While driving distance isn't the most important stat in golf, everyone wants to hit the ball farther.
Before overhauling your swing or starting a grueling fitness regimen, make sure your fundamentals promote a powerful golf swing.
Here are a handful of golf tips to increase your driver distance without making a single swing change:
1. Tee it high (but not too high): The general rule is to tee the ball so that half of it is above the top line of the clubface at address. If you use a driver with a head size of 440-460cc, you can tee it slightly higher. Too high, though, and you'll risk undercutting the ball.
2. Position the ball properly: When hitting the driver, the ball should be even with your left heel (and the toe flared slightly outward). The clubface will be moving ever so slightly upward at impact, maximizing the driver's loft and launch angle.
3. Widen your stance: Your feet should be a little wider than shoulder width at address with the driver. This increases the tension between hips and shoulders on the backswing – which is how pros generate so much power.
4. Lower the right shoulder: Before taking the club back, drop your right shoulder just a touch to encourage an upswing at impact.
The Easy Way to Get 10 More Yards from Your Driver
When most golfers think about adding distance to their game, they get a little bit carried away with their expectations. If you asked the average golfer how many yards he or she would like to gain off the tee, they are likely to say that they want 20, 30, 40, or even 50 more yards of distance. While it would be great to be able to blast away like the top professionals, those kinds of distances just aren't realistic for the typical amateur player. However, even by setting more modest goals you can manage to do yourself a great favor from the tee. Adding just 10 yards to your average drive will go a long way toward helping you post lower scores.
What can you do with 10 extra yards from the tee? Well, for one thing, you should be able to hit one less club into the target when you are hitting your drives 10 additional yards on a regular basis. So, for instance, you might be able to hit an eight iron into the green on a par four, rather than a seven iron. Since you are certainly going to hit your eight iron closer to the hole on an average basis as compared to the seven iron, you will have better birdie and par opportunities in the end. Even though 10 yards doesn't sound like that much, it really can make a big difference as you make your way around the course.
Unfortunately, most golfers go about looking for extra yards in completely the wrong way. You shouldn't be trying to make drastic changes to your swing technique in order to add yards, as you could wind up doing more harm than good by making major changes. Instead, you should be looking for subtle ways to add yardage, making minor tweaks instead of massive overhauls. In other words, you should be thinking about optimizing the performance of your swing. At this point, there are almost certainly inefficiencies in your driving game that are costing you yards from the tee. If you can eliminate, or at least reduce, those inefficiencies, you should be able to tack on yards to your average drive.
Getting back to the title of this article, the easy way to add 10 yards to your driver is actually to add a couple yards in each of a few different places. That is going to be the idea behind this article – we are going to offer you a number of different ways in which you can add minor amounts of distance to your drives. By adding all of those small points up, you should be able to hit drives 10 (or more) yards longer in the end. Rather than looking for a big change in one place, we are going to look for small changes in a number of locations. You will have to put in some work to take advantage of these ideas, but that work will be worth it when you see your ball traveling farther down the fairway.
All of the instruction below is based on a right handed golfer. If you happen to play left handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.
Dialing In the Right Tee Height
The first place we are going to look for a couple extra yards might seem subtle, but it is in fact quite important to the quality of shots you hit with your driver. When teeing the ball up prior to making a swing with your driver, you need to be sure that you are placing the ball at just the right height for your club and your swing. The right tee height for a driver shot is going to vary from player to player, so this is a point that you need to practice in order to dial it in for yourself.
As a starting point, you should try teeing the ball up at a height that places the mid-line of the ball even with the top line of your driver. Basically, when your driver is set behind the ball at address, half of the golf ball should be above the top of the club. Why is this is a good place to start? Since you want to be hitting up on your driver through impact, you need to have the ball above the level of the club as it sits at address. If the ball were to be even with the sweet spot at address, for instance, you would have almost no chance to hit up on the ball properly – there simply wouldn't be enough room between the ground and the ball.
