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Sunday, July 19, 2020

Shorter Swing, Longer Drive (Video)

I've written a lot about longer classic swings lately so I thought I'd take a look at shorter modern swings. Rick Shiels and Dan Whittaker take a look at how smash factor affects your distance.

The simple truth here (as measured on a launch monitor) is shown as Rick hits two drives. One is a long swing that doesn't quite hit the ball in the center of the clubface, the other is a shorter swing with better impact.

When you compare the results, the smash factor difference between the two shows us a surprise. While the shorter swing was around 3mph slower, the improved smash factor actually meant the slower clubhead swing created about 8mph more ball speed... and that means a longer drive!

Classic swings (which I think should be more appreciated) don't have to be long and inefficient. What I hope you pick up from this video is that how well you strike the ball is as important -- maybe more so -- as clubhead speed.

If you want to hit the ball farther, your first step should be learning to hit the ball in the center of the clubface.


  1. Lee Soo Min birdied the 2nd sudden death playoff hole to win the inaugural KPGA Open over Kim Min Kyu. They along with Kim Han Byul finished regulation at +50 under the modified Stableford scoring system used for the tournament.
    Kim Joo Hyung (T40 this week) jets off to SF to put in his 2 weeks of self isolation ahead of his first major appearance at the PGA Championship. His playoff loss in the season opener combined with his win the following week got him high enough in the OWGR to merit the invite.

    1. Just realized that I posted the names the way they're used to doing it over in Korea: surname followed by given names.

    2. That's okay, IC. I haven't settled on a single way of listing Asian names. I just appreciate you taking the time to keep me updated about the scores.

  2. I've recently adopted a baseball grip in addition to modeling my swing after the great :mike Austin:. I wanted to hear your thoughts about Mr. Austin's swing philosphy.

    Best regard,

    Mr. Tracy Hartman

    1. Sorry for the delay answering your comment, Tracy -- this was a hectic week.

      First, about the baseball grip: I think many players would benefit from the baseball grip. I used it for a while myself when I was younger. It feels a lot more natural to many people and, as long as you can square the face of the club while using it, I don't see any downside to it at all.

      As far as Mike Austin goes, I haven't studied his swing in any detail but I know he studied how bodies move and believed in keeping your muscles as relaxed as possible to create maximum speed. I think that's 100% correct and believe we see so many modern players with back problems because they are too stiff and try to restrict their motion too much.

      Austin was 64 years old when he set his long drive record. Relaxation rules!

      Maybe I'll do a post on Austin in the future. We'll see.