Are you ready to win the long drive contest in your outing? Or at the very least, impress some of your friends?
Hitting a long, powerful drive isn’t as hard as it looks! All it takes is a few adjustments and anyone can add 10,15,20 more yards to there drives! Follow these 15 simple tips, and you see an increase in your driving distance out on the course!
*Disclaimer for Beginners*
I advise my beginning golfers to only try the following tips after you have learned how to make consistent contact with the driver. Swinging too hard when first learning the game is only going to frustrate you and I don’t want that! To quickly learn how to improve your consistency off the tee, check out these articles first before reading any further!
- Beginning Golfer’s Survival Guide
- Hit More Fairways off the Tee
- Golf Essentials you Need to Have
- Don’t Buy a Driver Online!
- Eliminate Your Slice Forever
1.Lengthen Your Backswing
To maximize the distance with your driver, you need to lengthen your backswing. I see beginning golfers too often break the wrists too early which then promotes a steeper angle of attack down at the golf ball, losing distance. To correct this, just drag your driver 3 feet when starting your backswing and then lift to begin the backswing. This helps create a more “shallow” angle of attack at the golf ball and helps improve your contact (aka power!)
2. Push Your Front Arm Straight Behind You
Two problems occur when you don’t keep your front arm straight on the backswing.
- You come too far from the inside and have a hard time getting your clubface square at impact causing a push or hook.
- You overcompensate to “add power” flipping your wrists and end up either hitting the top of the ball (topped shot) or hit behind the ball.
To correct this problem, practice keeping your front arm straight during the takeaway
- Take a club and lay it down on a direct line behind the golf ball
- Push your front arm straight behind you, so it is on the same line as the club
This drill will help you lengthen your swing (as described above) and help you reach a higher position at the top of your swing. This will eliminate any need to flip the wrists to generate power, and you will have more success getting clean contact.
3.Widen Your Stance
Piggybacking off of the above steps (they must be important ????), a wide stance will help lengthen your swing and increase clubhead speed. Why? Because when you widen your stance, you are spreading out your weight over the golf ball. We need to do this so that our swing arc is low and shallow. A narrow stance encourages a steep downswing which causes a decreased swing speed and trouble controlling your clubface angle.
4.Drop the Back Shoulder
Drop your back shoulder when you address the ball for your drive. Because of how the driver is designed, you want to make contact with the golf ball slightly on the upswing. (This is why we tee the ball in the air)
Dropping the back shoulder will tell your brain that the low point of your swing is slightly behind the golf ball and will help you increase the trajectory of your ball flight and maximize your power.
5.Tee the Ball Up Higher
I might sound like a broken record on this post by stay with me!
Teeing your golf ball up higher is the easiest way to add more loft to your drive. Is loft a good thing?
Let me put it to you this way: Let’s say you have a running garden hose and you want to maximize the distance of the water coming out. You’re not going to point it down on the ground, are you? No! You’re going to raise the hose in the air so that you reach the right arc where the water goes the furthest.
Moral of the story, more loft is a good thing with the driver!
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should tee the golf ball super high into the air to the point where you are sliding right underneath it. Just like the garden hose analogy, you need to find a tee height that works best for your swing where you maximize both the apex of your golf shot and distance.
6.Play the Ball Off Your Front Heel
Playing the golf ball off your front heel does two things
- Helps you come down at the golf ball on a lower angle
- Gives you more time to square up the clubface
Remember, we want to be making contact slightly on the upswing, and that is only possible when the golf ball is higher in your golf stance
7. Come from the Inside
All of these tips I’ve mentioned are a complete waste if you don’t come from the inside on the downswing! Why? When you come from inside you are generating power from your lower body and are using “rotation” to make your swing speed. Not your wrists! This is known in golf as creating lag.
On the flip side, coming over the top (coming from the outside) on the downswing is probably the #1 most common fault that I see in my beginning students when they ask me why they aren’t getting distance on their drives. This type of swing causes a steep angle of attack and puts a lot of side spin on the golf ball which usually causes that dreaded slice!
Learn to swing from the inside, and you notice an increase in distance, not only your driver but all of your clubs!
8.Have A Complete Follow Through
If you have followed these tips so far, you are going to be generating a lot of momentum down at the golf ball!
Just don’t forget to keep the arms moving around the body to complete your swing. Your chest should be facing to the left of your target (for a right-handed golfer). What this does is makes sure that all of your weight and all of that momentum gets transferred past the golf ball.
Full rotation and acceleration are critical to a powerful drive so hold that finish and stare down that monstrous drive you are about to hit!
