Golf Tips For Short Hitters

Article By Jack Moorehouse

Fred Funk has been playing professional golf for almost 30 years. A veteran PGA and Champions Tour player, Fred has won more than $25 million dollars as a professional golfer. He’s also won 15 professional tournaments. His most notable win is the 2005 Players Championship against arguably the toughest playing field in golf. Fred has been a member of the 2003 and 2005 President’s Cup teams, and the 2004 Ryder Cup team. Although he’s not an odds-on favorite to win every tournament he’s in, Fred is a highly competitive professional golfer. Fred stands 5-foot-8 and weighs about 165 pounds. Obviously, he’s not among professional golf’s biggest players. Nor is he among its longest hitters, averaging only about 260 yards on his drive. These numbers make places him among professional golf’s shortest hitters. Yet Fred has been highly competitive since he went pro in 1981. How does he do it? Accuracy. Fred is among the Tour’s most accurate golfers. He hits about 80 percent of the fairways he faces from the tee—a nice number no matter what your golf handicap is. CB Advertisement Golf Lessons From Fred If your drives aren’t overly long, watching Fred play is like taking golf instruction sessions for free. Fred’s key is that he plays within his range of motion. He doesn’t try to do more than his body is capable of, focuses on swing fundamentals, doesn’t overswing, and maintains posture and balance throughout his swing. These factors help Fred achieve his incredible accuracy. Nevertheless, Fred could use 20 or 30 yards more off the tee. It would give him shorter approach shots, which in turn would boost his greens in regulation—a key to achieving a low golf handicap, if you’re a weekend player. Physics suggest that short hitters like Fred gain more distance off the tee using longer shafts. A longer shaft should increase clubhead speed, which in turn should boost the speed at which the ball leaves the clubface. Every extra mile per hour of ball speed adds about two or more yards to a drive. So if Fred’s clubhead speed is 108 miles per hour—the PGA Tour average—and his ball speed only about 160 mph, then a player would need to generate clubhead speed of about 112 mph to produce the 190 mph of ball speed needed to add 20 or 30 yards to a drive. Longer Shafts Are No Guarantee But using a longer shaft doesn’t guarantee that Fred would generate sufficient clubhead speed to produce more distance off the tee. In fact, there are instances where players have used shorter shafts and still generated more clubhead speed than before. So instead of trying a longer shaft, shorter hitters should take a golf lesson from Fred and work hard at maximizing launch conditions, including ball spin and launch angle. In other words, work on getting “dialed in.” Another way a short hitter could generate more clubhead speed is through physical conditioning. If golfers are fit and stretched, then their muscles are stronger and they can swing the club harder. In addition, he could plug any power leaks he finds in his swing and/or widen his swing arc. Widening one’s swing arc increases clubhead speed, adding more force to the clubhead when it hits the ball. Finally, short hitters can gain more clubhead speed by getting more of his body into the ball. Lengthening Tee Shots Short hitters have any numbers of ways to lengthen their tee shots off the tee—from physical conditioning to using longer shafts. Longer tee shots mean shorter approach shots, which in turn mean more greens hit in regulation, which you know if you’ve been reading my golf tips newsletter, is a great way to increase your up and downs and cut strokes from your golf handicap. Every time a golfer hits a green in regulation, she’s cutting two or more strokes from her score. But generating more distance of the tee is great as long as it doesn’t hurt your accuracy. It’s better to be 20 yards shorter in the fairway than 20 yards longer and in the woods. Also, take some golf tips from Fred and work on honing your swing fundamentals, improving your physical conditioning, increasing your flexibility, and staying within your self. Do all this and you’re sure to see a significant drop in your golf handicap.

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