How to Hit Longer Drives: Top Tips for more Distance
If you’re like most golfers, chances are you want to “hit bombs” in the words of Phil Mickelson. There isn’t much more satisfying than launching a drive deep past your friends and into the abyss. Hitting it long means shorter clubs into the greens and hopefully, better scores on a more consistent basis.
Personally, I would rather hit it long, even if it’s not as accurate, because I know percentages are in my favor. Playing a wedge from the rough is easier than a 7-iron from the fairway.
So, how do you hit it longer… Is there a secret? Do you need to weight train daily, upgrade your equipment? Can mere mortals join the ranks of the 300+ yard club like the best players in the world?
We’ll cover all that and more in this blog post.
How to Hit Longer Drives – 7 Strategies
The short answer is yes, you can hit it longer but it will take getting out of your comfort zone. My motto is “Do something different, to get different results.”
In your quest to add more distance, you will likely need to change some things up but once you get past the uncomfortable changes, you can hit it longer than ever. Follow these seven strategies to start hitting it longer than ever.
1. Adopt a Strong Grip
The grip is the foundation of a golf swing since it’s the only part of your body that guides the club. How you grip it plays a big role in shot shape and power. If you want more distance, you want to first check your grip.
There are three grip types; strong, neutral, or weak. Each style makes it easier to hit certain shots. If your goal is distance above all else, you want to develop a neutral or strong grip (this is not about grip pressure either, more on that later).
A strong grip will help you gain distance on drives and every shot in the bag. If you’re in a “weak” position now, spend time getting to neutral. Then, strengthen a little more so that more of your left hand is on the grip.
Just remember, this could take some time to feel comfortable so stay patient!
Avoid a Death Grip
When you want to hit it hard and long, it’s easy to grip the club too tight. But too much grip pressure actually will make it more difficult to hit it long as it will add tension to your arms and upper body.
Instead of gripping the club to death, dial back and grip it strong enough to maintain control of the club but keep your forearms relaxed. Plus, make sure to keep moderate pressure consistently throughout the swing.
2. Set Up Strong
Once your grip is strong enough, the next thing you want to evaluate is your setup position. Without the right setup, it’s nearly impossible to hit bombs past your golf buddies.
To gain more power, start by looking at:
- Feet: The first thing you want to do is make sure to build a wide, strong base. Your stance should be slightly wider than your shoulders to help you make a full turn. Additionally, a lot of long hitters like to flare their feet slightly outward to allow for a bigger turn and make it easier to clear your hips.
- Alignment: The second item to look at in your swing is your alignment. If your lines get crossed, it’s hard to hit it as long as possible. It’s important to set up square to your target or even try out the open stance method as well. This stance helps you clear your hips faster which should lead to more distance.
- Knees: To generate power from the ground, you need the right amount of knee flex, but not too much. When you’re in a strong, athletic position at address, it’s easier to push off the ground and swing up at the golf ball. You want to avoid squatting down too much as it’s hard to generate power from your legs as you’re already so low to the ground.
- Shoulders: To hit it longer off the tee, you need to increase your launch angle. One of the easiest ways to do that is by adjusting your shoulders at address position. Make sure your lead shoulder is above your back shoulder to promote an upward swing and hit up on the golf ball.
- Ball position: Finally, the last thing you need to do is ensure the ball is placed off your left heel (assuming you’re a right-handed golfer). If the ball is further back, it promotes more of a downward strike which is good for irons but ideal for long drives.
Once your body is set up, don’t forget the tee height either. If you want to hit it long, you need to tee it up high so you can swing up on the ball.
3. Make a Full Shoulder Turn
Once you have the right address position, it’s a lot easier to create a more consistent golf swing. That’s why setup is so important, it helps sequence your swing for maximum consistency and power.
To hit it long, you also need a full shoulder turn like the pros. According to Golf Digest, “When the shaft is parallel to the ground, they’ve turned their shoulders about 60 degrees.”
In the article, “they” refers to elite professionals like Jordan Speith, Dustin Johnson, and Jessica Korda. But they found that amateurs don’t have nearly enough shoulder turn, which makes it impossible to hit longer drives.
“In comparison, amateurs have far less turn when they reach this position. We’ve recorded thousands of amateurs, and the amount they’re moving back is anywhere from 10 to 30 degrees less than the pros.”
Turning your shoulders is key and it starts earlier in the swing than you might think. By the time you’re at the top of your backswing your left shoulder should be underneath your chin to get the club in parallel position.
You also need to turn your hips to generate power, but not as much as your shoulders. The same Golf Digest study found that pros rotate their hips twice as much as amateurs (25 to 30 degrees vs. 15 degrees). More rotation from the hips and shoulders gives your swing more space and time to generate power.
4. Accelerate At The Right Time
To hit your driver as long as possible, you need to remember there is only one point in the swing for acceleration. This happens at impact – not the takeaway or transition.
