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For most players, getting the clubface squared on the back of the ball is either an accident – or a miracle.
For most players, getting the clubface squared on the back of the ball is either an accident – or a miracle. (Clive Agran/TravelGolf)

The truth behind creating greater distance

Mike MalaskaBy Mike Malaska,
Special Contributor

There is one question that comes up in most golf discussions: "How can I hit the ball further?"

Well, as much as the golf industry and my peers in the instruction side of the game want you to believe, it is very simple. There are two important aspects in creating efficient distance – with control.

Controlling the club face is one. The second is proper forearm rotation.

Controlling the club face

In order to maximize every aspect that goes into a golf swing, you must "catch" the ball squarely on the clubface. For most players, getting the clubface squared on the back of the ball is either an accident – or a miracle.

Regardless of whether you have a clubhead speed of more than 100 miles per hour, or one that is less than 50 miles per hour, it is paramount that you learn how to control the club face with every club in your bag.

Drill: In order to master clubface control, you need to start with the shortest of strokes - the putting stroke - and practice squaring the club face on the ball at impact.

Start by drawing a line around the ball, and then on a flat putting green or surface, set the ball down with the line straight up and down and practice "rolling" the ball 8-10 feet so that the line remains constant (straight) throughout its roll.

You cannot achieve a straight line with anything less than square contact of the face on the back of the ball. Once you have mastered rolling ball properly from 8-10 feet, increase the distance, then begin to work on squaring the club face with chip shots with a 6- or 7-iron, then pitch shots, then eventually full shots.

Test: To confirm you are controlling the club face with every club, including your driver, practice hitting shots so they only carry 50-75 yards with a full turn, then begin to add speed as you increase the distance at 25-50 yard increments.

Result: Trust me, it is harder than you think. If you can master this drill, you will control the club face and will begin to create more distance – efficiently.

Mike Malaska is the worldwide director of instruction for Nicklaus Academies. Before his current position, he was a lead instructor working alongside Jim Flick from 1991-2002 at the Nicklaus/Flick Golf Schools and during 2003 with the TaylorMade/ESPN and Jim Flick Golf Schools. He is currently listed among Golf Digest's America's 50 Greatest Teachers (No. 24) and Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers in America.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • solid contact with a shot that repeats

    Joe Marks wrote on: Aug 17, 2011

    I agree with you that perfoming this test is very diffcult, as it would require perfect contact with a square face every time.
    Wouldn't solid contact with a club that didn't result in a straight line, but had a small fade or draw every time, work as efficiently as a straight line?
    I always find more consistant contact with a draw, as fades tend to miss on toe.


  • shoulders

    Vin Rose wrote on: Dec 25, 2010

    I thought that the back shoulder should be higher at the trop of the backswing. Am I wrong


      • RE: shoulders

        vin rose wrote on: Dec 27, 2010

        I believe you are correct


  • Golf Grip

    emily lavinson wrote on: Aug 23, 2010

    I never realized how important controlling the club face was. Having the right grips plays a major part in determining the accuracy and distance of shots.


  • Private Instruction

    Richard Venne Sr wrote on: May 28, 2010

    I have admired you ability to instruct for many years. Is there any way I could have a private instruction golf lesson with You? I'd travel anywhere,
    anyplace and am trying to reach my potential as a golfer.
    Richard A Venne Sr