Drive Golf Performance Blog

Drive Golf Performance Blog

Friday, 2 May 2014

Swinging at 80%, Feel versus Real

One of my earlier blog posts from March 2013 talked about swinging the driver at 80% and does it really happen.

In this month's Golf Digest, Hank Haney talks about copying a Tour Player's swing. This is definitely a great idea, watching a Tour Player swing can definitely rub off on you and make you better by a form of 'osmosis'. How ever one thing to be wary of is how tour players describe their swing. They are describing feelings as opposed to what's really going on.

Here is how Ernie is quoted in the article.


Ernie Els says he hits most of his full shots with 80-percent effort to promote solid ball-striking. Last year, that translated into an average of 290 yards off the tee—just more than the tour average of 287. He might not be as long as you d think, but Ernie hit plenty of greens from where those mid-length drives left him. He was 35th on tour from 175 to 200 yards and 23rd from 200 to 225. From 200-plus yards, he knocked it on half the time.'

Let's look at Ernie's swing speed numbers and see if he is swinging at 80%?

Taken from

Ernie Els has an average of 112.89 mph club head speed with a low of 110.65mph and a high of 116.90mph. This puts Ernie with the 104th highest average club head speed on the PGA Tour (as of May 2nd 2014). The highest recorded speed this year has been Brooks Koepka with a speed of 127.91 mph. The highest average is Bubba Watson at 124.11mph.

So Ernie's average is 96.5% of his maximum. If his average speed was 80%, his maximum would be 141.11 mph. Well above the highest speed recorded. We can surmise that at some stage in a round or tournament a player will try and hit the ball as far as they can, so the maximum speed recorded over a season will be very close to their absolute max.

So, is what Ernie is saying wrong? Not really, he is describing a feeling, so his normal drive feels like 80% of his maximum to him. But the figures show it's not.

How does this help your golf? When taking tips from other players be aware that they are describing how it feels to them. This can be different to how it feels to you and different to what's really happening.

So, you just need to find out what Feel will give you a Real result. Trackman is a great tool for this, it measures what is actually going on and when you hit the right numbers that's the feeling you take to the course. No need to be thinking about numbers at all, just feelings!!

Any questions or comments are welcome.