Distance is helpful, but not the Holy Grail

I never shot the lowest when I was having my longest and straightest days with the driver. I never shot high on those days, but my best tournaments were when I was at my best from 100 yards and in…including the putter.

The best finish I had in a major event was a 5th at a Nationwide Tour event. I actually drove the ball very mediocre that week.

I shot 66 on Saturday to get within 2 shots of the lead and a reporter asked me…

“It must be very frustrating for you to hit all the par 5’s in two, drive all of the greens and not be able to make putts.”

My honest response, “I had 27 putts today and didn’t drive it within 50 yards of a single par 4.”

Distance is helpful, but over rated. I know it’s easy for me to say, but many courses built the last 20 years don’t even allow for a 300+ yard drives…even with extreme accuracy. The penalty for even a slight miss is too great.

The game can be played at a high level with merely adequate distance off the tee (See Luke Donald). Trying to find your maximum distance is fine, but it is the result of improving your game and hitting the ball solid.

Getting your swing in an awkward position to find distance you aren’t able to hit naturally, will just cause you to be a terrible golfer and eventually cause injury.

Distance off the tee is a result, not a primary goal. Reading this blog and picking out things that make sense for you will help you hit it farther and do it the right way.




  1. rojoass

    Another good post Monte. You mention the wedges. I never hit anything to warm up or practice other than wedges & Driver. I haven’t hit my ……….let’s say 5 iron from the range in probably 20 years.
    If I have a Driver feel & wedge feel everything in between kinda falls in place. This is just me.
    I do hit “trouble” shots from the range.I know I’m gonna be there at some point. Plus it’s fun.

    Distance may not be the holy grail but I’m keepin my Krank

  2. Wally

    Monte when I go to the range I hit at least 120 balls from my close to the pin range (120yds). Golfers should work to find their “down in three range”, by that I mean what yardage that you will absolutely put the ball on the green and two putt. The game of golf is about putting the ball in the hole in the least number of strokes isn’t it?

  3. Robert Hebert

    So true! My home course is only 6204 yards, 68.8/115. My best score is 89, I intend to break 80 this summer. I am going to hit every fairway, even if I have to tee off with a 5-iron! If I could count on 220 down the middle, never losing it left, I would rule my world.


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