that guy"

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8 hours ago, downbylaw11 said:

regardless of age or gender

Right! That's the point...I lost speed and distance so I play a course length right for me. I'm 73 but age doesn't matter. Thanks, -Marv

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Lessons might help the OP, and assuming a launch monitor is involved will tell him what his driver swing speed is. That swing speed will equate to his max driving distances. 

The lessons might also help with identifying the right lofted club, and style of club head to get the 200 yards the OP is seeking. 

A good friend of mine recently switched from a round, 460cc club head to one of those low profile, 460cc square driver heads. He gained an average of 7 yards on his drives. 7 yards doesn't sound like much, until you multiply it by the number of times he uses it during his rounds. 

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I'm 68 and have had thee back surgeries, I don't hit it that far anymore either. I carry maybe 190 and depending on course conditions maybe roll out to 210 to 215. I'm retired now so I play a lot more golf, usually two time a week (18 holes), One of those days I'm in a league with guys my age or older. I'll tell you what I, (we) have done:

1. In the league if you are older then 65 you hit from the gold tees (here in NY we have blue, white, gold and red), i.e., we play it forward as you should. We also play a best ball scramble so if you screw up a drive it is not the end of the world. We're there to have fun and get to the 19th hole. (Yes we put money on the game so the team with the best score gets some cash, we also have closest to the pin on Par 3s).

2. I dropped my weight from 210 to 173, feel much better, no it wasn't easy and I'm still working on it.

3. I spent a lot of time learning to hit my 3W to make up for my lack of distance off the tee, also my long irons for Par 3s. 

4. I follow the instructions off this site on "How To Hit a Driver", I think it is under Swing Thoughts??

5. I use a 10.5* Cobra F Max, (Offset), driver to help counter my fade / slice. Some guys I play with use a 12* driver for more loft / distance.

Anyway, those are just some ideas you may want to think about. I check my ego at the door and just play to have fun. I had a horrible day two weeks ago, kept pulling to left into the trees but I kept at it on the range, found out what I was doing wrong and corrected it. Last Friday I shot a legitimate 93, go figure, (not in league play). Most of all I have fun playing with good friends, we help each other out. 

Good luck,

Jim

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The first thing to do is to lose the 80 lbs without making excuses for it. Excess weight can be the cause of many, many issues. Particularly, in your case, your knees.

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Like so many others, I too have noticed a lack of distance over the years, and it all comes down to my swing speed.  I can no longer get up to 96, 98, 100 mph swing speed!  I'd tear a muscle in my back!

So, as seen below, I just screen printed an Excel spreadsheet of my golf clubs and merged it into Photoshop, to write on it.  I hope it helps others who are also 6' 0" and use everyday, common length, lie, loft, etc... clubs.  We are getting grayer and the belly gets a little pudgy, but we still keep on doing what we love to do!

Edit:  The 3iron is grayed in the spreadsheet, because it's in the closet, as the 21° Hybrid replaced it.  I never could hit it worth a damn anyway.

Golf.Distances.jpg

Edited by butchammon

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2 hours ago, Patch said:

A good friend of mine recently switched from a round, 460cc club head to one of those low profile, 460cc square driver heads. He gained an average of 7 yards on his drives. 7 yards doesn't sound like much, until you multiply it by the number of times he uses it during his rounds. 

Those gains had zero to do with the geometry of the club. If they did, Nike and Callaway wouldn't have given up o the gimmick a decade ago.

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Thanks everyone.

I now realize I asked a question no one can answer. I guess I'm grasping at straws. I was hoping I'd get an "I was in your shoes exactly and now I hit it 240 consistently - here's what I did..." response.

Right now the course I play is a winter "snow bird" resort community. 90% of the residents leave and go back to wherever from April to October. It's a nice course: par 72, 6,600 yards, 125 slope, 71 rating. It's 3 blocks from my house and I can play 18 holes with cart for less than $15 during the summer. I maybe see 2 or 3 other golfers the entire round. I play from the white tees which is (6,200 yards).

As fun as it is to go out by myself and have all the freedom and all the time in the world to devote to just improving my game at my own pace, part of thrill of the game (for me) is thinking that I'm going to eventually improve enough to not be embarrassed if I'm paired with others. Yes - it's an ego thing. I'm not so competitive that I have to be the best - at the same time I don't want to always be the worst in the group either.

So I'm just picked an arbitrary number of 200-220 yards off the tee. It seems like if I could consistently hit in that range, with an occasional 240+, and develop the skills for the rest of my game, I believe I could be good enough to not be worried about whether they pair me up with another group or not. If the chances are I'll probably never hit 200 consistently then I'll hang it up and find something else to occupy my time. I don't want to waste a bunch of time and energy on golf if I'm never going to be able to play at a mediocre level. 

I've had 3 lessons. One lesson I gave the guy $60 and he sat there texting on his phone while I hit balls with a launch monitor. Every now and then he'd say "Good job" or "Great swing." The last guy I only paid $40 and all I did was hit my 8 iron for an hour on a driving range - no launch monitor. 

I have no problem paying for lessons if they help. So far I'm not sure what the lessons did for me that I couldn't have done with youtube videos... but that's another topic. 

I know I'm not the only person in the history of the universe that's in my position. Just wondering if there was anyone out there with similar experience who could give me an idea of what I can expect.

I don't want to have to play par 3 courses from the ladies tees just to "feel" like I'm doing well. I'd rather not play at all.

