Golf Lessons: 6 Things You Can Do to Increase Drive Distance

Golf is a challenging and strategic game that requires precision and intelligence. On the fairway, players need to examine their surroundings and select the appropriate club to make their desired shot. There is less strategy involved on the tee box. Typically, golfers grab their driver and swing as hard as they can to drive the ball as far as possible.

While some PGA Tour players can drive the ball over 300 yards regularly, the average male amateur golfer hits the ball 217 yards, according to Decade Sports statistician Lou Stagner. While there isn’t a direct correlation between drive distance and overall skill, Stagner’s analysis notes that those with a handicap of less than 6 hit the ball an average of 245 yards. This suggests that increasing distance off the tee can help lower the overall score. With that in mind, here are six things you can do to try and increase your driving distance.

1. Ensure Center Contact

Many amateur players make the mistake of striking the ball on various points of their clubface as opposed to making consistent center contact. Striking the ball with the center of the clubface is especially vital to drive distance, so much so that you can lose 10 percent of total distance by missing the center by as little as 1 inch. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to develop a consistent swing path resulting in center contact.

To start, spray the face of your club with Impact Chalk. This training tool covers the clubface so that, after you hit it, you can see an imprint of the ball. This not only allows you to work on making center contact, but it can also give you an idea of where you need to hit the ball to perform a fade or slice when necessary. Another option to promote center contact is to swing the club between two tees without obstruction.

2. Swing Faster

Assuming sound form and consistent swing mechanics, the faster you swing the club the more likely the ball is to travel farther. However, increasing your swing speed without sacrificing rhythm takes practice. You can do this by starting with a 7 iron and swinging the club progressively faster for a series of 10 swings. Focus on the follow-through and hold your finish.

For more structured training, consider the SuperSpeed Golf Training System. Each set features a trio of graphite speed sticks with progressively heavier weights attached to the tip and a training manual. Hundreds of professional golfers have used the program. Phil Mickelson credits it for increasing his swing speed from 116 mph to 120 mph.

3. Work on Your Swing Sequence

Making center contact and swinging fast and hard won’t be as impactful if you have a poor swing sequence. Transferring power from your lower body and through the upper body to the club is critical for hitting the ball as far as possible. Professionals typically activate their lower body to start their downswing and then engage their upper body followed by their arms. This allows the clubhead to whip into the ball for maximum power. Amateurs who struggle in this area generally start their downswing in reverse order, meaning they lead with the golf club followed by their arms, upper body, and lower body.

4. Improve Your Grip

Grip is another aspect that can be improved to increase drive distance. Players with improper grip are more prone to slice the ball, which can result in a significant loss of yardage. Conversely, a good grip can promote center contact with the ball. While there are different types of grips, there are fundamentals that all amateur golfers should follow.

For starters, the club should be placed near the base of the fingers in your lead hand as opposed to the palm, as the latter restricts wrist movement. You should also position your hands so that the “V” shape formed by your thumb and hand is pointing in the direction of your right ear (or left ear if you’re left-handed).

5. Tee the Ball Higher

If the aforementioned tips aren’t helping you drive the ball farther, consider teeing higher off the tee. By teeing the ball higher, you increase the launch angle upon impact and reduce backspin that might affect the distance traveled.

6. Strength and Flexibility Training

Swing posture, form, and mechanics are all key to maximizing drive distance. Once you’ve mastered these aspects, you can focus on improving your overall strength and flexibility to increase power off the tee. Yoga and Pilates are great for enhancing flexibility and core strength, which can translate to the golf course.

Carolina Romero, a TPI certified instructor, developed a five-week exercise program for readers to increase strength in key areas that contribute to swing power. The program includes exercises such as the curl up, the glute bridge march, the reverse clam, and the reach back, the latter of which promotes a more fluid shoulder turn on the downswing.

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