So… you want to hit bombs off the tee?
Most golfers dream of hitting the golf ball farther.
They picture their golf ball sailing right past their playing partners’ tee shots with ease. They salivate at the thought of having just a wedge left into greens. They get positively giddy at the idea of driving the green on a short par-4.
But all this is often easier said than done. Luckily, in this post, we’ll explain the 3 main pillars you need to incorporate into your game to hit longer drives. These include:
But first, let’s take a look at exactly why distance is important in golf and some potential reasons why you might be struggling to hit the ball far with your driver.
Table of Contents
- Why is Distance Important in Golf?
- Here’s Why You Can’t Hit the Golf Ball Far
- How Far Should You Hit Your Driver?
- How to Hit The Golf Ball Farther Off the Tee (3-step Guide to Hitting Bombs)
- Golf Driver FAQ
- The Takeaway – How to Hit the Golf Ball Farther
Why is Distance Important in Golf?
As we progress into the modern era of the game, it’s clear that distance is becoming one of the most important determinants of success.
You don’t need to go far to prove this fact, just look at the average driving distance for the top-ten players in the Official World Golf Rankings (OFWGR):
|World Golf Ranking (July 2020)||Average Driving Distance (Yards)|
|1. Rory McIlroy||313.5|
|2. Jon Rahm||305.3|
|3. Justin Thomas||302.0|
|4. Dustin Johnson||306.3|
|5. Webb Simpson||298.4|
|6. Brooks Koepka||308.4|
|7. Bryson DeChambeau||323.0|
|8. Patric Reed||294.6|
|9. Adam Scott||310.3|
|10. Patrick Cantlay||301.5|
All but two of these players average 300+ yards off the tee and most are ranked within the top-fifty in driving distance on tour.
Players are realizing that they’re much better off hitting a wedge from the rough than they are hitting a mid-iron from the fairway.
But what about accuracy, you ask?
Yes, your life on the golf course will be made a whole lot easier if you can keep the ball in the fairway more often, but surprisingly, doing so in the modern game is becoming less and less important.
Here’s a look at the current (July 2020) top ten ranked players in the world according to the OFWGR and their associated driving accuracy this year on tour:
|World Golf Ranking||Tour Driving Accuracy (Position)||Fairways Hit (%)|
|1. Rory McIlroy||163||57.60|
|2. Jon Rahm||47||65.63|
|3. Justin Thomas||141||59.01|
|4. Dustin Johnson||68||64.03|
|5. Webb Simpson||20||68.33|
|6. Brooks Koepka||195||53.57|
|7. Bryson DeChambeau||110||61.05|
|8. Patrick Reed||184||55.59|
|9. Adam Scott||188||54.44|
|10. Patrick Cantlay||63||64.30|
As you can see from the chart above, just two of the top-ten players in the world (Webb Simpson and Jon Rahm) are even in the top-fifty on tour in driving accuracy.
In fact, six of the top ten players in the world don’t even crack the top 100 players on tour in driving accuracy, and many of them hit the fairway less than 60 percent of the time!
So, what does this tell us?
It tells us accuracy is important – but only to a certain point. For example, if you begin to sacrifice too much distance with the hopes of hitting more fairways, you risk shooting higher scores.
Take Jim Furyk for example. He’s currently ranked in the top spot on tour for driving accuracy, hitting the fairway an impressive 77 percent of the time.
However, one quick look at the world rankings tells you he’s just the 90th best golfer in the world. A respectable feat, nonetheless, but most would assume the most accurate driver of the golf ball on tour would at least crack the top fifty!
Here’s what this tells us.
It’s better to hit 50-60 percent of fairways and have a wedge into the green than it is to hit 100 percent of fairways but be left with mid-long iron in your hand for the approach.
However, it’s important to remember that you still need to be able to hit the ball relatively straight.
While it’s okay to miss a fairway by five or even ten yards when you’re trying to hit the long ball, if you’re consistently sailing balls out of bounds, it doesn’t matter how far you can hit the golf ball.
The key takeaway here is to try and maximize your distance while keeping the ball in play. Whether this means in the fairway or the rough, data shows that either will work just fine.
Here’s Why You Can’t Hit the Golf Ball Far
According to a report created by the USGA, there are three main contributors to hitting distance in golf:
- Equipment – this includes primarily golf clubs and balls but also extends to equipment like golf shoes and gloves.
- The golfer – includes athleticism, swing technique and course management strategy.
- The golf course – including course layout, setup, and agronomic conditions (how firm the course is, temperature, elevation, etc…)
So, if you’re struggling with hitting the golf ball far off the tee, it is probably because of one of these three key areas.
The first two (equipment and the golfer) you can change.
