When you watch professionals like Bubba Watson and Rory McIlroy bombing balls 320+ yards straight down the fairway, it is hard not to be envious.
While the old adage “drive for show, putt for dough” remains true if you are concerned about your overall score, most people still love to bring out the driver and hit it as hard as they possibly can.
It can often turn into a bragging rights competition of who can drive the ball the furthest. With technology advancing rapidly year on year, the average golfer is now able to hit it further than ever before with their driver.
Being able to drive the ball further allows you to get a lot closer to the green than you otherwise would have gotten, allowing you to hit shorter and more accurate clubs for your next shot.
Many people think that driving the ball far is all about how hard you swing the club, but this is not the case at all. There are a lot of factors that go into getting great distance off the tee — here are five.
1. Swinging smoothly
A lot of people try to simply “grip it and rip it” when they step up to the tee with a driver in hand. This is often counterproductive, as your club will get thrown offline when you swing. This will result in wild drives that go way off target and are not struck effectively.
You should always go for smooth and steady over speed when swinging your driver. While swinging the club faster and hitting the sweet spot will lead to the ball going further, the chances of hitting the ball from the sweet spot when swinging a lot faster are not great at all. Only swing as hard as you can while still striking the ball flush from the middle of the sweet spot.
2. Avoid the sway
One of the common drainers of distance off the tee is excessive swaying during your backswing. This creates poor angles at the top of your swing, with your body misaligned and in a reverse C shape. This leads to inconsistent strikes at impact, as well as losing leverage.
You want to ensure that you are turning your hips instead of swaying. A great drill to ingrain this movement into your swing is to get some sort of straight rod and line it up against your back hip. Stability in the swing is vital when trying to hit the ball further.
3. Sweep the ball away
When hitting your driver off the tee, it is one of the only times that you don’t want to be hitting down on the ball. Instead, you want to sweep it off the tee in an upward moving arc.
To achieve this, you need to ensure that your leading arm is kept straight at impact as you accelerate through the ball. A simple way in which you can improve this sweeping motion is by teeing the ball slightly higher than you usually would and hovering your driver behind the ball when you start your backswing.
4. Work on your flexibility
One of the common reasons why people leak power with their driver is because they are too inflexible. This means that they cannot get an optimal shoulder turn.
This is one of the most important aspects of hitting the ball long distances, as it allows you to fully coil up at the top of the backswing, ready to unleash a powerful ball of energy on the way down. Make sure that you work on your shoulder and hip flexibility every couple of days to keep the joints flexible and strong. A variety of stretches and exercises can be obtained from a qualified physiotherapist.
5. Use your hips
You should always lead into the ball at impact with your hips. This means that you will have an effective transfer of power during the swing and you are putting everything you have into getting distance off the tee.
A good way to visualize the importance of hip movement for generating power is to throw a golf ball without using your shoulders or hips. Compare this result to throwing a ball with your entire body. Obviously, the latter will result in a much farther throw. This demonstrates how important the hips are in the swing, as it allows the arms to come through impact in a “whipping” action that generates added power.
So there you have it — five ways to hit your drive farther. Good luck!
— Andrew O’Malley