“Everyone is looking for more distance off the tee.” Well, maybe not everybody, but it is a request we get every day at the United States Golf Academy. It isn’t hard to find advice on hitting the ball farther. Every golf publication knows if they put a tip for longer drives on the cover they will sell more magazines. For those who are more digitally literate, it is a very popular search phrase on the internet. When you read or hear this advice it is almost always about making swing changes to find more club head speed. Lift weights; work out, more leverage, bigger shoulder turn, and on and on. This is all good advice, but only for the player who has time to practice and take the time necessary to make the swing changes required. This is a topic for another day, but one of the reasons a player might struggle is that they are in a state of constant change. So what can you do, with what you have, to increase your distance?
First, you can’t make up for a mishit with club speed. Doesn’t matter how “forgiving” a golf club is marketed to be. So focus on hitting the ball on the sweet spot of the golf club rather than trying to swing the club faster. You can find the sweet spot by holding the shaft with two fingers and letting the club hang. Then tap the face with a finger tip. Move around the face and you will feel the club try to twist in your fingers, except for one point on the face. This is where you want to hit the ball. Mark that spot with a dry erase marker and try to hit the ball with that spot. Two good things will happen. The ball will go straighter because it is hard to hit the sweet spot of the club with anything but a square clubface. More important to this conversation, this is the location on the face where the ball leaves the club the fastest. The faster the ball comes off the club the farther it flies. How fast the ball is moving is more important than how fast the club moves.
Second, so many players, in anticipation of the collision with the golf ball, actually slow the swing as they move into the hitting area. This anticipation and slowing at impact is a very common problem. You even see it on the tour once in awhile. The thought I always try to give my students is to swing the club past the ball, not too the ball. Try very hard to have the fastest portion of your swing beyond impact. Another way to insure you are swinging through the ball is to hold your follow through. Pose like someone is taking your picture.
Try these two simple suggestions and see if you don’t add some yards to your drives.