Golf is a sport unlike most of the others in the world. Being athletic is fine, but a golfer’s skill and technique are what separates the mediocre from the great.
Any amateur golfer you meet will have similar stories of frustrations with their short to intermediate game.
Whether they are toying with their putting stance or trying to master the art of the pitching wedge, there is no more aggravating sport to try to improve than golf.
While weekend golfers are busy honing these skills, there is still an undeniable facet of the game that any sports fan can relate to: We all just want to hit the ball further.
Any visit to the driving range will confirm this theory. You’ll find golfers of all shapes and sizes trying to outdrive each other with varying levels of success.
The true amateurs are swinging with all their might like they’re batting cleanup in the local softball league, only to be outdriven by someone half their size.
No matter what part of your game you’re trying to improve, your technique is everything.
How To Hit Longer Drives
If you’ve been wondering how to hit longer drives, keep on reading, and you’ll find plenty of tips and tricks that should help you up your game.
Get Custom Fitted Clubs
If you take your golf game seriously, you need to put in the work to improve your game. Consider your golf clubs the tools you need to be an extension of that work. For any job you decide to take on, the first step is ensuring you have the right tools to see it through.
To get the most out of a set of clubs, regardless of how much you did or did not spend on them, you need to ensure they give you optimal performances.
The best way to do that is by having them custom fit to your body size and playing style.
Professional club fitters take in detailed data such as swing speed and create a customized solution for your equipment.
Not only will this improve your driving distance and accuracy, but it will also give you more consistency in your driving ability.
Knowing where and how far your drive will travel is key to improving your overall game.
Improve Your Setup
An easily corrected but common mistake is standing too close or too far away from the ball.
Correcting a faulty setup will improve every facet of your golf game, especially driving distance. Poor setups can result in several issues that will reduce the length of your drives.
Standing too far from the ball forces you to bend over, creating a bad posture. This stance causes you to lose power by being unbalanced.
Standing too close to the ball affects your balance as well. Being too close will force you to mainly use your arms to swing, limiting the power threshold your torso and lower body create when you swing.
The best stance for a solid, consistent swing puts you in a balanced, athletic position to swing the club. The ideal stance should be one where the butt of the club is facing your belt and is half a foot from your thighs.
This stance should be the same no matter what club you are using. The golf ball position is determined by the length of the club.
To determine the best distance, address the ball without a club and let your arms hang down naturally.
A balanced, athletic stance will improve your driving distance and accuracy for a more consistent round.
Get a Grip
There’s no textbook way to teach someone how to grip a golf club. Each person’s hands, wrists, arms, etc. move differently and, because of that, no one grip will work for everyone.
Turn on a major golf event event and zoom in on the grips of each player. The first thing you’ll notice is they all grip their clubs differently.
And depending on what shot they are trying to accomplish, they might change their grips. A grip might change depending on angles and the power needed to hit the ball.
While there is no perfect grip, there are some basics to watch out for when trying out a grip of your own and some questions you should ask yourself.
What Part of Your Hand Are You Using?
The most significant part of how to hit longer drives is focusing on what area of your hand you’re using when gripping and swinging your clubs.
You should use your fingers more than your palms. Put simply, palms are for putting. Holding your grip in the palms of your hands provides the stability that’s needed to nail a long putt.
To use your wrists properly and create maximum distance on your drives, the shaft of the club should rest more in your fingers.
How Much Strength Are You Using?
Monitoring your grip strength is essential. If you are seeing your shots begin to hook or fade more than usual, try adjusting the strength of your grips. Holding the club too strongly or too weakly can affect distance and accuracy.
How Often Do You Change Your Grip?
Establishing a routine grip increases the chances of you improving your game with that grip. One of the keys to improving your golf game over the long run is consistency.
When you find the right grip and approach to the club, it’s important to do it the same way each time out. Building this routine will keep you in the right frame of mind and your swing becomes more natural and balanced.
Torque That Torso
The number one thing that separates professional golfers from amateurs when it comes to driving distance is the power that PGA golfers generate with the turning of their hips.
To improve driving distance, you’ll need to increase your club speed. One of the best ways to do that is through a good hip turn.
