You’ve made it 16 holes in your mate’s charity golf day when you see a sign on the tee that promises to make you feel like a man again: “Long Drive Contest.” Doesn’t matter that you couldn’t get to the stake out there with driver-driver, or that your body’s coming down off five schooners and a carb load. You remind yourself, Hey man, I played high school footy. You find your focus, rear back and toe-shank it 50 metres. The golf shirt goes to some Neanderthal.

Here’s the thing: You think you can dig out another 20 or 30 metres, but probably can’t. You only throw off your downswing sequence. You jerk the club from the top and get all armsy. It might feel strong, but you’ve got no schwack at the ball. Take your time winding up, then move everything through together. You just might put one out there.

5 Signs You’ll Never Win The Long Drive:

  1. Father O’Sullivan flew it by you in the church golf day.
  2. Your practice swing doesn’t make any noise. At all.
  3. You had two greasy burgers at the halfway house.
  4. Your backswing tops out at about waist high.
  5. Only twice have you hit into the group ahead. Both from a greenside bunker.

Tom Stickney II teaches at Bighorn Golf Club in California and The Promontory Club in Park City, Utah.