I’ve been taking a little break from things after returning from California on Saturday evening. After a week of intensive swing consultation, it’s nice to unpack and just relax a little.
One thing that came back to mind was how amazed I was that Blake Elliott could generate the distances he got with his driver. I’ve always felt that my driver distances were a little short of what they should be, based on my irons and wedges – and Blake showed me I was correct.
We hit our irons about the same distances, which is why I ribbed him during his round at Torrey Pines South last Friday.
We were looking at the flag location on the 11th hole (par three, playing around 210-215 from the Black tee box, if I recall), and Blake was lasering it.
When he said the yardage out loud, I thought immediately “4 Iron, nice and smooth,” due to the foggy air and that it was slightly against, and I asked him, “Whataya think? Hard 5, smooth 4?”
“5 iron,” Blake said decisively, and I watched him grab his club and hit a beautiful high little draw that landed on line with the hole… about a couple of strides short of the front edge of the green.
“Told you it was the 4…” I needled him, but neither of us cared – he hit a nice little bump-and-run wedge to within a couple of feet, but the reason I knew it was a 4 iron for him is because we hit our irons nearly the same distances.
So, on the par 4 fifth hole at Rancho California, a 430 yard hole or so from the tips, I got a clip of him hitting his drive, and he can be heard saying nonchalantly, “Yeah that was a good one…” as he picks up his tee.
Blake Hits It 369 Into the Wind At Rancho California
Now, the 5th hole does have a downhill slope, it’s not level, if you’ve been to Rancho, but it was into a slight headwind, so we were expecting that Blake had knocked it down near the bottom of the slope, before the fairway actually levels out and I believe rises slightly to the green.
But when he saw where his drive had come to rest as close to the green as it was, it was a bit of a comedy scene – we were both looking around for a cart path or something that the ball must have bounced off, but there was nothing behind us but green grass in the fairway going back to the tee.
Blake pulls out the Bushnell to check the remaining yardage, and now the fun starts – he reads out something crazy “Fifty blah-blah yards…”
Maybe 58 or 59, he was saying…
“Wait a minute, wait a minute,” I said, looking back up to the tee box. “You stand right here beside the ball, gimme that Bushnell.”
I pulled the cart away. “I’m going back to the tee – I want an exact number on this drive…”
There was no one behind us, it being late Monday morning, and I drove all the way back to the tee box and found where he’d been standing – it was easy enough, as you can see he was standing right at the black tees on the front edge.
I shot the yardage using Blake as the marker, and shook my head and shot him a couple more times, getting the same number again.
So, he had driven that ball 369 yards into a headwind – downhill or not, I don’t know that I could have done that, on my best drive. And forget that it wasn’t his best drive by far – the next day, at Temecula Creek Inn, he drove the ball blind over a dogleg left corner on a par 4 hole measuring 370 yards…and we found his ball hole-high about 30-35 yards left of the green…
And of course, the drive he hit on the 500+ yard 12th hole at Torrey Pines South (a par 4), uphill and into the wind about 335 yards – that beat both of the aforementioned drives, forget distance.
The secret is in his launch numbers – he hits the ball a mile high when he wants to, and said his attack angle is plus 2 with the driver.
Blake & DJ at Rancho California 3rd Tee
I wouldn’t know exact numbers, because we didn’t go anywhere near a machine the week I was there. We worked strictly off of ball flight and his feel, so he would be able to replicate what we were doing, after I was gone.
So, yeah… he can get it done…
He hit some monster blasts last week – and now we get to work on refining that awesome power and building a rock-solid playing swing.
To be continued…