Having the ability to hit the ball long distances off the tee is something that all golfers desire to possess, and although it’s certainly not the most important aspect of the game, it can provide a significant advantage for players that are able to call upon it when needed.
While extensive practice and proper weight training are activities that should be incorporated into the routine of any golfer trying to increase distance off the tee, there are a number of simple tasks that can be performed on the course that can help achieve similar results.
Swing with your Big Muscles – Increasing club head speed is the most important component of adding distance to golf shots. The most effective way to increase club head speed is to generate lag by turning the torso away from the target in the backswing and then allowing the arms to drag behind the body as you rotate through the downswing into the follow through. The image above shows lag in the golf swing.
An extremely common mistake that many amateurs make during their downswing is the flipping of their wrists through the hitting zone (also known as “casting”). In addition to creating a very inconsistent ball flight, this action decreases leverage and significantly reduces club head speed. It is the rotating of the midsection through impact with the ball that allows professional golfers to hit the ball so far without the appearance of swinging hard.
Widen Your Stance – A strong base is an integral component of a powerful golf swing. At address, the insteps of the feet should be slightly more than shoulder width apart. An optimal stance will allow for sufficient rotation throughout the swing and adequate weight shift to the front foot through impact with the golf ball.
Control Your Ball Flight – Uncontrollable environmental conditions such as wind have a drastic effect on how far the golf ball will travel. Having the ability to hit low running shots into a headwind and high carrying shots when the wind is at your back will allow you to add significant distance to your drives. The most common method for controlling the flight of the ball is to move it back in your stance to hit low shots and up in your stance to hit high shots.
Focus on Making Solid Contact with the Ball – Much like hitting a baseball off the end of a bat, failing to hit a golf ball off the sweet spot of the club will significantly reduce the distance that the ball will travel. Often times, trying to swing harder results in reduced control of the club head and an inability to make solid contact with the ball. Maintaining tempo throughout the swing and accelerating through impact with the golf ball will result in more solidly struck shots and increased distance off the tee.
Increase Flexibility – Fitness is becoming an increasingly important component of golf for players of all ages and while proper weight training can help strengthen the muscles that are necessary for the generation of power in the swing, flexibility is equally important. Completing the proper golf swing puts the body into a number of straining positions. Performing exercises that increase flexibility will allow you to store energy by coiling your body in the backswing and then releasing that energy by rotating through impact with the ball.