If you asked 10 golfers what they would love to add to their game, 8 would say “add a few yards to my drive”. The other 2 (the smart ones) would ask for a better short game. These 2 guys would probably beat you, but that’s neither here nor there. It’s fun to hit the ball a long way and everyone wants to do it. There’s a good reason players like Bubba Watson and John Daly are super popular. And with the way the professional game is headed we now see many more bombers than control players. Now you probably won’t be able to crack the 300 yard mark but you can add a few yards to drive. Here are 3 things that are easy to work on and will make a difference in what club you have left into the green:
Check Your Ball Position
Ball position is huge from a distance standpoint. It affects how solid you hit the ball and also affects how the ball launches off the driver. Both of these are important in producing maximum distance. A golf ball positioned too far back in the stance it will tend to launch too low and it will be easier to hit the ball high on the clubface. A ball positioned too far forward will it easier to hit the ball low on the clubface. The optimal ball position for a driver should be the even with the outside of your left (front) shoulder. The left armpit area is the bottom of the swing and positioning the ball slightly in front of that ensures contact is made as driver starts to work up. You want to make contact slightly on the upswing with the driver. This provides the best opportunity to make solid contact and launch the ball in the air. To check your ball position use a golf club or an alignment stick and place it on the ground perpendicular to your target. Position it inside of your left foot and you’ll get a good visual of where the golf ball sits in relation to your shoulder.
Flare Your Back Foot
A good way to add swing speed is to create more body rotation on the backswing. The more you rotate the longer the swing arc becomes and more speed is created. Unfortunately most golfers lack flexibility which is a big key to rotating. A good way to make up for this is by flaring or pointing your feet out. When you flare the feet it allows for more movement in the hips. With more range of motion in the hips you will be able to turn more on the backswing. Setup with your normal stance and give your right (back) foot about a 10 degree turn away from the target. This may close your stance slightly which is OK. Now take some practice swings and focus on rotating the shoulders behind the ball. You will find with the flared foot that your hips have more room to turn and thus your shoulders will have more room to turn.
Slow Down the Backswing
Players who create power gradually build that power during the swing and then have the maximum power delivered at the golf ball. You see good examples of this with players like Gary Woodland and Bubba Watson with their slower takeaways and rips through the ball. A lot of amateur golfers think in order to swing faster they need to swing quicker. This is not usually the case and can lead to problems such as poor timing and a disconnected golf swing. If you really want to hit it further, slow down the backswing. Feel the hands, arms, and club move away at a more deliberate pace. This will allow the power to build gradually throughout the swing and will lead to better tempo and connection. When you do this you will feel the golf club working up to the top of the swing and will feel the maximum velocity as the club approaches the ball. If a few extra yards would help your golf game, try these tips the next time you make it to the range. You’ll see an increase in clubhead speed and an increase in distance.
Clay Hood is a PGA Golf Professional and Co-Founder/Marketing Director for Precision Pro Golf. Clay can be reached at [email protected]/.