For many amateurs golf can be a very frustrating sport. They step up on the tee and are never quite sure which direction the ball is going to travel off of their club face. However the one thing that keeps bringing people back for more and more is the wonderful feeling of striking a ball flush from the middle of their driver. As an old Taylor Made ad stated "distance makes the heart grow fonder."
The mechanics of a golf swing are more complex than perhaps that of any other sport on the planet. A good golf swing must be underpinned with sold fundamentals including solid grip, square alignment to the target, a solid base / stance, and a dynamic upright posture. For the purpose of this article I am going to assume that you have solid basic fundamentals. If you are a chronic slicer of the ball, hook the ball regularly or even top or slice the ball these tips will serve only to add length to your shot shape. Thus if your natural shot is a "hook" for example, the ball will travel further but in the direction of your natural shot.
|Tips For Increasing Golf Driving Distance|
Please try a selection of the following tips and see which ones have a positive impact on your game. I can guarantee that you will begin to hit the ball further than you have ever done before.
Tip # 1 - Change Your Equipment
Perhaps the easiest way to add distance to your drives without changing any of the mechanics of your swing, is to change your equipment. Simply changing to a harder two piece ball with a hard outer layer will add approximately 10 yards to a well struck drive. You will lose an element of control around the greens, but for winter golf or even a higher handicap golfer the change will be worthwhile.
Modern drivers have changed the way the game is played. Large oversized titanium heads have provided golfers with an unmatched level of performance and forgiveness. These drivers will add distance to your drive by virtue of the fact titanium is lighter than steel. Thus even though the head size has increased the overall swing weight has been reduced. This enables drivers to generate more club head speed thus increasing the distance the ball travels. The very fact the head size has been increased, means that off center hits will also travel much further because the size of the sweet spot has increased accordingly.
The most important element in the distance and accuracy of your drives is the often overlooked type of shaft you are using. If you are using a steel shaft, you are sacrificing club head speed due to the additional weight. You really should get a custom fit graphite shaft suited to your swing. If you are a beginner or a golfer with a relatively slow swing speed then you will gain additional distance by playing with a whippy flexible shaft. These shafts have a higher kick point so that at impact they spring at the ball and unleash an additional burst of speed through impact. However beware if you have a higher swing speed a stiffer shaft will produce longer straighter results. This is one element of your game that you need custom fit equipment. Run a search on Google to find a custom fit center near you.
Tip # 2 - Adopt a Stronger Grip
A neutral golf grip is when you can see 2 knuckles of your left hand / the hand at the top of the shaft. A weak grip is when you see less than 2 knuckles on the upper hand. This action tends to promote a fade or slice as the grip returns to neutral at impact thus ensuring the face is opened if the grip is weak. A strong grip is one in which you can see 3 or 4 knuckles on your left hand (for right handed golfers).
A good way to measure a strong grip is to make the "V's" formed by the thumb and index finger point towards your right shoulder. A strong grip will tend to promote a draw which every golfer knows is a top spin shot that travels much further.
This is especially true with their left hand. To achieve this you should see about three to four knuckles on your left hand. This gives you so much more leverage in terms of your wrist movement. You are able to wait to the last moment to release the club, which results in a surge of club head speed through impact.
Tip # 3 - Release Tensions in Your Hands and Arms
If you were to really tense up your leg muscles and attempt to run a race, you would not be able to walk very fast let alone say run. The muscles in your hands and arms are no different. The grip pressure is perhaps the most important element to eliminating a tense rigid swing. Grip pressure should be light but firm. Professional golfers have stated that you should grip the golf club with the same pressure as if you were:
Lightly squeezing a tube of tooth paste
Holding a child's hand
Holding a small bird in your hand
Use which ever analogy is best for you but remember always be conscious of your grip pressure especially just before you commence your take away. It is impossible to hold the club too lightly. Your muscles will instinctively increase grip pressure throughout your swing to ensure the club does not fly out of your hands.
A light grip pressure will also have the positive effect of releasing tension in your arms. Build a few waggles into your pre-shot routine to further ensure there is no build up of tension.
You will be shocked an amazed how much further your ball will fly as a result of relaxed hand and arm muscles.
Tip # 4 - Increase the Width of Your Arc
Try this simple drill to realize the importance of the swing arc. Hold a golf ball in your hand 10 or so inches directly over your right shoulder. Now throw the ball as far as you can. You will notice the ball didn't travel very far. Now extend you right hand back as far as is comfortably possible and throw the ball as far as you can. You will notice that the ball traveled significantly further. Many amateur golfers fail to realize the importance of the width of the swing arc in determining the distance the ball flies.
