YARDAGE PRACTICE: HOW TO BECOME CONSISTENT WITH YOUR DISTANCE.
Today I want to talk about a drill that has worked for me since I started working with Jorge Parada. Practicing on distance control is the kind of work you often hear professional golfers talk about. We spend a lot of time on this, and the main reason is because having control of our distances is a huge advantage.
I feel like we spend a lot of time working on technique to control our sideway ball flight , and that’s OK. But we also have to realize that a ball is in play not only a couple yards left or right of the pin, but how deep or short of the flagstick also plays a huge role in our scores.
The amount of time you have already spent working on your swing, you have to make it up now with some distance control work. I encourage you to spend some time practicing what I am about to share with you.
This is something my coach Jorge instilled in my since the very first day we started working together. And you can see he leave this trademark on all of his players: Suzanne Pettersen, Carlota Ciganda, Giulia Molinaro, Mel Reid, Ryann Otoole and Tania Tare. Check them out to see I am not bluffing!
In my opinion, distance control is all about the emotions you are feeling in that specific time : adrenaline, sluggish, for example. But there are tools you can use to diminish such effects. The way Jorge taught me is that, it is easier to control length of swing than swing intensity. Because swing intensity depends on how you feel each day ( you might feel more energized in the morning than in the afternoon, etc) it is more accurate to work on the length of your swing and always use full swing intensity.
There is another reason why practicing length of swing for distance control is not only easier but more efficient. I guarantee you that if you already invest time working on your swing, chances are that you also film your self to check whether or not you have accomplish whatever it is you are trying to accomplish. But how can you check how fast or slow your are swinging your club to your desired yardage? Unless you are using Trackman to track your swing speed on each distance hit, there is no other metric system that can help you. And trust me, you don’t want to start using swing speed control for your distances. It is really hard to try and hit up to a specific swing speed with wedges. You might use swing speed as a reference number with your driver when trying to gain distances or with your irons when wanting to know whether or not you hit it with full energy or not. But not with your wedges.
So this is what I propose, next time you hit the driver range, leave yourself some 40 min to work on this. What you are going to do is segregate your balls in groups of 8 balls. With a pen and paper, write down for each wedge club you have 4 distances : Hip to Hip; Chest to Chest; Shoulder to Shoulder and Full Swing. Before I start, I need to remind you three things you need to be aware:
This drill is not something you do one day and thats it. It takes time and practice. You first need to film your self hitting each length of swing because it is hard to get it to hip length or chest length. You ALWAYS swing longer.
When you work on this drill, it is more important to focus on your length of swing than on the target. The target has to be a result of the average length os swings you are capable to do for each distance. Sometimes I found myself getting lost of a specific target that I end up swing it to that target without paying attention to the length of swing. The secret of this drill is for when you are out on the course, you might need to land your ball a specific distance that is not pin high. So if you practice 4 distance with each wedge, chances are you will have one of those distances covered or close enough. So all you have to worry about is repeating that same length of swing according to the desired distance. This way you can narrow down visual unforced errors.
The length of the swing is measured with your hands not the club face.
YARDAGE CONTROL DRILL
HIP TO HIP: like the name says, the idea is swing to hip length on your back swing and finish. For me, this is the hardest distance. I am the least accurate and it is the one it needs more practice. I believe it is because it is uncomfortable and we are not used to stop the club consciously that shot in our back swing. So until you are capable of controlling that length of swing, you will not become consistent.
It is VERY important that you also finish HIP length.
NOTE: The tool I am using its from Watson Golf and it is called The Hanger. I use it diligently because I struggle to keep my left wrist straight on my take away or coming to impact. I am trying to be more Dustin Johnson if that works for you in terms of a visual referral.
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B. CHEST TO CHEST: Same idea, different length of swing. I believe you will find this to be the easiest and most accurate. Again, make sure you feel full swing intensity but you are only altering the length of the swing to chest high on back swing and chest high on finish.
C. SHOULDER TO SHOULDER: Here you must be able to differ this swing to the full swing. Sometimes it becomes challenging. That is why it is very important to but yourself a tripod and make sure you film your swing consecutevily to make sure you got this covered. You will find that you are only cutting a few yardage from the full swing. But the point of this exercise is not to have a yardage in your head but to let your average of length of swing dictate how far you hit. There is no right or wrong, good or bad. It is what it is, the main idea is to realize that with this swing you cut down X amount of yards from the full swing.
So, now that I left you with some instructions, I am only hoping this were useful to you and maybe you can share with me the results. Or tag me when documenting your work on IG, you know that “influencers” love that! LOL