Crush It!

Add yards with our long drive secrets

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Crush It!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!

Lucky for you, the longest hitters in the world are actually pretty keen on knowing and talking about what it takes to produce Hulk-like power off the tee, and they’re here with a special expanded feature just for Golf Tips readers. With the help of 13 competitors, we took a few snapshots at the latest RE/MAX World Long Drive Championships in Mesquite, Nev. (where Jason Zuback won his unprecedented fifth championship with a 412-yard bomb), and let each long driver describe in his own words what his ingredients are for more pop. (Honestly, we somewhat expected to hear guys talk about hitting the gym and pumping weights, but not a single barbell was mentioned. Instead, what you’ll find may surprise you.) Read on.

GolfzillaGolfzilla Jason Zuback
5-time RE/MAX World Long Drive Champion
If you want to add some serious power, you have to first learn how to generate “effortless power.” What’s effortless power? It’s the feeling of having the body in sync and the swing feeling simple, as if you put little effort into hitting the ball. To achieve effortless power, try keeping your hands soft throughout the swing and leaving the club at the top of your backswing for as long as possible. By soft hands, I mean keeping your muscles supple from your elbows through your fingers. Doing this helps promote a quicker, snappier release through impact. By leaving the club at the top, here’s what I mean: Once you get your body set at the top of your backswing, keeping your club at the top allows you to begin the downswing not with your hands, but with your larger, more powerful trunk and leg muscles. By driving the downswing with the body and then with the hands, you can achieve some serious lag that’s going to release when your clubhead meets the ball. Stick with these two swing thoughts, and you’ll find that effortless swings are the secret to more distance. 

Gerry JamesGerry James
2005 & 2006 World Long Drive Champion, Senior Division
To get the most distance out of any club (not just the driver) you have to be flexible, and the only way to get flexible is to stretch. Ever hold your club over your shoulders and simulate the golf swing? Well, sorry to say, that’s not the way to stretch. The proper way to stretch your golf muscles is to hold the arms over the shaft as I’m doing below. Trust me, you’ll feel it when you rotate back and through.

Brian PavletBrian Pavlet
2003 LDA Tour Leading Money Winner
Want a quick tip for more power? Try this. Instead of teeing the ball in your normal ball position, move it forward in your stance between four-to-six inches. This encourages you to swing down and through and fully transfer your weight down the target line. Also, since you’ll be reaching farther, you’ll find that you need to extend the arms to make really solid contact. The greater the extension, the more speed that follows. After a few tries, return back to your original position and notice how much more effective your weight shift and arm extension is. Oh, and by the way, check out the extra distance I just helped you get!

The BeastThe Beast Sean Fister
3-Time World Champ
To hit some bombs off the tee, I concentrate on swinging around my right knee. I first do this by remembering to get my left shoulder above my right knee at the top of my backswing. Then, as I initiate my downswing, I concentrate on rotating around my right leg and allowing my right shoulder to come under my left and turn into the ball. By swinging around my right leg, I not only activate my strong side, I also encourage an upward blow into the ball by maintaining a spine angle that tilts away from it. Hey, you’ll never be a long driver if your body outraces the clubhead, so make sure you swing around your right leg and let your bigger, stronger muscles fire down the target line and into the golf ball. Stay behind it and release the hands at impact!

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