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Ken Tannar, PGI Creator

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Probable Golf Instruction

Thanks for supporting Probable Golf Instruction. Masters Week is finally here. This first Major marks the beginning of a new golf season for many of us. Weather is always a factor, especially the wind. Will Amen corner claim another victim? Will Mike Weir successfully defend?

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Want more great golf tips? Please come to PGI Golf Tips to see the details. You can download them immediately. As we anxiously await the Masters, prepare for your own game by getting a season's supply of tees. Golf tees do make a difference in how far you hit the ball. Order your Stinger Tees here for only about 5 cents each.

You owe it to your game to make the best of your abilities; become " Master of Your Own Game". Stand out and improve, without hitting any balls!!

Here's to a long lasting life of great golf!

My latest study is finished. See some of the details of the reports HERE.

A Brief Message        Apr 5/04

  • Ken here from Probable Golf Instruction. In my last newsletter, I explained how driver clubface area affects distance on mishits. Review the newsletter here.
  • In this issue, I'll explain how to optimize your driver distance in various types of weather.
  • As I've mentioned in earlier emails, I've teamed up with an excellent teaching pro that has produced an excellent instructional CD called "Hit Down Dammit!". It compliments the math/science focus of my site with great instruction on how to physically swing the golf club. As a subscriber to this newsletter, you can download a sample. Input your info below an you'll automatically receive a download link.
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  • If you haven't done so already, get your season's supply of tees, and hit it farther at the same time. The Stinger Tee is thinner and offers the ball less frictional resistance; the ball goes up to 14 yards farther compared to a conventional tee. Plus, they cost less than packaged tees bought in a pro shop or golf store.
Distance & Technology Part 5: Optimize in all Weather

Read Part 1 of this series here, Clubhead Mass.
Read Part 2 of this series here, Clubhead Loft.
Read Part 3 of this series here, Clubhead Shaft.
Read Part 4 of this series here, Clubface Area.

If you'd like one on one explanations about the topic, sign up for the PGI Member Select Club and I'll answer all your questions. Now on to this week's topic.

V. Weather and It's Effect on Distance

     Once you have a driver that optimizes distance for your swing, other than how you swing on a day, the next major factor that determines how far you drive the ball is the weather. Distance depends on air temperature, humidity and air pressure. A golfer can modify his/her game slightly in different weather conditions to optimize distance on any given day.

     Temperature affects distance in two ways. Firstly, the colder the club and the ball, the less transfer of energy there is between the club and ball. The resulting ball speed is less. Secondly, the colder the air, the greater its density resulting in greater frictional drag on the ball and less distance. This second reason is more significant than the first. Learn more by clicking here.

     You can't do much about the air temperature, but you can do a little about the temperature of the club and ball, especially the ball. If you take a warm ball and hit it, it won't take longer for it to cool. By the end of playing a hole, the ball will be the temperature of its surroundings. What you can do is start the round with 4 warm balls (kept inside the house prior to playing). Bring out a warm ball on each tee. Upon finishing a hole, return the cold ball to your pocket for warming.

     If the fairways are moist and the ball is not getting much roll, you might consider hitting a more lofted club (2 wood or 3 wood) off the tee. Depending on your trajectories, you might get greater distance. Or, you could tee the ball up a little higher with a driver playing the ball more forward in your stance. This will promote swinging up on the ball slightly and getting greater height on your tee shot.

     If it is windy, and a hole is playing downwind, definitely consider hitting a more lofted wood off the tee. To maximize the effect of the downwind, you want to maximize flight time, thus you need a higher trajectory. This strategy definitely pays off if the fairways are soft as well. Learn more by clicking here.

     When playing into the wind, a lower trajectory is desired. If you can hit your driver lower than normal, you'll realize the greatest distance. Most important, however, when playing into the wind is to hit the ball solidly without sidespin. Players often are anxious when playing into the wind and try to hit it farther by swinging harder. Such a strategy will result much more often with mishits that don't have as much speed and have sidespin (short distance off the fairway).

     On hot dry days with firm fairways, you might find hitting it lower off the tee is best. You won't carry the ball as far, but should get more run and thus more overal distance. This does depend upon your normal trajectory, though, which might be too low for optimum distance in the first place.

     I also promised to provide an itemized checklist for buying a new driver. Here are my recommendations:

    1. Selecting a driver right for you is going to take time. It's important that you hit a number of different drivers on the range as well as on the course (most pro shops have demo clubs). Remember, maximum distance depends on ball speed, ball backspin and launch angle. The amount of backspin and launch angle depend on the loft of the driver as well as the position of its center of mass (not all 10 degree drivers will produce the same launch conditions).

    2. The bigger, the better! The bigger the face of the club, the more forgiving it will be on mishits. The volume of the club is usually related to the size of the face, but is not that relevant. The higher your handicap, the larger the face needs to be because high handicappers hit more mishits and the degree of mishit is higher.

    3. Most drivers today are made with optimum clubhead mass, about 200 g. One of my cautions about clones is the possibility they may be more or less massive than the optimum. As well, their center of masses may be too high or low to produce optimum distance. They may look the same on the outside, but might not be the same on the inside. You'll need to experiment by hitting different clubs on the range and on the course. Some clones might be very good, some bad.

    4. If your driver is more than 4 years old, you can definitely add some distance by buying a new one, especially if your driver is even older. Even if the new driver wasn't any longer on solid hits, it would be longer on the mishits. The newer drivers offer maximum rebound velocity of the ball (coefficient of restitution). Couple a new driver with a good ball, and you'll notice significantly more distance.

    5. If you want maximum distance, go with a driver with a light graphite shaft (the lighter the better). Most new drivers automatically come with graphite shafts. Of course there are good graphite shafts and not so good graphite shafts. Don't be overly concerned with the stiffness of the shaft. It doesn't make a signiciant difference to distance. Choose a stiffness that feels good for your swing. Usually this means a stiff shaft if you're a relatively long hitter and a less stiff shaft if you're a shorter hitter. Too whippy of a shaft, however, may cause you some loss in accuracy. In addition, more flexible shafts will open/close more at impact, thus changing the effect loft of the club (stiff shaft produce lower trajectories than flexible shafts).

Play with my Driver Distance Calculator. You can input such variables as loft and clubhead speed to determine the optimum loft.

A list of resources that have been used to produce this newsletter can be found on my website here.

The next newsletter's topic will how to optimize distance off the tee using the right golf ball. What are the different balls out there? Do they make a difference? Which should you play?

The focus of my site is to utilize science and math to lower your score. New technology is one way to achieve this, but to be honest, the technology is one small piece of the puzzle.

To actually improve significantly, we all need to:

1. Improve our swings. Hit Down Dammit!

2. Improve our physical fitness and strength.
The Golf Trainer Power Performance Programô

3. Improve our mental games. Golf Mind Software

4. Improve our Probable Golf games. Learn how to make better choices on the course through knowing how shot patterns and reading the elements and course better.

Click on the links above to take a look at ways that I personally use myself and recommend you try as well.

Hope I provided some useful ways for to become better prepared for you best golf season ever.

Ken Tannar


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