Accuracy Trumps Power | Swing Surgeon - Don Trahan Peak Performance Golf Swing

Accuracy Trumps Power

Tue, 11/26/2013 - 12:00 -- Don Trahan

Would you rather be faced with a 100 yard shot from the deep rough or a 150 yard shot from the middle of the fairway? Well, if you're anything like me, you prefer to hit your approach shots from the short grass. A lot of players sacrifice accuracy by swinging as hard as they can to maximize their distance, but more often than not, the reward wasn't worth the risk.

A. Rudy recently watched a long drive competition on the Golf Channel and wondered if there was anything we could learn from it. The men and women who compete in those contests certainly have some impressive abilities with the driver. Some of them even have solid short games and are very good players, but if there's one thing we can learn from watching, it's that accuracy trumps power.

Don,

I just viewed a show on the Golf Channel on regional long drive contests leading to the world championship. In addition to showing the competition and getting information about the contestants, there was a segment from the Titleist Performance Institute that explained how the contestants got their incredible power. From your viewpoint, is there anything that the average golfer can learn from that? First of all, they only need to get one long drive out of six in the grid to count. Secondly, the average golfer – particularly the older golfer – either can’t get into the same positions or would hurt themselves trying to do so.  However, I do think that the conditioning necessary to achieve maximum swing speed would apply to the PPGS.  
 
A. Rudy
Lancaster, PA

I think the most important thing to remember when watching these competitions is that the people participating are incredible athletes, with a lot of power. Many of them are very muscular and are trained to do one thing; hit the ball as hard as they can. They're not worried about their accuracy. Instead, they are only focused on distance, so you shouldn't be modeling your swing after them.

A lot of these competitors suffer intense injuries due to the shear power in which they swing their clubs. Because we want to enjoy this game well into our senior years, it's my advice that you should focus on your accuracy instead of your power.

The thing that most golfers don't realize is that swinging harder doesn't automatically translate to more distance. That's because there's no telling where the ball might end up when you swing at it so hard. Hitting the ball straight down the middle will most likely give you more looks at birdies, because you're able to make contact with the ball crisply, whereas swinging from the rough can lead to anything from a flyer to a chunky monkey.

If you want to keep the ball in play and not put your body at risk of straining and tearing muscles, you can't go 100% all the time. Don't get caught up in the wonderment of long drives. Take a little off and knock it right up the shoot.

Keep the tires on the pavement so you can keep cruising right down the middle of the fairway. Hitting them solid and straight is the best way to have longer drives.

Keep it vertical!

The Surge

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Comments

NeilofOZ's picture

Submitted by NeilofOZ on

Robert, saw this one previously earlier in the year, truly amazing.

Had a great session with Surge last weekend and two statements he made that I'll never forget, 1 - After reviewing my Putting technique he stated that "in all his years of playing golf, he has never and probably never will see my Putting style again". 2 - After reviewing my chipping from the fringe, said " I have nothing to add what your'e doing" and walked on to the next student.

I just loved his candour and style and had a great time, learnt a few things that I can now put into practice.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Neil, So glad for you that you had a great experience meeting Don and Lynn. I heard that Surge had to translate for Doc Griffin once I a while for his southern accent:) Surge is straight forward and not afraid to give you his view and clear directions on our swing and suggested corrections. So your putting is unique and chipping spot on. Cool. What suggestions did he give that seemed particularly for you? How was your alignment? He, he! How many attended the class you attended? One of the main things Surge did for me was point out that my shoulders were set up too open. He brought my back shoulder back and that squared my shoulders with my hips and feet. I still self correct on that all the time.

Very nice that you finally met The Man. I was hoping to get back to South Carolina to see him this year but it didn't pan out. Hoping for next spring if all goes well. We'd love to visit Australia and NZ some day. Just coming into your summer weather now, eh? Enjoy your good golfing days Neil and keep us posted on your game:)

Lynn42's picture

Submitted by Lynn42 on

Neil,

Just curious. Do I recall that you use a split grip? I think we use a similar style. I started the season with my top (left hand) elbow forward, knuckles rearward and thumb covering the top of the grip. My right hand is split to the bottom of the grip with my pinkie tucked and I just rock my shoulders.

I also did some experimenting with a split left hand low, right hand at the top of the grip pressed against the inside of my left arm with the same shoulder rocking motion. I've had some success with both methods, but our season here is pretty much over unless we hit a warm spell.

I did chuckle at Surge's comment about having to translate for Doc. ;0))

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Lynn,
Though I didn't join in the conversation I enjoyed the discussion you, Charley and several others had. Nice to read your comments.
BTW
'Happy Thanks Giving' to all!

NeilofOZ's picture

Submitted by NeilofOZ on

Lynn, your grip sounds very similar to mine. My left hand sits on top of the grip like a cap, with my left elbow pointing along the target line. My right hand is down low at the base of the grip. As Iv'e mentioned previously, i tried many systems to overcome the blade turning by not being able to keep my hands neutral during the swing. This action I believe is all arms with very little backswing, this helps to keep the blade square and on,on,on. It allows me to gauge long putts effectively and when I compete with scratch players on the practise greens, can hold my own on long putts.

Lynn42's picture

Submitted by Lynn42 on

Neil, Surge's comment on your putting style is funny and he may well never see that style again, of course unless he ever sees me putt. ;0))

The grip on my putter is oversized (not a jumbo) so my top hand is very comfortable pointing to the rear with my thumb resting on top of the grip. Elbow pointing forward and rocking the shoulders was something I recall Dave Pelz saying years back, so I sorta modified a bit and played with it til I could get the feel for distance. It seems to allow me to better go straight back and through and takes hand manipulation out of the stroke.

You should feel special that you were able to show Surge something in te game of golf he'd never seen before....lol. As the saying goes "different strokes for different folks."

jon.lucenius's picture

Submitted by jon.lucenius on

For reminding us and especially me about not needing those 10 extra yards and keeping it down the middle. This time of year I put away the long clubs (5i-3i + 3W + D) and basically play position / course management until late spring. Funny thing is, even though I normally won't reach most greens in regulation, my short game gets tuned to the point where I am often looking at easy pars. In the summer when I get back the long clubs, those pars turn into birdies because of the improved short game.

I should also mention that it does no good to put away the long clubs and retain the attitude of "hitting it as far as I can" with say a 7i. When I concentrate on location and course management, good things happen.

A Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Jon

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Jon,
Great idea using the irons exclusively for a while. 'Scoring clubs' and the putter is where we save strokes and improve our scores for sure.
Happy Thanks Giving to you and yours.

jon.lucenius's picture

Submitted by jon.lucenius on

and a Happy Thanksgiving to your family as well.

If it were not for this site, the helpful comments of the Surge Nation, and of course Surge himself, my iron play would not have improved as much as it has over the last few years.

Thanks again to all and have a happy holiday season!
Jon