Well, not always. I tell people that I've actually INCREASED my distance by switching to 'hitting' because my impact alignments have improved so much. Yes, I do believe that the real long ball bombers generally swing and that a properly executed 'swinging' pattern will likely create more power than a properly executed 'hitting' pattern. And a properly executed hitting pattern is likely to be more consistent and accurate than a properly executed swinging pattern. The problem is that many golfers cannot consistently execute both patterns. So if you can't properly execute one pattern, you won't reap the rewards.
But, 'hitters' can still hit it quite a ways. According to John Erickson, Mac O'Grady is a full blown 'hitter' and in his prime on the PGA Tour, he was routinely in the top 10 in driving distance and still hits the ball very long for a man of his age. But here's some excerpts from a Ted Fort thread on a golfer he has worked with recently.
Here's a great athlete that took a long hiatus from golf for years. He was a ski instructor, football player, baseball player, etc. I took him to a Titleist Performance Institute location and they said he had the greatest (initial) rotational shoulder speed of anyone they'd tested, including Tour players. And, he couldn't hit it out of his shadow. He was the poster child for over-acceleration.
I've spoken about this guy many times. He's the poster child for hard work. He's the one that's changed his max driver speed from 84 mph to 107 mph. He's recently had some irons creep over 100mph. We've updated his irons and changed the shafts to match the increased load he's placing on the shaft.
As Homer said, "Impact is not a destination." When Richard learns this (physically) and is no longer ball bound, he can find his true potential in clubhead speed. 84 mph to 107 mph is a great success story. But, I can't wait to get him from 84 mph to 118 mph, when hitting a ball. I've never seen that much change. I know it's just a practice swing. But, I'd challenge anyone to get that speed with a golf club, with or without a ball, when your starting speed was 84 mph!
Today was another breakthrough. At the end of the lesson, he hit a ball with 114 mph of clubhead speed! (84 mph to 114 mph!)
A 36% improvement in clubhead speed is pretty good for a 52 year old
We had to take another picture. Richard's doing things that I can't do. His speeds are unreal, so we had to take another picture. In case you think your eyes are fooling you, it’s a 119 mph 5 iron. I wish you could hear the sound.
Depending on who you talk to, the difference in swing speed from a 5-iron to a Driver is about 80%. So here's a 52 year old golfer, using a 'hitting' pattern whose driver clubhead speed went from 84 mph to an estimated 148 mph (and at the very least, a recorded 119 mph with the 5-iron).
Not bad for a 'hitter.'