Know Thyself and How Far You Really Hit the Ball | Swing Surgeon - Don Trahan Peak Performance Golf Swing

Know Thyself and How Far You Really Hit the Ball

Sat, 08/06/2016 - 04:47 -- Don Trahan

A customer writes in to ask us about what he reads on the Internet about people hitting golf balls. Are these people lying? Determining what distance someone can hit off a tee is impossible to do as every person is different. Looking at someone, you never know how far someone will be able to hit the ball off the tee.

Whether from injury, old age, or some other physical limitation as we get older we cannot hit the ball as long as we once could. I personally have lost considerable club head speed over the last six years due to surgeries that have decreased my arm strength. No one is immune to this fact. While he still hits drives over 290yards, DJ has suffered from decreased clubhead speed as he has progressed into his 30's.

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Comments

dgundling@verizon.net's picture

Submitted by dgundling@veriz... on

Don,

I agree with the thoughts on the video. However, you did not answer. the question. I believe that what the man wanted to know is how much should one expect from his drives. What, based on your experience, should he reasonably be able to do based on his age and condition. In my youth (10 years ago at age 67), my drives had a total distance of 200 to 220yds. Now I don't have a carry distance (in the air) of more than about 70 yards. Is this normal? I am lucky to get more than 120yds on a typical drive with roll out included. Is it common for a golfer to lose 50% of driving distance in one year?

Brady's picture

Submitted by Brady on

In the video, he says that is impossible to tell and an unlikely question to answer. There is no set formula for distance and an unlimited number of factors that influence the distance of your drives. A lot can happen in a years time.

Russty Kiwi's picture

Submitted by Russty Kiwi on

As our club head speed gets slower need more loft. You need to find the right amount of loft, & the best shaft to suit your club head speed.

arty548@aol.com's picture

Submitted by arty548@aol.com on

Dear Surge,
Love your "Back Yard Driving Range" emails, I save them to a special folder and refer back to them often. Your recent one on distance raised questions in my mind about the role of the shoulders. I noticed your left shoulder did not come in front of your chin as is recommended by many teachers, maybe due to flexability or your surgery? I remember hearing Ian Woosnam say that the shoulders were the engine of his swing and were the reason he hit it so far for a little man. As a senior golfer losing distance, can a "washing machine" type action be consciously used with the PPG swing to help increase range of motion and gain distance, or are the shoulders just along for the ride? Your comments please. Thanks, Jay Ahladas

Jim Wile's picture

Submitted by Jim Wile on

In the PPGS, the lead shoulder should not come under the chin. Instead, the upper arm should contact the chin. That's because the club turns back only to the toeline, and then is lifted straight up. With the correct turn and lift, your upper arm will contact your chin.

The key to distance with the PPGS is not a big turn, but fast arms. That's also much easier on the body. If you want to increase your distance (or at least slow down the loss of it), do some arm exercises to gain both strength and flexibility.

jdickins's picture

Submitted by jdickins on

I was recently reviewing the PPGS driver video and it appeared to me that both Don and DJ were laying the club off quite a bit in the backswing. I took a screen shot to confirm this and in fact DJ looked like he was in the SBG.
Compared to the usual dailies and the manual where a shorter club is being used and where the club is shown vertical, the driver seems to differ.
For myself with the longer clubs I find laying off the club as shown helps get the clubface back to the ball at the right angle so I have no problem with what is shown in the driver video in terms of getting a good strike on the ball and hitting it straight.
I know that the longer club at address is at a different angle to the arms than the short club, but that shouldn't come into the picture when from the side view.
My question is however, what is the advice regarding the vertical swing plane as shown in one against the laid off club shown in the driver video.
John Dickins
Sydney Aust

Brady's picture

Submitted by Brady on

That could be true about DJ's swing. But Don does not do that. DJ has had issues with executing a perfect PPGS. Today he is better than he has been since he left college. His problem today is his putter and short game if you look at his stats.

NeilofOZ's picture

Submitted by NeilofOZ on

John, you have just hit the nail on the head with your statement and this has been an issue with me from day one with the PPGS system. I have videos of Don which clearly shows his club laying back and not just a little.

In my notes to him that he read out on the blog, I indicated that this "laying Back" appeared to far more deliberate that consequential as even when I bump my club hardly moves.

I believe his mantra of "straight up & straight down" refers more to do with his hands and not with his club, but the statement tends to be a little confusing and It was my intention to have more instruction on this aspect during his last visit to Australia, which he wasn't able to attend.

In my effort to replicate the "laying back" over the past 6 months experienced major problems and have now forced myself into 6 months exile from golf, to clear the "demons" from head.

I have researched many videos and various PGA players on where the club is positioned half way down in the FUS, they are all exactly the same including Don & DJ. If one was to keep the club vertical on the way down then that would promote a very vertical swing plain and be susceptible to casting and or pulling left, which I know I'm guilty of.

MikefromKy's picture

Submitted by MikefromKy on

Neil

I have heard Don mention on different occasions that in the FUS when bumping and the dropping of the back elbow happens into the slot the club lays off a little.