Maintaining that hip turn from the backswing to the follow-through will generate the club speed needed for those big drives.
While you may not have the hip flexibility or body type that the top golfers in the world have, there are a couple of ways to improve your hip turn that will increase your driving distance.
Practice Swinging Without a Club
Place your arms across your chest with your right hand touching your left shoulder and your left hand touching your right shoulder.
Choose an imaginary target in front of you. Turn your hips in such a way as to force your shoulders away from the target.
Now, use your hips only through the back swing and follow through. Not using your arms will force your body to focus on hip movement which is so important in creating club speed.
Half-Swings at the Driving Range
Half swings at the driving range. The point of this drill is not to use a complete backswing but to focus your attention on the movement of your hips. Turn your hips fully but only bring the club back halfway.
This movement will keep your attention on your lower body and show you how much power can be added to your swing with proper hip motion.
The recurring theme in all golf improvement training is the importance of technique and body position. Most sports are geared towards being bigger, faster, and stronger than your opponents.
Golf is a sport of finesse and skill that rewards discipline and consistency.
With that being said, there are areas of your game that can be improved by training specific parts of your body with weights and targeted exercise.
Kettlebell swings and snatches are ideal weight training exercises for golfers. The lifting motion is a more natural one than classic weightlifting movements and can mimic the body movements needed for golf swings.
With so much power coming from your lower body, exercises like squats and box jumps are especially important for those looking to add distance to their game. For added effectiveness, focus on lighter weights and exercises that emphasize flexibility and balance than just added muscle.
Another prime source of power for driving distance is your core. Exercises such as medicine ball slams, heavy ropes, and planks can add strength to your core. A strong, balanced core is essential for creating torque with your torso and power throughout your swing.
The techniques listed above are just some of the most productive ways to increase the length of your drives.
There are several more tips and tricks out there that can be just as effective. Just like the section about hand grip, there is no universal list of tips that will work for everyone.
EXTRA: What are the best drivers for long-distance driving?
When choosing a driver for long distances, there are several elements to consider. Head size, launch angle, and shaft flexibility are some of the most important factors.
A few of the industry leaders and most popular drivers on the market for long-distance driving:
- Callaway Golf Epic MAX Driver- Designed by AI. Slightly more expensive but uses cutting-edge technology for increased performance
- Cobra Golf 2019 F9 Men’s Speedback Driver- Large forgiving face. Only two loft angles are available.
- Titleist TSi3- Easily adjustable. Expensive and requires custom fitting for optimal results.
- TaylorMade M6 Driver– Suited for all skill levels. Fairly expensive.
- PGX 2022 0211 Driver- High-speed face and budget-friendly.
Below are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding how to hit longer drives.
How do I increase my driving distance as I get older?
Getting older is no fun. But it doesn’t mean you can’t still be working on and improving your golf game. There are several easy tips for improving your long game as you get older:
Use your hands and wrist more. As you get older, you’re naturally going to lose strength in both your lower and upper body. By focusing on things like hand grip and wrist rotation, you can help mitigate some of the strength loss in other parts of your body.
Narrow your stance. This will give you more stability as you make your approach and leads to a more balanced and consistent swing.
Switch to lighter clubs. This simple change can help you create more club speed and increase your driving distance.
What is considered a long drive distance in golf?
Average driving distance varies depending on the age and skill level of each golfer. There are professional competitions that focus strictly on driving distance.
These professional long drivers can average over 356 yards per drive while a professional golfer on the PGA tour typically averages 305 yards.
An average drive for a serious amateur is usually around 205 yards.
What is the record for the longest drive in golf?
The Guinness Book of World Records lists the longest golf drive as 515 yards by 64-year-old Mike Austin in 1974 at the U.S. Senior National Open Qualifier.
Who is considered the best female long driver in golf?
Phillis Meti of New Zealand is considered the best female long driver. She holds the top three longest drives by a woman in history with drives of 406, 408, and 413. She is a three-time winner of the World Long Drive Championships women’s division.
Chloe Garner is the first woman to have broken 400 yards in her drive and is considered very formidable.