The Open Championship is simply the best tournament on the planet. In my opinion it is the only Major Championship which tests ALL aspects of a golfer’s game. But what can we learn by watching The Open.
Undoubtedly one of the biggest things that will be reported is the distance that the modern Tour player now hits the ball. I will 100% agree that if every golfer could hit the ball the game would be a little easier, however we MUST keep this in context when looking at our own games and how we as a golfing community can improve.
Rory McIlory and co. have driver clubhead speeds north of 120mph resulting in carry distances of 290 yards and above. Swinging the club at these speeds requires strength and flexibilty. Modern golfers are essentially athletes which helps them to control the clubhead at these speeds.
The average male Club Golfer meanwhile, with a handicap of 15-18, has a clubhead speed in the region of 92mph, nearly 30mph less than McIlroy. With this in mind, is it realistic to expect to hit the ball as far as McIlroy, or indeed any Tour Pro, who averages 112mph with the driver?
The short answer is No. There are obviously things that you can do to improve your distance, but one key component is to improve your strike location. Too many golfers I see in lessons and fittings are simply NOT aware of where they are striking the ball on the face.
By moving their strike point more towards the centre of the clubface you will find that distance and shot dispersion will improve without trying to swing faster!
In addition to watching the men at Royal Troon, watch the Ladies Open at Woburn at the end of July. Although there are a few exceptions (Lexi Thompson being just one who swings above 100 mph), the average female Pro swings around 94 mph and carries the ball about 220 yards. These are the sort of numbers you would expect to see at your club.
So if you are wanting to hit the ball further, firstly learn where you are hitting the ball on the face, which a can of dry shampoo will come in handy, and secondly remember that you will learn much more watching the ladies play golf than the men!