The goal of a powerful golf swing is to generate speed throughout the swing so that it’s at peak speed at impact. This comes down to tempo, a slight pause at the top of your backswing, and unwinding your lower body.
To accelerate at the right time, start slower on your downswing. Too many amateur golfers thrust their upper body too early on the downswing and lose out on power.
Tiger Woods in his book, How I Play Golf, said, “The beginning of the downswing can’t be rushed. You want your swing to gather speed gradually so that everything works in sequence and the clubhead reaches its maximum speed at impact.”
Just remember, there can only be one time of max acceleration and it needs to happen at impact, not the downswing.
5. Hit The Gym
Bryson DeChambeau changed his body dramatically in 2020 and it led to massive gains on the golf course. While you don’t need to drink seven protein shakes a day like Bryson, hitting the gym and doing compound movements can help you add distance to your drives.
A good example of this is Rory McIlroy. He’s not even 5’10” and weighs around 160 pounds but he is one of the longest players on tour (and probably pound for pound the longest). He’s attributed a lot of his success towards hitting the gym regularly.
When you get to the gym, focus on the big muscle groups like legs, back, and chest. I know most guys don’t like “leg day” at the gym, but don’t skip it, your gains on the golf course depend on strong, powerful muscles in your legs!
Some of the best exercises to increase muscle and add speed to your swing include:
- Medicine ball slams
- 90-degree box jumps
- Kettlebell swings and snatches
6. Buy New Equipment
I wanted to include the equipment piece towards the end of the article so you focus on fundamentals first. Once you nail the basics, then you can look to upgrading your equipment to get even more distance.
Specifically, you want to look at the driver, shaft, and golf ball.
The driver itself plays a big role in getting the most distance from your swing. Luckily, there are more options than ever, but the key is to find the right one to match your unique swing.
For example, Titleist makes the TSi drivers, which are a great product line, but there are four distinct models. The TSi1 is great for beginners, while the TSi4 is more for advanced golfers. You need to find the right clubhead for your swing speed to make sure it doesn’t spin too much (or too little) and gives you confidence.
Do plenty of research to ensure the head itself is right for your game.
Related: Best Drivers for High Handicappers
While the clubhead is important, I think playing the right shaft is equally important. After doing a fitting and trying out eight different shafts, I added 10-15 yards on my drives by minimizing spin and having a lower launch. Your driver shaft matters!
Finally, some golf balls are going to help you with distance more than others. Find a ball that matches your swing speed and doesn’t spin too much. Make sure to check out the best golf balls for average players.
7. Speed Training
The final tip to you to learn how to hit longer drives is with the help of speed training.
Never forget, distance comes from speed.
The more speed you can generate in your swing, the longer the golf ball will fly in the air.
As the company said on their website, “How we move as human beings is controlled by the brain. OverSpeed Training takes a known motion like the golf swing and speeds up the reaction speed of your muscles when you make the motion. This works by using clubs slightly lighter than your driver, reducing the dynamic resistance of your swing, and allowing your body to move much faster than normal.”
Simply follow their training regimen (which doesn’t take long) and with enough repetition, you’ll see big results!
How can I hit my driver longer?
If you’re committed to bombing drives, use a launch monitor to learn your angle of attack and launch angle. If you can get your angle of attack to -1 degree (the PGA Tour average) and launch angle to 10 degrees, it can reduce spin and help increase distance.
Why are my drives so short? Why don’t my drives go far?
If your drives aren’t going as far as you’d like, there are three things to evaluate:
- Clubhead speed. Measure your swing speed with a personal launch monitor to understand your speed. A lack of speed is one of the biggest reasons why you aren’t hitting your driver to your potential. Learn how to increase swing speed here.
- Driver loft. Most golfers play with too little of loft and it can kill distance. Use your driver tool to add more loft to your driver and see how it impacts total distance.
- Driver shaft. If you aren’t hitting it as long as you want, try a lighter shaft (5-10 grams) with the same flex and see how it helps you add extra distance off the tee.
Does less loft lead to more distance?
Yes and no.
Less loft can lead to more distance as long as you have the swing speed that is needed. If the average golfer uses 7-8 degrees of loft, they will actually lose distance. But professionals have higher swing speeds and like less loft to eliminate backspin.
The average golfer actually needs more loft in most cases. Test out different lofts if you have an adjustable hosel to see how it impacts your carry and total distance.
How do you hit a driver 300 yards?
Improve your golf swing for better contact and increase swing speed.
For reference, in 2021, the average distance on the PGA Tour was 296 yards and the average driver speed is 113+ MPH.
Hitting longer drives is possible and something you can start doing sooner rather than later.
Some of these tips will give you immediate results like changing your ball, setup position, and getting a better grip on the club. While other tips like speed training and exercise, might take some more time to reap the rewards.
The good news is that you can keep gaining distance, even as you get older. Phil Mickelson is a great example – despite being 50 years old, he’s hitting it as far as ever.
What’s your biggest tip to hitting longer drives off the tee?
Let us know in the comments below!