Throughout the years, I have been asked hundreds of questions about the golf swing. Without a doubt, the number one question is how do I get more distance! I’m sure you want to know the answer as well … so here we go!
How Would Iron Byron Hit it Farther?
To understand how to get more distance, I want you to think about Iron Byron. Imagine the machine hitting a golf ball 250 yards dead straight. Now, imagine them wanting to make it hit the ball 300 yards. How would they do it? Well … in order for it to hit the ball 300 yards, they would only make 1 change to the machine. No … they would not change the driver! They would increase ONLY the speed of its motor. In doing so, its driveshaft would spin a little faster. Because its arm is connected to its driveshaft, it would come down a little faster. Finally, the club attached to the hinge at the end of the arm would whip a little faster thus allowing the ball to travel the extra 50 yards. All of these changes occurred because they simply turned up the speed of its motor.
Take a look at video at the top of the page to see Iron Byron in action!
So How Does This Relate to Your Golf Swing?
The motor on Iron Byron represents the golfers legs. The driveshaft represents the golfers torso. The arm on the Iron Byron represents the golfer’s left arm from the top of the backswing through impact. After the ball is hit, the arm on Iron Byron represents the golfers right arm. At the end of the arm is a hinge with a golf club inserted into it. This hinge represents the golfers wrists. This hinge is loose enough to allow the club to whip through impact generating the clubhead speed.
How do I know all this? I asked the inventor of Iron Byron: George Manning, of course! He confirmed that the machine works exactly as I described. He also described how they modeled the machine after Byron Nelson’s downswing using high speed photos. So, we do have a model for the golf swing and it hits the ball perfectly every time. So the first part of understand hitting the ball farther is to understand how Iron Byron would do it.
How the Average Golfer Tries to Get More Distance
Imagine you are on a fairly wide open par 5 and you want to kill one, how are you going to do it? Simple … you are going to whack at that ball as hard as you can! In doing so, you are now watching your ball drift off high right with a big slice. Hmmm … now you are either scratching your head, or smashing your clubhead into the ground, while saying to yourself, “every time I try to kill it, I hit an awful shot.”
So, why is that? Simple … whacking at the ball as hard as you can causes you to do a few things. The harder you hit:
1. The more your arms contract through and past impact (chicken wing).
2. The more left your body tilts on the way down.
3. The more the grip falls behind the head of the club.
4. The tighter your wrists.
1. The more your arms contract through and past impact (chicken wing)
The harder you try to hit the golf ball, the more your forearm muscles contract through and past impact. This is known as a “chicken wing.” To understand how this affects your swing, think of your address position. At address, you started with our arms extended. This means you have pre-determined the maximum width of your swing arc. Now … if the arms contract through impact, you are making an narrower arc than the one pre-determined. The narrower the arc, the less clubhead speed.
2. The more left your body tilts on the way down
When you try to hit the golf ball from the top of the backswing with your arms, it tilts your upper body (spine) to the left on the way down. If this occurs, you club will swing to the left on the way down (over the top). If the club swings left, it will hit the ball with a glancing blow instead of making more direct contact. By hitting the ball at a glancing blow instead of making direct contact, you lose distance.
3. The more the grip falls behind the head of the club
This position is a result of the arms contracting or the chicken wing through impact. If the grip of your club falls behind the head through impact, you will add extra loft to your club. Now instead of hitting a 9.5 degree driver, you are hitting a 12 – 15 degree driver. This additional loft will launch the ball too high and create too much backswing on the ball. So, this too will cause you to loose distance.
4. The tightening of your wrists
This is the biggy! By hitting hard, you tighten your wrists through impact. If you remember back to Iron Byron, it had a loose hinge at the end of the arm. If your wrists tighten, you are no longer copying Iron Byron. The tighter your wrists, the slower the club will swing.
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