It is hard not to be envious after watching the recently televised RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship. For 99 percent of golfers, crushing a drive beyond 400 yards, much less 280, would require teeing off in front of a straight-line wind storm. Lacking the tail winds of a Derecho, however, there are still ways that mere mortal golfers can increase their distance with the driver. Adding just 10 yards of length off the tee means an easier-to-hit, more lofted approach club. That should equate to more greens in regulation and, if you can roll the ball on the green at all, lower scores.

With the disclaimer that the author is not a teaching professional – and that is who you should always consult for your game – several common sense layman’s tips for adding distance were gleaned from the long-drive contest while spectating from the couch.

Know your swing speed: It is critical to buy clubs with the correct shaft flex and club head loft for your normal swing. Slower club head speeds combined with stiffer shafts and minimized loft will have you always hitting first on your second shot. That, in turn, leads to acquiring the unwanted nickname of Little Knocker. There is not a RE/MAX World Short Drive Championship.

Choosing the correct golf balls for your game is more than just marketing hype. Every golfer loves the rush of finding an expensive, once-hit Pro V1 golf ball while searching for their lesser brand in the weeds. But the ball that many professionals love and prefer may be your Kryptonite. The local pro shop can perform a quick and inexpensive ball-fitting session and recommend the correct golf balls for your game.

Based on the setups preferred by the RE/MAX big hitters, tee the ball higher and further forward in your stance. Getting a more upward strike on the ball provides more loft, less spin and additional distance.

It was fine to party with Prince like it was 1999, but if you still play with golf clubs purchased in the 20th century, or even the past decade, they have become relics destined for the Smithsonian. Golf skill still depends mostly on who is holding the grip, but technological breakthroughs in material and design have increasingly made a difficult game easier to play. Distance and directional gains with leading-edge equipment, even with the same swing, are immediate.

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