All golfers differ in some way, but one thing we all yearn for is to hit the ball further. It's only natural, right? More distance means we might reach long par-4s in regulation, or shorter par-5s in two - and of course, it's hard to beat that feeling of outdriving our buddies.
Hitting your approach from as close to the green as possible is ideal; shorter approach shots usually equal lower scores and the ultimate win-win situation. It will all be for nothing, though if you’re blocked out in nasty, gnarly rough. To help increase your distance from the tee box - without sacrificing your accuracy - we've gathered some unmissable driver tips. Let's jump straight to it.
Nail Your Set-Up
We always start our driver tips pieces by hammering home the need to get your fundamentals in place. When trying to hit the driver, we need a positive attack angle - i.e. you're aiming to hit up on the ball after the club passes the bottom of its swing arc. The set-up is vitally important to achieving this.
Before you get ahead of yourself, let's lay some solid foundations. If you want to nail your driver time and again, these basics are super important. You already know that you need to hit up on the ball with the big stick, and it’s these set-up essentials that will ensure that positive attack angle time and again.
- Tee the golf ball up high with around half of it poking out above the top of the driver.
- Take a stance that's just wider than the width of your shoulders. This should provide a stable base to really wind up in the backswing.
- Position the golf ball just off your lead (left, for right-handed golfers) heel. Be careful here - at times it might look like the ball is in line with your left heel, but it could be a ball closer to the centre. Video your swing from front on to get reliable feedback.
- Slightly tilt your upper body away from the target. This might be naturally achieved due to the ball position, but be mindful of having your shoulders too flat.
You could also pin your trail shoulder back a little so that you’re pointed slightly out to the right. It's a great way of ensuring that optimal in-to-out swing path.
Open Your Trail Foot
Next we have a tip for those of us who aren't as mobile as we used to be. If you want to get a better turn in your backswing, try flaring out your trail foot (that's the right for all you righties out there) when you address the ball.
This gives you more room to rotate in your backswing and really wind up those shoulders to give you more swing speed on the way back down. Just open up by no more than 10 degrees or so and get ready to watch those shots fly.
Shift Your Weight Correctly
Nailing your weight transfer is one of the best ways to improve quality of contact and hit your golf shots further. You might think you have a decent shift, but do you really? Many of us are guilty of swaying in the backswing or hanging back in the downswing. If you’re a mid-high handicapper, do you think you could improve your weight shift? We’d bet our life on it.
When you're at the top of your backswing, aim for around 60-70% of your weight on your back foot. When you’re beyond contact and into the follow through, you want to be leaning forward with 85-90% of your weight on your front leg.
Learn to Hit the Sweet Spot
To hit the golf ball further it's pretty obvious that you're gonna have to swing faster. But, here's the thing - if you're not careful, you might end up hitting everywhere except the centre of the clubface and you’ll spray the ball all over the show. Trust us, we’ve all been there (many times).
Remember all those boring set-up fundamentals we talked about in tip #1? At the risk of sounding like a broken record, they’ll be just as important here too. Assuming they’re locked in, the real key to finding the sweet spot is to not rush the downswing. If you're gonna swing with speed, you have to also keep it under control. Don't just swing out of your shoes and hope for the best - that's a recipe for disaster.
Use the Ground for More Power
Back in tip #1 we mentioned the importance of a good wide stance. We're not talking about verging on doing the splits here, just a stance that’s a little wider than your shoulders. This helps you use those rotational forces to get some serious power behind your swing - and that power can be amplified by how you use the ground.
Coming down toward impact, you need to push off the ground and come up slightly onto your toes. Don’t get too carried away, though. Swinging faster and still hitting the centre of the clubface will require some serious practice, so take it slow and steady and make changes gradually.
Improve Your Strength and Flexibility
Another way to help you hit longer drives this golf season, is to get to the gym and get your sweat on. Get those muscles pumping and your body moving to improve your strength and flexibility. Remember, the more flexible you are, the longer your backswing will be - and the further your ball will fly!
Earlier this year, we pulled together some of our favourite fitness tips. Check them out, and you'll find drills to work on your rotation and balance and others to help you build general speed and explosiveness.
Bonus Tip: Use Hole19 to track your progress
As you work on developing a solid driver swing, there are many ways you can use the Premium features of your Hole19 app to measure your improvement in this area.
One obvious method is to use the Shot Tracker function and see how much distance you are gaining.