Rules and Strategy for #Chasing350

The more I chew on this goal of driving a golf ball 350 yards, the more I like it, and the more I realize that even if I fail, I probably win. If I come out of this with a 300 yard average drive, or even a 270, it’s an improvement. Plus, both are massive for a 60 year old amateur.

The specific goal is to be able hit a measured drive, according to Garmin Golf, of 350 yards multiple times (at least three) before January 2022. Further, these drives will be at sea-level (not Denver or similar elevations), and they will not be from tees with more than 20 feet elevation, and only USGA -compliant balls and equipment will be used.

I’m not going to cheat. Part of the reason for this effort is to show up at some 60 and above events and at take the long drive prizes whenever possible.

My current average swing speed is right around 100 mph. My max, based on both the chart in this article and my Swing Speed Radar, is around 116 or 117 mph. I figure I need to add 20 mph to my average and max swing speeds, or improve my efficiency to eek more distance out of each mile per hour of swing speed. I can possibly add up to 5 mph simply by increasing my driver length to the USGA maximum of 48″ – roughly 2 mph per each additional inch. I can potentially add another 6 to 12 mph from the swing speed training system I am working through. The rest is going to have to come from improvements in ball-striking efficiency – especially since increasing driver shaft length may likely decrease my efficiency as it will be harder to control.

These things alone will not be enough. I will also have to continue to work on increasing strength and flexibility. These things are good to do anyway, but sometimes hard to just do.

I expect to spend a fair amount of time working on simulator, outside my occasional lessons in order to find a good swing in terms of launch angle, spin rate, trajectory, and smash factor. Which means this will appeal to my data-oriented, analytic mindset. I am likely to also find that I might be better off with new equipment, which could be fun all by itself.

Since I have nothing else I really want to write about these days, I’ll keep posting about this here. It’s going to be fun trying to do this. It will also be an excuse to some really cool things.

A Quest for 350

I don’t know. This is insane. However, here it is. I am setting a goal to hit a golf ball out to 350 yards, before my 60th birthday, a mere 15 months away.

I’ve been playing golf again for a few years. It’s a silly game I have picked up multiple times over the years. I’ve had lessons multiple times. I’ve hit over 10,000 range balls in the past five years. I’ve played pretty much weekly for the last three or four years, in fact I have played just about 80 rounds so far this year. Have I gotten any better from this effort? Not that my typical score would indicate.

Sure, I do a lot of things better, but rarely does it all come together to look like I know I am doing. Because of this, and a lot of self-reflection, I have realized that:

  1. I want to hit the ball a long damn way.
  2. I want to hit the ball well.
  3. I want to look good doing it.
  4. I don’t really care about score.

Saying these things out loud the other day was freeing. Made it a lot easier to just have fun…even while hitting some ungodly slices. Ever hit a 90 degree slice that still covers 270 yards of straight line distance? All I could do was laugh. Playing on the narrow, penal course I play on, such shots are a recipe for disaster. But the next tee shot was redemptive – 270 down the middle.

After watching what Bryson DeChambeau has accomplished this last year, I see possibilities for real improvement. I’m not planning on adding 50lbs of mass, drinking 6 or 7 protein shakes a day, or playing a driver with less loft than my putter. Regardless, there are other things to learn from him, and from the long drive competitors that he studies.

I realize this is a completely unreasonable goal, especially at my age. But so what? Let’s say I put 15 months of physical training, stretching, instruction, and practice into this and end up with an average drive of 300 yards, or even 275, that will put me well in front of most anyone I will be playing with.

And isn’t that what really matters?

Currently, my best drives are right at 300 yards and change, and those have been rare this year, maybe five times. Most rounds, I will hit 270+ yards two to four times, excluding the giant banana balls. My 7 iron is a respectable 180 yards of carry with a very high trajectory. In other words, I feel that I have something with which to work. Further, my current instructor says I have the swing of a 40 year-old. Tiger Freaking Woods is 44 and his last drive at this year’s US Open was 368 yards, so 350 seems reasonably humble.

Actually, it is completely insane and unreasonable, but what can it hurt?