The course, on the other hand, is out of your control. For example, some courses have fairways that are much softer than others and therefore force the golfer to rely almost entirely on carry distance.
Others have fairways that play firm and fast.
When you’re learning how to hit the ball farther off the tee, it’s important to focus on what you can change (yourself and your equipment) and be aware that the conditions of your home course can affect your pursuit of this goal.
Now, you might also be wondering, “how far should I even hit the golf ball off the tee?”
Let’s take a look!
How Far Should You Hit Your Driver?
In short, you should aim to hit your driver as far as possible while maintaining control of the direction and trajectory of the ball. Just to give you an idea of how far you should be hitting your driver, here are some driving distance averages for the different types of amateur players:
Average Driving Distance By Age (Quintessential Golf)
|Age||Average Driving Distance (Yards)|
Average Driving Distance By Handicap (data from USGA report)
|Handicap||Average Driving Distance (Yards)|
|Total average overall||217|
So, now that you have a target to shoot for (or beat) let’s take a look at how you can start hitting longer drives!
How to Hit The Golf Ball Farther Off the Tee (3-step Guide to Hitting Bombs)
1. Your Golf Swing
In order to maximize your power potential off the tee, your golf swing is the most important change you can make.
Here are a few things to consider:
The purpose of the setup in golf is to get your body in the best possible position to deliver a consistent strike to the golf ball.
Here are some ways to alter your setup with the driver to promote maximum power:
- Widen your stance slightly – this will help provide more stability, allowing you to swing at higher speeds without losing control.
- Have a flat back – many amateur and beginner golfers set up to the ball with a hunched back. Instead, make sure you have your shoulders pulled back and maintain an athletic position throughout the entire swing.
- Add some knee bend – the knees act as the shock absorbers for the golf swing. If your knees are locked, you won’t be able to “squat” to initiate the downswing and begin generating power.
- Flare your lead foot towards the target – rotating your lead foot towards the target will help you uncoil your hips faster in the downswing.
- Grip the club in your fingers – if you grip the golf club too much in your palms, you reduce the ability for your wrists to hinge. Instead, try shifting the club more towards your fingers.
Of course, some of these might not apply to everyone. Feel free to pick and choose the ones you think will help your game the most!
Tee the Ball Higher
You’ve probably heard that carry distance is critical when you’re trying to maximize distance off the tee. In order to do so, most pros and low handicap golfers make contact with the ball on a slightly upward angle.
How far should you carry your driver?
Your carry distance will depend on a number of factors including age, sex, swing speed, and skill level. This post shares the average driver carry distances for the different types of golfers.
Teeing your ball higher helps you to contact the ball on a flatter angle rather than a downward angle, meaning you’ll be able to get the ball into the air higher with more carry.
For example, the average attack angle with the driver for a tour pro is -1.0 degrees. Compare this to the -4 to -6 degree average seen with most amateurs and you can see why tour pros consistently achieve more carry on their drives.
The lower you tee your ball, the more likely you’ll be to hit down on it with a negative attack angle, resulting in a low ball flight with too much spin.
Swing on The Proper Path
If you’re a slicer of the golf ball, you’re sacrificing an enormous amount of distance on your drives.
Generally what happens when people slice the golf ball is they are swinging on an inside-outside path. This means the take the club back inside the initial target line:
And then they swing through the ball from the outside of their target line, putting spin on the ball and causing it to slice:
One of the best ways to stop slicing and hit the golf ball farther off the tee is to attack the ball from the inside of your target line instead:
This will help you straighten out your ball flight. You might even start hitting a draw!
Relax Your Hands and Arms
One of the biggest golf power leaks people have with their driver is the inability to remain relaxed with their hands and arms throughout the swing.
There’s something about swinging the big stick that makes players feel like they need to strangle the club to hit the ball far.
Unfortunately, this added tension actually prevents you from maximizing your distance. Here’s why:
Uneccisarry tension causes your muscles to tighten up, reducing their range of motion. And as you’ve probably heard, a greater range of motion = more time to generate clubhead speed = more distance.
The more tension you have, the shorter your backswing will get, and the less distance you’ll have off the tee.
For a real-life example of how reducing tension in the golf swing can help you increase range of motion and hit the ball farther, just look at Freddy Couples.
His silky swing is the definition of relaxed. And, despite being more than 60 years old, he still manages to average over 295 yards off the tee!
Here are a few ways to help reduce tension in the golf swing:
- Focus on your breathing.
- Build a preshot routine.
- Add a waggle.
- Maintain consistent grip pressure.
Give these a try and you’ll be able to start swinging freely and channel your inner Freddy Couples!
