The first thing any golfer wants to learn to do is hit their driver far. Without fail, this leads to them swinging harder or more wildly and will never lead to a consistently straight and long tee shot.
While swinging faster might be one of the main factors to hit it further, it’s more important to keep a good tempo and to stay balanced.
Becoming a good driver of the ball can be one of the most useful ways to improve your golf game; just hitting the fairway and having your approach shots from closer to the green will give you such an advantage over your playing partners, so there’s no secret why.
If you, like most people, want to hit the ball further and straighter off the tee, here are some tips and drills for you to use that will help you achieve that.
We’ll have you sailing straight and long in no time.
Before you set up, you need to know where you are aiming. Just before you address the ball, stand behind it so that it lines up between you and your target. Once you have done this, visualise a line from your ball to the target, then find an object in that line about two or three feet from your ball. Whether it’s a stick or a leaf, it doesn’t matter, this will just help you set your club face aiming at your target so that you can then line your body up to the target as well.
Your set up and stance when addressing the ball are just as important as your actual swing, so it’s important to follow these guidelines to improve your consistency:
- Set your feet just wider than shoulder width apart for a strong base.
- The line of your legs, knees and shoulders should all be parallel to the line of your clubface aiming at your target.
- Set your ball up on the inside of the heel of your leading foot (so your left foot if you are right handed).
- Tilt your shoulders away from the target (i.e. your right shoulder should be lower than your left shoulder).
- Keep your head behind the ball, but this should happen naturally with the ball at the front of your stance.
These five key points will encourage a number of things.
Most importantly, it will encourage hitting up on the ball at impact. By hitting up on it (i.e. hitting it after the bottom of your swing arc), you will get as little side or back spin as possible. This is important because you will get more roll through the fairway and your ball speed through the air will be maximised, causing it to fly as far as your swing speed allows.
Furthermore, setting up like this will help you lose that hook or slice that you might be struggling with.
If you still have problems with your set up or driving, here’s an instructional video to help demonstrate some more tips.
The next thing to worry about is how far away you stand from the ball. If you stand too close to the ball, you will force yourself to swing outside in to make contact, causing a slice. If you’re too far, you’ll just end up reaching and never make good contact and lose all your power.
Generally, it’s best to stand with the grip of the club you’re using about the length of your little finger to your thumb away from your leading hip. If you still aren’t sure about this, here is a video
explaining how far away to stand from the ball.
Power and Consistency
You may have heard it said by commentators on TV that the pros “clear their hips” well through impact. What this means is that they use their hip turn through the downswing to create speed instead of throwing their arms at it, or “casting” as it’s called.
The best way to try get this feeling yourself is to drive your hips towards the target after you reach the top of your backswing. While doing this, try to feel your weight shift from about 60-70% on your back foot during your back swing, to 80-90% on your front foot after you’ve hit the ball.
This will promote the rotation of your hips and increase swing speed, but it will also improve the consistency of your ball striking tenfold. Improved ball striking is the simplest way to hitting the ball further and straighter.
As previously mentioned, swinging harder is the key to hitting the ball further. This doesn’t come easy, though. If you want to gain distance off the tee you first have to find a swing that is comfortable for yourself.
Once you’ve really grooved it, and you think you’re hitting up on the ball and driving your hips through, you can start trying to swing harder with the same swing. You can also practice swinging harder while holding the club an inch or two lower.
Doing this will help you with swing speed while still maintaining some accuracy. Having said all of this, you should always worry about accuracy before distance, so make sure you practice as much as possible before you get out onto the course and swing yourself off your feet!