Asking golfers if they would like more distance on their drives is like asking a tennis players if they want faster serves. The answer is always yes. Although I would much rather see my students practice their putting and chipping, they all come to me with the notion that they need to hit it longer. Here’s some ways you can achieve more distance off the tee.
Lighten your grip
Light grip pressure is essential for producing long drives. Keeping soft hands on the club – not so soft that the shaft flies out of your hands, of course – this will relax them and enable them to make better swings and achieve more distance. Keeping your grip pressure light allows the wrist to hinge naturally. Having the wrist hinge at the top of the back-swing increases overall swing speed and provides extra pop at impact.
Load Up Behind the Ball
Make a good shoulder turn of at least 90 degrees in concert with a hips turn of roughly half that amount. From there you simply put the swing on auto pilot and unwind. I was watching a youngster play T-Ball the other day and he illustrated this point for me. He was standing with the ball in the middle of his stance with the bat of his shoulder. What he needs to do is have the ball positioned forward in his stance and have the bat up high, away from his shoulder. The golf swing works the same exact way. You have to let the left knee work behind the ball in the back-swing and you must create width in the swing. Width in the swing equates to power.
Besides swing speed, the other key to distance is solidness of contact. I have my students address the ball duplicating my impact position – weight on left side, head back, hips turned toward the target. This is an unusual address position but it helps students understand and develop muscle memory for what the proper impact position should feel like. This drill helps my students make better contact right away.
Accelerate Through the Ball
Average length golfers are more concerned with hitting the ball rather then swinging through the ball. Try thinking of driving the right hand (for right handed golfers) to a point about two feet in beyond the ball. If you do that you will be accelerating through the impact zone.
Keep in mind folks that the 2008 Long Drive Champion was a shade under 6 feet and weighed all of 170 pounds. On the way to wrapping up his national title in Ontario Jamie Sadlowski hit a drive of 398 yards into a 20 mph-plus headwind.
Remember, lighten your grip, load up behind the ball and accelerate through the ball.
Jeff Diehl, PGA