9. Keep Your Head Down!
I almost didn’t want to add this tip in here, but it is still so prevalent, I needed to address it.
What ends up happening when you are swinging for the fences, and all of that weight and momentum stays behind the golf ball? You lift your head to try and make contact and to see where your shot is going which then causes you to hit the top of the golf ball. Oops!
Try this: Next time you hit a drive, count to three seconds before you even look at where your ball is going. This will help you focus more on hitting the golf ball and less on watching where your ball goes.
Watch this video below of Rory swinging in slow motion. Pay close attention to his head after impact. See how long he keeps it down?
10.Know Your Miss
No one has a perfect golf swing. Everyone tends to have a specific type of shot that they hit when they don’t hit the ball correctly. Take me for example: When I swing too hard, sometimes my lower body blocks my hands on the downswing which causes an open clubface (aka push shot). So if I am going after a drive, I compensate and aim slightly to the left of my target. That way if I don’t make the contact that I’m hoping for, my miss (push shot) won’t put me in a poor position on the course.
Knowing your misses is an essential tactic to use, especially when you are trying to add distance to your golf swing!
11.Double Check, Triple Check Alignment
The alignment of your feet and shoulders is crucial when trying to maximize distance and accuracy. What good is a long drive if you can’t hit your next shot right?
So while still in your golf stance, always double check even, “triple check,” that your feet and shoulders are going down the same path as your target line. I see my beginning students too often have the correct feet line but have an open shoulder line at address. This position influences that dreaded out-to-in swing path which creates a lack of distance off the tee and sidespin on the golf ball.
Lay your club down at your feet if you have to!
12. Pick a Distant Target
If you ever listen to the audio while watching golf on TV, you can sometimes hear golfers discussing what landmark they will be aiming at off the tee box. Whether that be a distance tree, house, mountain, whatever! It is very beneficial to pick a target and swing through the golf ball right at it.
What this does is it helps keep your swing path on your target line which reduces the amount of sidespin you will be adding to the golf ball. The less sidespin on the golf ball, the more distance you will see on those drives!
13. Take 2 Small Steps Back
Remember earlier when I talked a ton about lengthening your backswing? Welp I’m going to add to that!
When addressing the golf ball, take two tiny steps back, so it feels like you are reaching a little more at the golf ball. Doing this minor adjustment helps you to:
- Start your backswing down the correct line
- Have a more shallow downswing
- Get the hips to rotate faster, avoiding a lateral slide on the downswing (Helps square the clubface more quickly)
Standing too close to the golf ball can sometimes cause the body to get stuck on the downswing. This causes hesitation and the use your wrists to generate the power since your lower body cannot correctly rotate through the ball. The results of using those wrists…. inconsistent contact and an unpredictable swing path. ????
14. Stronger Grip
If you are a fan of this website (and you should be) you have heard me preach about having a stronger grip for many different shots such as:
- The chip shot
- Fixing your slice
A strong grip is when you take your top hand on the club and rotate it towards the center of the golf grip. I good way to judge is by counting how many knuckles you see on that top hand.
A strong grip will help you release (close) your clubface faster during your downswing. We will need to do this when swinging the driver because since it is the lightest club in our bag, that extra swing speed will tend to cause an open clubface at impact.
Release the clubface faster, and you will see straighter shots off the tee
15. Use the Right Golf Ball
My last tip is not often thought of when trying to maximize your distance off the tee. Using the correct golf ball will help you eliminate added ball spin and add more distance to your golf shots!
Depending on your clubhead speed, you should have a specific golf ball that works best for your swing.
Long Drive Facts
Did you know that there are some golfers who specialize in hitting Happy Gilmore like drives?
Just to show you a comparison, PGA Tour Professionals have an average driving distance of 305 yards off the tee. Professional Long Drivers have an average distance of a mind-blowing 355 yards!
PGA Tour Professionals have an average clubhead speed of 112 mph. Professional Long Drivers have club head speeds around 134-145 mph!
To learn more golf facts, click here to impress your friends with golf trivia!
I think you’re ready to hit the course now and show off your new driving skills!
Here is a checklist of my tips that you should either write down or take a picture of so you can remember to use them on the course!
- Lengthen your backswing
- Push Your front arm behind you
- Widen your stance
- Drop the back shoulder
- Tee the ball higher
- Play the ball off of your front heel
- Come from the inside
- Have a complete followthrough
- Keep your head down
- Know your miss
- Double check your alignment at address
- Pick a distant target
- Take two small steps back
- Use a stronger grip
- Use the right golf ball for your swing speed