How to Hit Longer Drives

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Priority Number One

Golfers want two things: distance and distance.  From “distance” irons to longer, lighter drivers, the equipment manufacturers gear everything towards more distance because that’s what sells.  Also, we’re learning through modern statistics that this obsession makes sense: being long is a huge part of scoring well.

In this lesson, I’m going to give you three simple keys to longer drives.  The best part is that you can easily accomplish two of them today!

This Lesson Is For You If:

You want to hit longer drives

Ball Flight (34)

Key #1 – Better Contact

The easiest way to hit the ball farther is to put the ball on the center of the club face.  It sounds simple, but it’s the most overlooked aspect of hitting the ball far.  Yes, modern drivers are forgiving, but when you miss the center you do lose some ball speed, and you introduce gear effect which can steal more distance.

Hitting the center of the club face is a skill, and you should work on it explicitly during your practice sessions.  Go to the range with impact tape or foot spray so you can see where the ball is hitting the face.  To mix up your practice and develop your skills, don’t work on hitting the center exclusively.  Try to hit shots high and low on the face and on the toe and heel.  If you have the ability to hit any location on command, hitting the center will become easy.

Club Champion Irons Wall

Key #2 – A Better Fit

There’s a reason that we constantly tell golfers that they need to get fit: it’s the easiest way to add distance.  It is routine for a top fitter like Club Champion to give a golfer 10, 20, or even 30 more yards on their drives.

How do they do it?  It’s not about by giving them the same driver that a pro plays.  It’s not about selling them the latest thing the OEMs are putting on the shelf.  Fitting is about optimizing the launch angle and spin rates for that golfer’s swing speed.  This is done by getting the golfer the right club head, the right loft, and the right shaft.

Not sure if you need to get fit?  If you’re not getting 2.5 yards of carry distance for every MPH of club head speed, you’re not maximizing your potential.

dustin-johnson-2016-us-open

Key #3 – More Speed

Once you’re hitting the ball flush and optimizing your launch and spin, only more club head speed will add distance to your drives.  While most of us won’t hit the stratospheric club head speeds of Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, or Rory McIlroy, we can all pick up a few extra miles per hour.

There are two things to consider when trying to add club head speed: overall strength/fitness/flexibility and golf-specific training.  If you want to swing a club fast, the best training is swinging a club fast.  However, if you are 20 pounds overweight, weak, and stiff as a board, the ceiling for your gains is very low, and your likelihood of injury is very high.

If you’re serious about gaining speed, check out some of our articles on Fitness.  You can also contact Tyler Parsons, PGA Tour strength and fitness coach, about a personalized improvement plan.

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Matt Saternus

Co-Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is a golf instructor, club fitter, and writer living in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Matt's work has been published in Mulligan Magazine, Chicagoland Golf, South Florida Golf, and other golf media outlets. He's also been a featured speaker in the Online Golf Summit and is a member of Ultimate Golf Advantage's Faculty of Experts.

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2 Comments

  1. Jason Warlond

    Hi Matt,

    How “hard n fast” is the 2.5 yards per MPH of swing speed? (And I assume that it with a proper ball and not a range ball!). I haven’t previously seen it put in such a simple formula.

    Regards
    Jason

    • Matt Saternus

      Jason,

      That number works if you’re fully optimized – hitting it on center (1.5 smash), optimal launch, optimal spin.

      -Matt

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