At first, you are likely to think that this tee height is too high. Many amateur golfers are afraid or swinging right under the ball when they tee it up this high, but that is very unlikely to happen. With solid fundamentals and good balance, you should be able to strike the ball perfectly when it is in this high position. Of course, every player is unique, so you will likely need to fine tune your tee height as you practice until you find a spot that is just right for your mechanics. Some players will want the ball just a bit lower, and some will actually want it even higher.
During your next practice session, spend some time hitting drivers with the specific goal of figuring out exactly how high you need to tee the ball in order to get optimal results. One of the best ways to do this is with the help of a marker to draw lines on your tees as you practice. First, tee the ball up so that half of the ball is above the top of the club at address, as explained above. With the tee in the ground at that height, draw a line where the tee is meeting the ground. Take this tee out of the ground and match it up with a few other tees of the same length. Draw lines on all of the tees so you know exactly how far you have to push it into the ground to put the ball at that starting height. Then, as you practice, you can easily move up and down from that point just by using your lines as a point of reference. By the end of the practice session you should have a great understanding of what is going to be the ideal tee height for your driver swing.
It might go without saying, but in order to dial in the right tee height for your driver swings, you do have to have long enough tees in your golf bag. If you only have short tees available, and you are using a large, modern driver, those tees are not going to be long enough to get the job done. Be sure to pick up a package of long tees and keep them in your bag specifically for shots you hit with your driver. Those shorter tees will be just fine for shots hit with any other club in your bag.
As long as you take the time to figure out exactly how high your ball should be teed at address, you will have given yourself a much better chance to find the sweet spot time after time. Most likely, you are going to pick up a couple yards (on average) through the improved contact that you are making with the ball. Practice teeing the ball up at your ideal height and be sure to pay attention to this small detail once you get out on the course.
Opening Up the Right Foot
You already know that making a great turn in the backswing is one of the keys to hitting long drives. However, you might not know that you can add to your turn simply by rotating your right foot slightly open at address. That's right – adding length to your shoulder turn may be as simple as making a small setup adjustment. Most golfers think they need to improve their flexibility to add to their turn, but doing so requires many trips to the gym and an elaborate stretching and fitness routine. Not so in this case. By opening your right foot to the target line just slightly, your turn should improve and you should instantly add distance.
To give this change a try for yourself, head to the local driving range and prepare to hit a few driver shots. As you get ready to hit the first ball, take your stance as you would normally. However, prior to starting the swing, rotate your right foot about 10-degrees open from its usual square position. In other words, rather that positioning your foot so that it is perpendicular to the target line, you are going to point your toes out to the right by a small amount. It is important to note that you don't have to make a big change in your foot positioning to make a big change in your swing, so start small and work from there.
With your foot in its new position, go ahead and hit a few drives. What do you notice? Hopefully, you will feel more freedom in your backswing, which will translate to added speed and power through impact. Opening your right foot can help you to generate more power because it will be easier to turn your shoulders away from the target without running into resistance from your right leg. With your right foot in a square position, your knee is going to resist your efforts to turn – unless you are a particularly flexible individual. By rotating your foot open, you are going to relieve some of the pressure on your right knee, and the turn will instantly become easier.
This is a tip that can help almost any golfer gain distance. However, this is also a tip that can cause trouble in your swing, if you aren't careful. While learning to hit shots from this new stance, be sure to control your balance properly in the backswing. It is easier to allow yourself to slide to the right in the backswing when your right foot is open, and that is a mistake that will ruin the rest of your action. Remember, the golf swing is a rotational motion, and there is no room for a significant slide to the right (or the left, for that matter). As long as you manage your balance nicely as you turn, altering your right foot position at address should add a couple more yards to your average drive.
Using the Right Ball
The next place we are going to look for a few extra yards is not in your swing, and it isn't even in your driver – it's your golf ball. When you pick out a golf ball to use in your game, that selection should be made based on a number of factors. First, you want the ball to be one that is going to work well for you in the short game. If you can't chip and putt nicely with a given ball, it should be ruled out immediately. Once you narrow down your options based on the short game, you then want to find a ball that is going to perform well when struck with your driver. It may take some time and testing, but there should be a ball out there somewhere that is going to meet your needs both in the short game and the long game.