Perhaps the best tip that I have come across for creating a wide powerful swing arc is that of Greg Normans. Greg Norman has long been one of the longest straightest drivers of the golf ball. His tip is simple and powerful. At your address position ensure your left arm and club shaft form a straight line down to the ball. Make sure there is no tension whatsoever in the hand or arm.
Now simply push your left elbow back away from the target. Keep pushing it back, back, back all the way. Sooner or later as your swing reaches the three quarter way position, somethings going to give and your wrist will automatically cock at the top. This business of an early wrist cock advocated by some of the games teachers doesn't work very well because it eliminates the extension of your arc which is a key source of power in the swing. This is a powerful technique easy to reproduce that will add yards to your drives with practice.
Tip # 5 - Delay the Club Head Release Through Impact
Many of the games greats will differ in their back swing but generate a very similar down swing sequence. Contrast "Jim Furyk" with "Tiger Woods". One swing attribute that they all have in common is a powerful late release of the club head (also known as club head lag). In my opinion the golfer with one of the most powerful late releases is "Sergio Garcia". He has a rather unorthodox back swing but a powerful late release ensures he hits the golf ball a long, long way. What I mean by late release of the golf club is a delayed uncocking/release of the wrists just before impact.
Many amateurs suffer from the dreaded 'casting' motion whereby they throw the club at the ball from the top of the swing. Thus they are releasing all their power long before the club ever nears the ball. In order to create a late release you should consciously focus on retaining your fully cocked wrists for as long as possible prior to impact. I have come across two excellent tips to achieve this goal. Please only use one or the other as you should never have two simultaneous swing thoughts prior to impact. The club head is moving too fast to execute more than one.
Insert a tee peg at the butt end of your shaft and focus on the mental image of trying to drive that tee peg into the back of the ball. To condense this into one neat phrase think "pull butt of shaft down to back of ball". This will cause a very late release of your club and store up considerable power during the downswing which can be effectively delivered to the back of the ball.
Ernie Els advocates a late release maneuver created by Harvey Pennick called 'Golf's Magic Move'. To execute this technique, one you arrived at the top of your back swing think "right elbow down to right side". This effectively retains the wrist angle and ensures a late release into the back of the ball.
Tip # 6 - Increase Your Coil
This move is not for those who have a stiff, unsupple back or back problems in any sense of the word. Effectively one of the greatest sources of power in a golf swing is the coiling of your shoulder turn against your hip turn. The further you can turn your shoulder and limit your hip turn the more wind up you generate in the backswing. This results in a powerful uncoiling in the downswing generating substantial power into the back of the ball.
The effect is similar to wrapping an elastic band around your finger. The more tightly you wind it the faster it unwinds. A good mental image to achieve this goal is to imagine you are standing in a barrel of cement. Your legs and hips are thus restricted in their movement. Now focus on turning your back fully to the target. This will create a powerful shoulder turn on top of a limited hip turn. You will generate substantial increases in the distance your ball flies with this one tips alone.
Tip # 7 - Widen Your Stance, Retain Flex in Right Knee
In order to generate strong club head speed, you need a stable base to ensure it is correctly delivered to the back of the ball. Ensure the inside of your insteps are outside the width of your shoulders. To ensure the correct distance apart simply hang two clubs vertically from the outside of both shoulders. The club heads should be directly over the insteps in both feet.
Tip # 8 - Retain Flex in Right Knee
A critical element in the creation of a powerful golf swing is the retention of flex in the right knee in the back swing. If your right knee straightens it's like snapping the tension in the swing and all your power is immediately destroyed.
A good tip is to bend the right knee and tilt it slightly in towards the ball. Focus on retaining this inward tilt throughout the back swing. Then in the downswing start with leading your front left leg slightly toward the target. This ensures dynamic impact position and helps retain the angle in your wrist thus delivering a late release.
I hope you found these tips useful and enlightening. Golf can be made out to be a very complex sport so I hope this demystified some of the technique required for generating more distance for your drives. Do not attempt to use more than one of these techniques all in one go. And most certainly do not take all these swing thoughts to the golf course.
Your job now is to go to your local golf range with a bucket of balls. Print of this sheet of paper and try to reproduce these tips on the golf range. With practice you will build muscle memory and the swing changes will become a habit that will not require any conscious effort to execute. In the immortal words of John Daly "Grip it and Rip it."