Distance is an important part of the game of golf at all levels of play. Long hitters have always had an impact on the game from Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods in their prime, to Bryson DeChambeau today. Learning how to hit a driver further allows you to hit a shorter club into the green improving your chances to score lower. This article will help you to get more distance with your driver with key tips from how you set up to the ball for power, to using both your body and the ground to generate speed, along with a special tip at the end.
Remember that distance, like most parts of the game, always starts with good fundamentals. The versatile Swing Align swing trainer can help you see and feel the key positions and help you to build a better golf swing for both distance and accuracy.
How to Increase Drive Distance
There are many opinions on how to hit the driver further. It is important to understand hitting a driver off a tee is different than hitting an iron off the ground, and how you set up to hit a drive is different from the other clubs in your bag. Regardless of if you are a better driver of the ball or a better iron player, everyone wants to hit it longer!
1. Set Up For Power
The most important key in how to drive a golf ball further is to move the ball forward in your stance at set up so that you hit the ball with a neutral to upward angle of attack. Many golfers play their driver too far back in their stance like they are hitting an iron. While a downward swing angle helps an iron shot get up off the ground, with a driver it adds spin which shortens your distance and can increase how much the ball curves. So play the ball off the instep of your lead foot (the left foot for right hand golfers).
Do not lean or tilt back too far at set-up, or hang back on your trail leg in an attempt to hit up on the ball. Your set up should be balanced. In terms of stance and alignment make sure your shoulders and feet are square to your target line, not open. An open stance is a distance killer as it inhibits your rotation, so is an open clubface so be sure to square both your clubface and body to your target. A good set up and ball position will naturally provide you the proper angle of attack so pay attention to get it right and then swing with confidence.
The Swing Align Bundle comes with rod extensions to help you see the proper alignment with your upper body and feet pointed in the same direction. It also includes the ground based Swing Junction with a moveable puck that helps you get the ball positioned forward in your stance while maintaining your square alignment. Use this to dial in the perfect set up.
Most great drivers of the ball have the club just outside of their hands when the club is parallel with the ground in the backswing. This position is called P2 by many instructors, the clubface should be pointing back at the golf ball. Another way to think about this is to keep the toe of the club closer to the ball than the heel.
Remember that an open clubface means more spin, more curve and less flight. Take care not to roll your hands away from the ball as you take the club back. If anything, feel like your lead wrist is rolling under and pointing downward. This will help you to get your wrist and clubface in the right orientation for power.
The Swing Align device will help you to move your lead shoulder down, not out, as you turn your body to take the club away. Concentrate on making the lead end of the rod move down towards your back foot, not out and away from your body. This will put you in a good position when your club reaches parallel as mentioned above. If you take the club away with your hands and arms, or roll your wrists open, you will see the Swing Align rod move out, not down. Stay connected and turn the club away with your body and not your hands. If you would like a crash course on takeaway check out our blog on proper backswing.
All long drivers rotate or turn their shoulders more than 90 degrees relative to their target line at the top of their swing. You may not be able to rotate this far, but most likely you can rotate more and increase your distance with the driver with one simple tip. First, take a practice swing, preferably wearing your Swing Align device and note how far your shoulders rotate with your normal swing then try the following. On your next swing allow your hips to rotate more as well. Think about moving your trail hip (right hip for right hand golfers) away from the ball. This will give you more room to rotate your shoulders. Practice this a few times and let your Swing Align device show your progress.
4. Ground Force
An often forgotten part of the golf swing is your legwork and how you apply force and pressure into the ground. Using the ground to generate speed and power is how smaller pros like Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas generate so much distance with their driver. As soon as you reach the top of your swing you should be thinking about shifting pressure into your lead leg. As your club moves down to parallel with the ground on its way back down to the ball, you should be both turning your hips through to the target and pushing up on your lead leg. Feel your lead hip (left hip for right hand golfers) rotating away from the ball and your lead leg straightening as you finish your swing with your weight on your lead leg.
It is imperative not to hang back on your trail leg at impact and flip the club through with your arms and hands. The idea is to use your legs, body and ground to rotate the club through instead of just swinging your arms. Keep your body active and your hands passive on the way down. Swing Align can help you feel the sensation of your arms staying connected to your body. Let the body lead and your arms will follow.
5. Increase Your Clubhead Speed
As a special tip, consider the following to help you increase your clubhead speed. Many golfers who struggle to generate speed and increase driver distance straighten their trail arm (right arm for right hand golfers) before impact. This straightening is caused by a number of things - often it is poor rotation, or hanging back on the trail side, or flipping the arms or hands at the ball before impact - all of the things we discussed above. But how do you stop doing those things? A good way to make that happen is to think about keeping your trail arm bent and near your body as long as possible, even past impact if you can. This forces you to use rotation and your bigger muscles to square the club at impact, instead of flipping and hoping your timing is good.
How to Drive the Ball Farther with Swing Align!
The Swing Align golf swing training device is outstanding at helping you set up properly, rotate to the top to store maximum energy, and then stay connected using your body (and the ground) to help you rotate and push your way back to impact with maximum clubhead speed. Swing Align will help you build a better golf swing!