NeilofOZ's picture

Submitted by NeilofOZ on

Mike, I know Don says he lays the club back a little, but his comments can be misunderstood in that, he actually lays the club back substantially and as i commented originally, I have videos to suggest this. When you look at the manual there are no images showing where the club is positioned/laying back, but having videos of Don I was able to freeze frame his swing and when his right elbow reaches his hips during the FUS, his club is well and truly laid back.

I have software which can track a golfers swing and Don's swing is very similar to Jim Furyk, in that he to is vertical at the top of his swing, but lays back prodigiously as well, all good golfers are in this position, including DJ.

I think this is the main reason why I struggled with PPGS as I was trying to drop vertically with the club.

MikefromKy's picture

Submitted by MikefromKy on

Neil
I have watched Don and Dj hit every club in the bag videos. Viewing from were the catcher would be Don is slightly layed off with the longer clubs meaning long irons and woods. Laid off meaning the club head / shaft leaning away from the target line on the start of the FUS. Dj is more laid off than Don.
Don in the past has said that this happens at the start of the FUS naturally when you drop the back elbow in the slot it is not forced.
Not sure which videos you are watch can you attach the links I would like to watch them

NeilofOZ's picture

Submitted by NeilofOZ on

Mike, my videos were given to me by Don when he came to OZ in 2015,
so the only way I can get them to you is via an email or send me a fax with your email address so we can correspond privately, on 61 08 94705212. If this is unsuitable, then you can indicate the links you referred to, so I can check them out.

When I "freeze framed" their club angles, both DJ and Don are exactly the same, ie the shaft of the club aligns with their forearms, just prior to the frame which shows the club pointing parallel left of target, somewhere just outside their toe line. As mentioned previously, all PGA players are in exactly the same position & was highlighted to me by Steve Smith several years ago.

This is the fundamental flaw in my game and bumping as per PPGS does not achieve anything for me, except when overdoing it, which creates other physical problems for me.

My impression is that Don's & DJ's club are well laid back as the club heads are outside their buttocks and no amount of glossing can convince me otherwise as Don's club shaft is nearly parallel with ground and his club head behind his body.

golftime@cogeco.ca's picture

Submitted by golftime@cogeco.ca on

It is true that many people are obsessed with how far they hit a golf ball. It is also true that being able to hit it a long way is a great advantage, but golf is a game that demands a combination of control over both distance and direction. In the daily video Don talked about knowing how it was to a hazard and then picking the correct club to minimize your chance of getting into it. My best rounds are those ones where my misses are relatively non punitive. I do try and maximize driver distance but not at the expense of control.

robb60's picture

Submitted by robb60 on

I use to play with a guy named Kirby. A pharmacist. Not a tall guy or a 'come out of your shoes' swinger.Looked like Mr Peabody. He had a nice controled swing with a low trajectory. He said he use to play a lot of hockey. I guessed that was where he got the tremendous draw spin on the ball that would hit the ball running like a jack rabbit. Our course had some bent grass put in the fairways and they almost lost them the 2nd year. They always kept them long and wet. Your drive would roll out maybe 15 yards if lucky. Mostly 5-10. Kirby could make his ball run out 40 yards all the time. Just amazing. I always wondered what his ball would do on many Florida courses with the sandy, tight fairways. Anyway. Kirby found a way to get his 'driver distance' .Could work for some.

resumez@cox.net's picture

Submitted by resumez@cox.net on

If you don't have a laser rangefinder, but you do have a GPS rangefinder, you can use the "mark positon" feature to get your distance.
Hit the mark position on the GPS, hit your shot. When you get to the ball, hit it again and it will tell you the straight line distance between where you hit the shot and where the ball lie now.
Incidentally. once you know your distances, it can be an aide in finding lost balls, or difficult to locate balls. I mention the last, because it never ceases to amaze me how a white golf ball. hit onto a green fairway can disappear completely in shadows! Strictly by eye, I always seem to think my drive went about 20 yards longer than it actually did! LOL

Keep hitting them STRAIGHT and LONG
Amos

resumez@cox.net's picture

Submitted by resumez@cox.net on

just my .02 worth here:

I believe hitting the ball a consistent distance and straight is more important than just raw distance. True of any club, but specially the driver.
The short game is allows important, but doubly so as we advance in age.
I am 75 years old with a weak left (forward) ankle - on most par 4 hole, I have no chance of reaching the green from any tees, yet I average around 85 on my home course -- and when everything is "just right" 2 or 3 times a year I may record a 80 or 81. How? good wedges, very good chips and make a few putts -- the great equalizers!

keep hitting them STRAIGHT and LONG
Amos

jdickins's picture

Submitted by jdickins on

My source images were from the 40min driver video series and looking at Don as well as DJ hitting near the end of the video.
The layback appears at the top of the backswing, not on the way down as some have suggested.
If I could I would include some screen shots, but I don't think this medium allows it.
Anyway I didnt want to make a big thing about it, but I find if I have the longer club too vertical I tend to fade or slice.

ping i3's picture

Submitted by ping i3 on

hi, thanks for your help in improving my golf game.(16 strokes). may i suggest at some point you may cover the ability of some people to read( and study) your outline,along with checking out some of your additional videos on their own. if people are willing to do this there is a strong possibility their game would improve greatly. mine did. thanks again for your on going help with my game. david brush