 

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I understand how you feel, Gytaryst  (i.e. Guitarist? -- hey we might have something in common!) 🙂

Maybe a "senior" graphite shaft would help with you with your swing speed and allow you a little more distance.  I was always on the border of Stiff vs Regular shafts back in the day, and my all time record, longest drive -ever-, was witnessed by others, including the tailwind behind us, and measured off by a nearby sprinkler head:  284 yards!

But again, that was back in the day...  I can't do that now, nor could I ever do it no matter what equipment I tried out.

My son in law noticed me not hitting my Hybrid off the fairway decently one time, and made the comment, "What was that?  You didn't even do a full swing!  You did sort of a weird 3/4, type of chip shot!"  When I realized he was right, it explained by I only hit my Hybrid 150 yards down the fairway - extremely short of the green.

I hope you can get the distance you are looking for.  Hell, I hope to also!  Good luck! 🙂

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1 hour ago, cooke119 said:

I'm 68 and have had thee back surgeries, I don't hit it that far anymore either. I carry maybe 190 and depending on course conditions maybe roll out to 210 to 215. I'm retired now so I play a lot more golf, usually two time a week (18 holes), One of those days I'm in a league with guys my age or older. I'll tell you what I, (we) have done:

1. In the league if you are older then 65 you hit from the gold tees (here in NY we have blue, white, gold and red), i.e., we play it forward as you should. We also play a best ball scramble so if you screw up a drive it is not the end of the world. We're there to have fun and get to the 19th hole. (Yes we put money on the game so the team with the best score gets some cash, we also have closest to the pin on Par 3s).

2. I dropped my weight from 210 to 173, feel much better, no it wasn't easy and I'm still working on it.

3. I spent a lot of time learning to hit my 3W to make up for my lack of distance off the tee, also my long irons for Par 3s. 

4. I follow the instructions off this site on "How To Hit a Driver", I think it is under Swing Thoughts??

5. I use a 10.5* Cobra F Max, (Offset), driver to help counter my fade / slice. Some guys I play with use a 12* driver for more loft / distance.

Anyway, those are just some ideas you may want to think about. I check my ego at the door and just play to have fun. I had a horrible day two weeks ago, kept pulling to left into the trees but I kept at it on the range, found out what I was doing wrong and corrected it. Last Friday I shot a legitimate 93, go figure, (not in league play). Most of all I have fun playing with good friends, we help each other out. 

Good luck,

Jim

Thank you. I would LOVE to see 190 carry, 210-215. I suppose if you can do that after 3 back surgeries I should be able to do it. That's the same driver I use (exactly). 10.5 Cobra F Max (Offset), Aldila HM regular flex shaft, 45" 

I'm 6' and big. I've always been fairly active and weighed 220 ish my entire adult life with a size 36" to 38" waist. Big and powerful, broad shoulders, big neck, not buff... but not fat. I was always average at sports; not a jock, but not the last one picked in gym class either. Middle of the road. I've had a couple golf pros tell me I'm using only my upper body and arms when I swing, (probably because of the lower back and knee issues). After I gave up golf the last time, 6 years ago, I sold my clubs and got into home brewing beer. Just as expensive but didn't require as much physical flexibility. As a result I now weigh 275, (all in my gut). 

I'm not looking to win any long drive competitions. But if you saw me I'm 6' tall and look like I could hold my own in a biker bar fight. I know distance doesn't have anything to do with size, or strength, or any of that - but 150 yard carry 170 yard total??? It's embarrassing. If that's all I'm capable of that's fine, I'll give up golf and look for something I'm good at. Golf pros charge for lessons. I've had 3 lessons in the past 5 or 6 years and I'm not sure I noticed any difference whatsoever before or after any of them, (other than the $50 to $60 deduction in the bank account). 

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4 hours ago, Patch said:

Lessons might help the OP, and assuming a launch monitor is involved will tell him what his driver swing speed is. That swing speed will equate to his max driving distances. 

The lessons might also help with identifying the right lofted club, and style of club head to get the 200 yards the OP is seeking. 

A good friend of mine recently switched from a round, 460cc club head to one of those low profile, 460cc square driver heads. He gained an average of 7 yards on his drives. 7 yards doesn't sound like much, until you multiply it by the number of times he uses it during his rounds. 

My club head speed is 80-85. I'm not very consistent on striking it square. I tend to fade (or slice) most shots. When it feels like a solid hit it usually goes pretty straight; no L to R or R to L. 
Ball speed is 110-115

 

Edited by Gytaryst

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1 hour ago, Gytaryst said:

So I'm just picked an arbitrary number of 200-220 yards off the tee. It seems like if I could consistently hit in that range, with an occasional 240+, and develop the skills for the rest of my game, I believe I could be good enough to not be worried about whether they pair me up with another group or not.

Well, I'm 73 and I hit driver between 180-200 plus roll; sometimes more. I was hitting less until I got a 12* driver with a senior (more flexible) and lighter graphite shaft that was cut and balanced to suit me. (I went to a fitter/club builder who worked on my own driver. I found the shaft was too long.) Second, I worked on speed and tempo. Third, I have built a little strength in my legs with a recumbent exercise bike 2Xday; and in my shoulders with resistance bands. I hope my experience gives you ideas. The other idea is what people think about you is none of your business; in fact, they are more concerned about how they look than about you. Best, -Marv

Edited by MarvChamp

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