Before you can start searching for a new ball to add distance to your drives, you need to determine if there is a problem with your current ball in the first place. During your next round, watch for the following warning signs when you hit your driver.
- A ballooning flight. This is the last thing you want to see out of your golf ball when it comes to driver shots. A ballooning ball flight is one that continues to climb higher and higher into the air as it travels – until the shot runs out of steam and the ball falls nearly straight down to the ground. This kind of trajectory is going to cost you considerable distance as compared to a flatter, lower-spin flight. Not only will you struggle to hit the ball very far with this kind of trajectory, but you will also have a great deal of trouble when playing in the wind. There is nothing wrong with hitting high drives, but the ball needs to be flying relatively flat when it gets up to height. If you see a balloon pattern developing in your long game, looking for other golf ball options should be one of your top priorities.
- An extremely low flight. On the other end of the spectrum, you are also going to struggle to achieve maximum distance when your ball stays extremely low to the ground. This problem can also be related to the shaft in your driver, so be sure to look at that possibility as well. However, if you are sure you have the right shaft in your club, it may be the ball that is giving you so much trouble. Golf shots require backspin to climb up into the air, so a rather low flight may be an indication that you are having trouble producing much spin. Where ballooning drives have far too much spin to hold a nice trajectory, low-flying drives face just the opposite problem. Picking a ball is largely about finding one that will offer you the correct spin rate throughout your set of clubs.
- Very little bounce and roll. This is a point that is going to depend on the conditions that you find out on the course. If the course is soft, you shouldn't worry too much about not getting bounce and roll on your drives – soft conditions don't allow anyone's drives to move much after they land. However, if your playing partners are getting plenty of roll out while your drives stop immediately upon coming down, there may be a problem. Most likely, this is another issue related to spin. If your drives have an unusually high spin rate, that spin is going to cause the ball to 'dig in' when it lands, and you will lose distance. Shots with less spin are more likely to take big bounces, meaning extra yards tacked on to the end of your drives.
As you look for the right golf ball, consider buying sleeves of three balls each rather than entire dozens. That way, you will be able to test a variety of models without having to blow through your golfing budget. Also, you may be able to trade golf balls with other players in your group. If your playing partners are also interested in trying new brands and models, swapping golf balls is a great way to expand your testing process. Once you do find a ball you like, be sure to use only that ball during all of your rounds. You want to develop a close relationship with the performance of your golf ball, so there is no point in using other balls from time to time. Stick with the winner of your testing and you should again add at least a few yards to your typical drive.
Keep Your Head Still
The last place we are going to look for extra yards on your drives is sitting right on top of your shoulders – your head. If you can manage to keep your head nicely still through the hitting area, you should be able to add distance to your tee shots on a regular basis. Hitting long drives is just as much about control and precision as it is about speed, and a stable head position is going to greatly help your control. You should find the sweet spot more frequently when your head is staying still during the downswing - and your longest drives are always going to be found on the sweet spot.
It should be noted that a little head movement in the downswing is okay. You don't have to keep your head perfectly still – but it should be mostly still, with just a little movement from side to side. Specifically, you want to prevent your head from moving up or down dramatically during the downswing. Losing your 'level' by going up or down is going to create big problems as you try to make perfect contact at impact. Work on maintaining the level of your head by giving yourself a solid base through proper use of your lower body. Maintaining knee flex and staying down in your stance will make it much easier to hold your head steady.
While it is okay for your head to move a bit as you swing down, it is not okay for your eyes to deviate at all. You should be locked in on the ball with your eyes throughout the entire swing, and that should not change until after the ball has been sent off into the distance. Pick out a spot on the top of your golf ball to watch as you swing and don't let anything pull your focus away from that point. It is hard to make solid contact with the ball if you aren't actually looking at what you are hitting, so make this seemingly minor point a top priority within your swing.
So, in the end, we have four unique points that are all designed to help you find a bit of extra distance with your driver. While none of these points individually will make a huge difference (most likely), they can have a profound effect when all added up. In fact, there is a good chance that you will be able to add more than 10 yards to your drives by using all four of these tips. Take the time necessary to work through them one by one and you will love the results. Good luck!