The distance with which golfers hit the ball and the evolution of the equipment they use, and the balls they are striking has dominated golf discussions for decades. Whether you play on the PGA TOUR, you’re an absolute beginner or anywhere between the two; you want to hit the golf ball as long as possible. Ideally straight as well, but most definitely long. No player would rather be out on the fairway, preferring to hit a five iron into a green than a nine iron.
Distance off the tee is undoubtedly one of golf’s great equalisers, especially now as modern golf courses are long and the classic courses are steadily becoming longer. Here are several simple tips that you can start to incorporate into your game to enhance the length of your drives and maximise your speed without making any significant changes to either your swing or your body.
Widen Your Stance
A solid, wider stance gives you better balance and a good strong base to back a smooth turn—golfers who stand narrow more often than not tend to swing slower and smaller. A long swing combined with speed and balance is crucial for consistently long drives.
Tee the Ball Halfway Above the Crown of Your Driver
The equator of your ball should line up perfectly with the top-line of the club when it is on the tee. The adage of “Tee it high, let it fly” works for the bulk of players, but it’s vital to experiment on the range until you find out exactly how much the ball shows above the face. You should keep no more than a quarter of the ball showing above the club’s face, which helps you stay down and therefore go through the shot longer, giving optimum contact. The better the connection, obviously, the better the shot. The better the shot, the more speed is produced, which increases the length of the drive.
Your golf swing changes with your body, for better and worse, so yes – when we say get fit, of course, we mean to a degree, get in better shape. It will make a huge factor in your swing speed if you shed a few pounds and add some muscle in the right places.
However, when we say ‘Get fit’, we also mean that you need to find the perfect club. A professional fitting you for a driver will look at several essential attributes such as spin rate, smash factor and launch angle. Finding the right combination of these with a change of equipment could immediately increase your distance off the tee by 30-40 yards.
You might ask yourself precisely what smash factor is? It is more than just a popular buzzword when it comes to discussing club fitting. The ball speed of the shot is divided by the players’ swing speed, and you want to be as close to 1.50 as possible, the optimum figure for efficiently reaching the most potential from a player’s speed.
Hit the Drive on the Upswing
Swinging down at the ball with your driver will result in you hitting high, spinning drives that lack distance. The center of gravity in most drivers is positioned in a way that benefits a positive attack angle, meaning hitting the ball on the upswing is essential. All that means is you should play the fall forward in your stance so as you strike it as your ball begins to travel ‘up.’ If the ball isn’t positioned quite far enough forward, you will naturally hit down onto it, which leads to a whole load of problems.
When setting up, ensure the ball is just inside the heel of your leading foot. Your head should always be behind the ball at the address, and your lead shoulder should be higher than your back shoulder is. This means that the right-handed player’s left shoulder is angled more towards the sky, and the right shoulder sits lower and vice-versa. These fundamentals will ensure you are swinging the driver with a positive attack angle.
Last but not least, is a simple one. Turn. Big biceps are far from enough to hit a golf ball far. You hit your drive with your core, shoulders, chest, hips and legs and the only way to efficiently use all of these together is to rotate on your backswing.
We have already touched on the need for a wide stance and your ideal address position in this article, so we won’t touch on those again, but take the club away slowly on your backswing and turn your hips. Your back needs to be facing your target at the top of your swing, and your belt buckle and the buttons on your polo at this stage need not still be pointing at the ground. If they are, you have not rotated.