When I'm at a golf tournament where the pros are throwing their thunder and lightning around, I stand from time to time behind a tee and watch one of them launch a drive.
Even the sound of club meeting ball tells you this one is going a long, long way.
The ball climbs and keeps climbing until finally gravity says "OK, that's enough," and takes over. The ball is out there 280 yards, 290, 300, sometimes farther.
Someone said golf is not clogging, not a barn dance, it's a ballet. Try telling that to Bubba Watson, who smacked one 365 yards on the finishing hole at the Quail Hollow Championship. Hit a little wedge to the green.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
It doesn't seem to matter how big you are. Rickie Fowler's a slender lad but he kills it. Rory McIlroy, who won the Quail Hollow with a closing 62, gives no hint of his power until he swings.
How do they do that?
I've asked that question dozens of times, asked club pros, touring pros, golf teachers. They invariably say it's clubhead speed. And I invariably think, but don't say, duh! Of course it's clubhead speed. Where does it come from?
Sam Snead was known as Slammin' Sam but he didn't hit 300-yard drives. Arnold Palmer was a slasher but he didn't routinely hit 300-yard drives.
Where does it come from? Now you're getting into a tangled web of theory.
It's swing gurus, teaching players how to swing better. Better than Snead?
It's better conditioning. No question about that.
It's better equipment. By miles. Club design, especially the driver, has turned the old equipment into museum pieces. The golf ball is much longer and much less inclined to slice or hook.
It's not just the pros who are blasting moonshots. There's a junior tournament at my club every summer. You don't have to go any farther than that to see tee shots that go forever. A couple of years ago, some of the kids complained that we had set the course up too short.
How do they do that?
If anyone asks you, just say, it's clubhead speed. Everybody else does.