Thursday, February 01, 2007

Franky and Billy and the Long Ball Dilemma

Okay, I couldn’t resist this sharing the following with all of our faithful readers who are constantly struggling to squeeze a few more yards from their drivers. There is apparently a great dilemma: Do I try to achieve greater distance or do I want to find my ball?

This is from and can be found in the Q&A section with Frank Thomas. Thomas used to be the USGA’s technical guru and now he is the GC’s technical guru. He's also the guiding light behind the Frog putter. (You gotta check that out.)

I’m kind of wondering if Billy from Michigan has any fun playing the game while he’s worrying about swing speed, launch angle and a few extra yards when he already hits it pretty straight.

Frank does a pretty good job of catering to Billy with the technical jargon and then tries to calm him down with a good dose of reality.

Enjoy this one.

Hi, Frank:

I need help! My swing speed is around 125 mph with the driver (460 Adams xstiff), yet I have never hit a drive over 310 yards. Most of the time when I hit it good off the tee I’m around 285 (bone-straight 12-degree launch). How is this possible? I play about 150 rounds a year, so I know I’m not missing the sweet spot every single time. I read somewhere that you should get 3 yards for every mph your club head is traveling. If this is true, what is stopping my drive from traveling 350?

Thanks for any info, Frank. Hope all is well.

Billy Michigan


First of all there are a lot of us (millions, including a few pros on tour) who would love to be in your shoes with most of your drives going 285 yards bone-straight! With 125 mph head speed and impacting the sweet spot every time, you should be able to drive the ball about 330 yards now and again under ideal launch conditions. These are 12 degrees launch angle and about 2,200 rpm spin rate and a fairway in average conditions (i.e. ˜ 25 yard roll). If you are not at these launch conditions, then try to get there by hitting the ball a little higher on the face. This will reduce the ball speed a little but bring you closer to the optimum angle and spin. The other thing to try is a different ball. For more on optimum launch conditions please Click here

If I were you, I would settle for the drives you have and concentrate on the rest of your game, as there is nothing wrong with what you’re getting from your driver, especially since you’re hitting it both long and straight. Then the next step is to apply for your PGA TOUR card if you don’t already have it.


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