The Myth of Club Distance

An interesting topic that has recently cropped up, and topped off by a gilagolfer via an email, is the distance that I am hitting. He wasn’t the first that pointed out that my distance seems long in my blog description, and I am not sure if I have overstated some of these distance, because most of the time, I am using the distance marker of the course to dictate my clubs I am using. So if the distance marker is screwed, then obviously my description is screwed. I always feel sometimes, the 100m marker on some courses are understated. I look at how far Usain Bolt runs in the 100m dash and I look at the marker to the green and I am like, “Hold on, this is way too near. Usain Bolt will just take like 10 strides to reach the green from here!”

So obviously there are some discrepancies, but in general my thought process is this:

a) If I am 150m away based on the marker, I am deciding if an 8 iron or a 9 iron, depending on the green (downhill or uphill, back pin, front pin etc). I rarely take out my 7 iron for anything these days.

b) If I am 160m away, I automatically select a 6 iron.

c) If I am 170 – 180m away, a 5 iron . A 5-iron off the tee also works for 190m, anything over 200m I am thinking a wood.

d) Anywhere 100m-110m, a gap wedge

e) Anywhere 130m, a pitching wedge.

f) Anything 90m t0 100m, a sand wedge.

Now, this is the actual thought process I have. And there might be actual reasons to it, and its not because I am hitting pro distance. Of course, there a lot of mental gymnastics being used.

a) Not true distance

The distance might not be to the pin. I usually play it short because I am too cheap to use good balls, so all my golf balls are really old and lousy and rolls a lot. Almost never I aim for the pin, so the green could be 160m away, but I am actually looking to land it around 150 or so and hope for a good roll.

b) Delofting

I also deloft my club A LOT. I noticed this stupidity in my swing, because I break my wrist so early in the take away, when I am impacting my irons, I feel like I am compressing the ball and slamming the ball into the dirt. I usually take out a divot the size of Brazil. My address to the ball is in a typically closed position, which also reasons why I sometimes yank my ball way left like a banana.

c) Clubs

And my clubs are MP-54s. The loft is a degree lower than my previous RAC LT irons for all the irons, so that also goes a fair way in terms of distance.

d) One strength

The other problem with my swing is that I have only one strength: MAX. I have no other way of slowing down my swing or shortening my swing or playing those finesse shots, which reasons why my short game is like a walrus humping an orca. This problem is translated into the fact that if I have around 80m to go and its between a soft sand wedge or a hard 60 degree lob wedge, I would go for the lob and whack the living $hit of out the ball.

e) Swing with a soon-to-be expiry date

Some golfers play with a swing that’s so natural and relaxed, you wonder if they are in a coma during the downswing. I have a friend in his 60s who bombs the ball a mile, but he swings like he’s going for a picnic. Of course, him being an ex national cager, ex national hockey player and extremely adept in his hand eye coordination helps, but you look at him and you think he can keep his swing well into his 90s.

Not mine.

I feel like I am wrestling with a damn anaconda all the time with my swing. It’s like this massive reptile is threatening to gobble me up if I don’t put it under control. I have to constantly remind myself never to flip my wrist early, always lean to the right, always shift my weight, always do this, that, stop my overswing etc. When I pull it off, I feel like I deserve to be in the PGA tour. When I miss it, I miss it so bad, I end up in the part of the course where nobody ever goes to. And always, in my mind, I am waiting for the day this swing kills my back or spine and I have to swing like Charles Barkley after that.

f) My Driver is not Pro

You can tell that, my drive, although pretty long by hacker standard is nowhere near the pro distance. I will be lucky to hit anywhere at the 250m range. I usually hit it short because at a 10.5 loft and stock shaft, my golf balls are generally ballooning up without much roll.

g) Shape of shots

I set my shots up to draw, and miss by hooks. I can’t fade to save my life. On shots that end up drawing, the rolls are more significant, giving an illusion of a longer distance. However, the problems are a lot more…as they say, you can talk to a slice but you can’t talk to a hook.

h) The Overestimation of Hackers

And finally, it could simply be the disease that inflicts all of us. We all overestimate our greatness. How many times we’ve heard people go like, “WOW, I’ve just a hit a 250m drive!” and when you walk up to it, you see that it has barely trickled past the 200m mark. So all of us, myself included has a myopic view when it comes to our golf distance and for some unknown and maybe unconscious reason, always lie about how long we are. All guys like that, maybe. About golf distance of course, you pervert.

So there you go, those are generally my explanation. I am not pro distance, not by a long shot. My scores tell the truth – good games are in the low 80s, average games are between 88 – 95, and horrible games can blow to 100s.

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