Start Your Downswing from The Ground Up
Starting the downswing with your hands and arms can end up costing you dozens of yards off the tee.
To maximize efficiency in the golf swing, it’s important that you start the downswing from the ground up.
From the top of your swing, feel like your lead foot is twisting into the ground, followed by your lead knee, lead hip, midsection, then eventually your hands and arms.
Here is a good look at it:
Notice how Tiger seems to almost grip the ground with his feet? This allows him to create a massive amount of torque and unwind his body from the ground up.
The end result is that he’s able to create an exceptional amount of lag coming into the golf ball, a key factor for generating distance off the tee and hitting bombs.
Shift Your Weight, Don’t Sway
Another common power leak in the golf swing results from improperly shifting your weight.
Many amateur players struggle with what is know as “swaying.”
It’s important to understand the difference between swaying and weight shift.
Swaying is when your hips shift too far laterally in the backswing, causing inconsistent contact, a loss of balance, and less distance.
Instead, you want to feel like your hips are turning. Your front hip should move down and towards the ball (instead of sideways away from the target) and your back hip should move up and behind your body.
If you don’t know if you’re swaying, try getting into a setup position with your lead foot pressed against a wall. Then, take a look to see how much distance is between your lead hip and the wall.
Now, take your backswing and pause at the top. Check to see if your lead hip has moved away from the wall.
It’s helpful to have a friend watch as you do this drill because it will be easier for them to tell if you’re swaying away from the wall.
While technique is critical to maximizing your distance off the tee, equipment also plays an important role. Here are a few ways the gear you choose to use can help you hit the golf ball farther.
Get Fitted for the Proper Driver
Having a driver that matches your swing and body type is a necessity when trying to hit the long ball.
Failing to do so is like wearing shoes that are the wrong size or bouncing a basketball that needs more air.
You’re sabotaging your chances of success before you even get started.
During a driver fitting, a professional club fitter will take measurements of your body and swing to determine the best driver for you. Here are some of the elements that might vary depending on your own unique measurements:
- Shaft (flex, torque, length, material and more)
- Club head
Careful consideration of these factors will help you optimize launch angle and club head speed, leading to more distance on your drives.
For more on custom club fitting, feel free to check out these articles:
- Custom Golf Club Fitting: What it Involves and Is it Worth It?
- Choosing the Right Golf Club Shaft for Your Game
Choose the Right Golf Ball for Your Game
Many people wonder, “does the type of golf ball I play really make a difference?”
The answer is yes. Here’s why:
Depending on your swing speed, the golf ball you choose will have a significant impact on both distance and accuracy.
For example, those with slower swing speeds will benefit more from playing a softer golf ball. This will allow them to achieve more compression at impact, thus transferring more energy to the ball, allowing it to travel further.
However, if you have a fast swing speed, using a softer ball actually reduces the amount of distance you can get out of your drives. That’s because the ball will compress too much, causing excess spin and a weak ball flight that balloons up into the air.
Wear the Proper Footwear
Energy in the golf swing is transferred from the ground up.
If you’re just wearing regular sneakers, you probably won’t have enough traction to generate torque between your feet and the ground (and it’s very easy to slip).
That’s why golf shoes are important, and investing in a good pair of soft or hard spiked golf shoes is probably a good idea.
Regrip Your Clubs
Your golf grips serve as the only connection between your body and the club.
If your grips are too slippery, it forces you to hold them tighter. When you grip your clubs tighter, it increases the tension throughout your hands, wrists, forearms, and even your shoulders.
This excess tension reduces range of motion in your swing, causing a noticable decrease in distance off the tee
Instead, opt for grips that feel comfortable in your hands and are reasonably tacky. This will allow you to maintain a lighter grip pressure and less tension – without fearing that the club will slip from your hands!
Get Started With Strength Training
There are a number of benefits of strength training for golfers.
At the top of the list, however, is that a properly planned strength training program can help you hit the ball much farther off the tee.
That’s because strength training helps golfers develop fast-twitch muscle fibres, which are the type of fibres recruited during the motion of the golf swing.
Focusing on these fibres in your training program can help you swing the club at greater speeds.
And for every 1 mile of clubhead speed you add to your swing, you can expect to pick up about 2.75 yards of distance.
Work on Your Flexibility
Similar to increasing your strength, improving your flexibility will also make a noticeable difference in your golf game. That’s because if you’re able to swing the club with a greater range of motion, you provide more time to maximize clubhead speed before impact.
Not only that, but making an effort to get more flexible will significantly reduce your chances of getting injured.
Be sure to incorporate some flexibility work in your golf training program so you can hit more bombs, for longer.
Invest in a Swing Speed Trainer
Lastly, it might be worthwhile to invest in a golf speed trainer.
