One of the great things about the game of golf is that, on occasion, all of us, even the highest handicapper, will hit a shot like a pro. It might be a well-struck drive, hitting a par-5 in two or holing out a bunker shot.
Grips are usually classified as neutral, weak or strong. A weak grip, where your hands are rotated to the left, adds loft at impact and makes your club of choice play a bit weaker. The result? Loss of distance.
Hit bigger drives with the help of the game's longest drivers
Hitting big drives is arguably the most satisfying, and fun, part of golf. We all want to do it more often but simply don’t know the best method for harnessing our full distance potential. In the following pages, you’ll find tips and tricks from 13 RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship competitors, all of whom know a thing or two about power. Read carefully and get ready to go deep.
Hitting bigger, more powerful drives is just a few tips away.
As an instructor, it can be a challenge to get students to work on chipping and putting—however, they would drop anything to be able to spend time at the range working on their tee shots! Driving the ball longer and straighter is the ultimate goal for most, and there’s no club they wouldn’t buy if they thought it would help them drive the ball like Tiger Woods!
With today’s enormous drivers, it has become easier to hit the ball a long way. But if you slice the ball, you’re probably not getting the type of distance you deserve, since sliced shots not only miss the fairway, but also rob you of powerful distance.
Casting the club from the top of the swing (arms straightening prematurely) is one of the most common power leaks for the amateur player. This move results from a downswing that’s initiated by the muscles in the arms and upper body, and makes it almost impossible to store energy during the downswing.
Sean O'Hair's coach helps you hit it long (and down the middle) every time
In early March, one of my students, Sean O’Hair, put on a master class in Total Driving at the PODS Championship. (The Tour computes Total Driving by “totaling a player’s rank in both driving distance and driving accuracy.”) For the week, Sean finished T15 in driving accuracy and 8th in driving distance, averaging 282.6 yards. Sean won that week—his second Tour victory—and earned a trip to the Masters. I couldn’t have been more proud.
How to hit draws and fades by making simple adjustments to the downswing
The hardest shot in golf is the one that flies in a straight line. It’s so difficult that even the best players in the world rarely try to hit it, mainly since this shot requires the utmost in timing and precision. Draws and fades are a lot easier to repeat, however, considering each has varying degrees from which one can produce a good result. Some fades and draws are more pronounced than others, but with the proper mechanics, any type of fade or draw can work to your benefit and can be much more repeatable than a shot that flies straight.
Add distance with long drive secrets, featuring Sean "The Beast" Fister, 5-time winner Jason Zuback and 11 more of the world's longest hitters
One element I found all long hitters have in common is that they swing around a central axis. It’s okay to move a bit off the ball in the backswing, but if you want to transfer the maximum amount of power into the ball, you can’t sway too far back or forward. Also, you must get your right side all the way through the shot. Notice how my right shoulder and hip are shooting toward the target. This is a must!
There’s at least one basic certainty in golf and that is that good, solid contact produces quality shots. Every player, even those who compete on the PGA Tour, knows this and strives to perfect the moment of impact. Unfortunately, many recreational golfers don’t make high-quality contact as often as they should, in part because they simply don’t know the key elements necessary to do so.
Sweden’s golf program has produced a number of world-class players in recent years, including Annika Sorenstam, Henrik Stenson and Jesper Parnevik. One of the players you might be less familiar with, Fredrik Jacobson, is well on his way to completing his fourth consecutive year on the PGA Tour after spending six successful years on the European PGA Tour.
Like all members of the PGA Tour, I play a lot of rounds with recreational golfers in various pro-ams and charity tournaments. If there’s one thing I notice during these rounds, it’s how inconsistent most weekend players are off the tee. Obviously, the driver is the most difficult club in the bag to hit consistently, due to its long length (most off-the-rack drivers measure about 45 inches) and low degree of loft.
You can’t fire a gun unless you pull the trigger, right? A similar concept also applies to the golf swing, which also usually requires a “trigger move” to get the body moving. Now, not everyone has a trigger, some manage to swing well from a static position to a dynamic position. But for the rest of us who often find confusion when it comes to where to start the golf swing, a trigger move can help you start swinging in a fluid and consistent manner.
So you think you’re a big hitter? Well, consider this. Today’s top long drivers don’t bunt the ball a measly 250 yards off the tee. Heck, a mediocre wallop drops somewhere around the 320-yard range. Frankly, these guys aren’t satisfied with anything under 400 yards when it comes time to winning a paycheck. Now that’s long!
I can’t tell you how many people come to my lesson tee and say, “If I could just get rid of my baseball swing, then all my problems would be solved!” My initial thought is always: I wish you had a baseball swing, because it would help you play better golf.
When you want to get some extra distance out of your drives, it’s natural to think that your right or dominant hand (for right-handed golfers) should supply the power. In reality, however, maximum power is a result of a left-hand lead.
At my power clinics and exhibitions, I often recommend to audiences that they try to develop the feeling of holding a golf club long enough at the top of their backswing for someone to hang a shirt on it—the Clothesline Effect, if you will.