Golf’s Holy Grail for a certain population of golfers is not a scintillating short game. It’s not precise iron play. It’s not even great scores. What is sought, for better or worse, is the long ball; banging the ball by your buddies off the tee trumps getting it into the hole faster. Granted, there is a tuning fork in the knickers excitement to watching your golf ball soar into the distant horizon like it came off the bat of The Babe.
Golfers on every end of the skill and scoring spectrum, regardless of their agenda, can benefit from hitting a longer tee ball. Par-5s become reachable and greens look larger and more inviting with every additional yard gained.
Nick Jacobi, a PGA Master Professional based in Monroe, N.C., provides insightful tips and drills on gaining additional power and distance.
Have you ever paid attention to the best players in the world when they are hitting their driver? There are a few things you can learn from them that can help you gain 10 extra yards off the tee.
Higher tee ball – Tee the ball high enough so that half the golf ball is above the top line of the driver.
Forward ball position – The ball position with the driver should be off your front/lead shoulder. This puts the ball position up in your stance and allows you to strike it on the beginning of your upswing.
Wider stance – If you want to hit it farther, you must have a wider stance so you can load up, maintain balance, and push off the ground to create leverage. I recommend having a stance that is a little wider than the width of your shoulders
Low and slow – Keep your takeaway low and slow. This will help you take the club back with your arms and shoulders, and not just your hands. Remember, you are not hitting the ball on your backswing, so save your energy and speed for the downswing.
Full turn – To hit the ball with maximum force while maintaining control, you need to make a full shoulder turn. The best way to ensure you make a full shoulder turn is to get your front shoulder under your chin during your back swing.
Balanced finish – Maintain good balance when you finish your swing. Being able to hold your finish for a few seconds at the completion of your swing is a sign of good balance. The key is to get your weight off your back foot at the completion of your swing. A good way to check your balance is to make sure the bottom of your back foot is visible when you hold your finish.
Below are a few drills you can do to help ingrain these tips:
Swoosh drill – Turn the club upside down and grip the club just below the club head. Take a few swings and notice the swoosh sound the club makes. It should be loudest past the impact point and not before. Try to make that swoosh louder by swinging harder and maintaining good balance.
Step through drill – Take your normal stance and grip. Now swing the club and on the follow through step through with your back foot. (Gary Player sometimes did this during a round.) You want to get your back foot ahead of your front foot when you step through. This will ensure you get your weight off your back foot and turn through the ball.
Feet together drill – Take your normal stance and grip. Now move both feet together and swing the club while keeping your feet together. This drill will help you get a feel for your balance. If you swing and cannot keep your feet together, you have swung too hard.