What is that, you ask?
A golf speed trainer is a training aid specifically designed to help players increase their clubhead speed with the goal of hitting longer drives.
Speed trainers use a technique called overspeed training. Overspeed training has been used for decades by top athletes with the goal of improving speed in various athletic pursuits.
Here’s what the Titleist Performance Institute, leaders in the field of golf training and conditioning, had to say about the overspeed training protocol and how it relates to golf:
Overspeed training in the context of golf is a sport/movement specific nervous system hack to get an athlete to swing the golf club faster. Without getting into the nitty gritty of how it works, overspeed training “tricks” your brain to unlock its restriction (aka “a governor”) on your ability to go as fast as you can.
They then go on to say that overspeed training is not a substitute for strength training, it simply teaches your nervous system to be more efficient with a particular motion – i.e the golf swing.
One of the best speed trainers used by tour pros like Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Miguel Angel Jimenez, and countless others is created by a company called SuperSpeed Golf.
In a nutshell, their system uses a combination of three different weighted shafts (light, medium, and heavy) to help trick your brain into swinging the club at greater speeds.
What’s nice about their training system is that, in addition to the weighted shafts, they also provide you with concrete training protocols and other helpful resources to give you the best chance of seeing results!
To learn more about how you can use the SuperSpeed Golf Training System to hit longer drives, click this link.
Golf Driver FAQ
Is there a difference between driver swing and iron swing?
There are a few major differences between a driver swing and an iron swing. First of all, a driver swing should be much flatter compared to an iron swing. That’s because the goal with the driver is to attack the ball on a slightly upward angle. This helps to reduce spin on the golf ball, making it easier for it to fly straight in the air.
On the other hand, it’s generally better to contact irons with a descending blow. This will aid in compressing the ball, maximizing distance, and having it stop quickly on the green.
Finally, you do not want to take a divot with a your driver swing but with an iron you do.
How do pro golfers hit the ball so much farther?
As a general rule, pro golfers will be able to hit the golf ball much farther than amateur golfers. This is a result of optimal genetics, quality equipment, skilled coaches, and, of course, years of daily practice on the driving range.
But exactly how much do pro golfers really practice?
Sudden loss of power in my golf swing. How do I fix it?
In order to address a sudden loss of power in your golf swing, first, you need to understand what is causing the problem. There are generally three possible reasons for a sudden loss of power in your golf swing:
- Physical issues – injuries and fatigue are often to blame when golfers notice a drop-off in their distance.
- Faulty equipment – if your equipment has been damaged without your knowledge, it may be draining your power. Make sure to regularly check your clubs for things like worn-out shafts or cracks in your driver’s face.
- Technical problems – certain movements can create a power leak in your golf swing. For example, if you “cast” the club or swing “over the top,” you’ll notice an immediate reduction in distance, especially from the tee.
Find out which of these is causing your power problem, then you can begin to take the steps required to address it.
What is a good golf driving distance for beginners?
The average driving distance for male amateur golfers is about 217 yards while women average about 146 yards off the tee.
Keep in mind, these averages combine all skill levels. As a beginner, you can expect to hit the ball a shorter distance than this.
Therefore, a good driving distance for male beginner golfers is anything over 185 yards. For women, a good driving distance for beginners is anything longer than 130 yards.
However, what’s more important is the direction of the drive. A drive that only travels 100 yards but ends up in the fairway is much better than one that travels 300 yards but ends up out of bounds.
Will a longer driver increase distance?
Yes, a longer driver shaft can potentially increase distance off the tee. However, take this with a grain of salt. A longer driver shaft will also be harder to control, and for every half-inch mishit on the club face, you’ll lose approximately 5% of your distance.
This could be the difference between a 250-yard drive and a 237.5-yard drive.
So, although a longer driver shaft could provide more distance, it will depend on your ability to control the driver and make consistent contact with the center of the clubface.
Most people will be better off using a standard length driver and focusing on making solid contact.
The Takeaway – How to Hit the Golf Ball Farther
As technology improves, so too has our access to extensive data about the game of golf and how it’s played.
And this data paints a pretty convincing picture – that distance is the cornerstone of the modern game.
Players are hitting the ball longer and having more wedges into greens.
They’re hitting bombs. Period.
In this article, we discussed three areas of the game you can improve so you can start hitting longer drives too!
- Golf swing – proper technique is critical to maximize efficiency and create more power in the golf swing.
- Equipment – just like how a carpenter needs the proper tools to build a house, a golfer needs the proper equipment to hit the long ball.
- Training – training your body for the golf swing can have a significant effect on your game.
Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be well on your way to hitting the golf ball farther off the tee!
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