Facilities Manager, Certified Instructor
TourAcademy at TPC Scottsdale
I didn’t start my career focused on carrying the ball the right distance, but playing with some very good players along the way I soon realized getting the ball to finish pin high is one of the most important things in golf. As I progressed as a professional, I learned the only thing I could control was how far the ball carries. This is what I’m going to share with you, and how it has helped me on the golf course.
You’re going to need one important item to help you with this, a laser. Doesn’t have to be fancy, plenty of options out there for around $100, which you’ll quickly make back from your friends on the golf course. Here’s the system.
On the first hole, pull out your laser and find out how far you have to the hole, lets say 135 yards. Your 8 iron normally flies 140 yards, you hit a good shot and as you approach the green you’ll see the ball mark. Walk off the distance between the flagstick/hole and your ball mark, in this case five steps short. The first 8 iron of the day flew 130 yards in the air.
Knowing the carry distance of my 8 iron is an anchor and influences my club choice(s) the rest of the day. Doesn’t matter if the approach shot is in regulation or not, just keep track of how far the ball flies when you hit the green and what club you used. A sneaky thing happens that most people don’t realize. By focusing on the carry distance you’re keeping your mind busy, the best way to keep poor thoughts out of your head is to put something else in there.
I write all of my yardages for each approach shot followed by the club I hit and how far the ball carried. You’re not going to be able to get every number, but you should be able to get a lot. Over time and a handful of rounds, you’re going to have some wonderful feedback about how far you actually hit your clubs. All of these things lead to better decisions on the golf course and ultimately better outcomes.
One interesting tidbit I’ve heard from multiple people, Bones, Phil Mickelson’s caddy, has charted every single shot Phil has hit, including temperature, wind, etc. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but seems like a really smart thing to try out on your own. Good Luck!