Are you constantly asking yourself… why can’t I hit the golf ball far?
Let’s face it… everyone wants to hit the long ball.
But it’s a lot harder than it seems.
You would think that even the average player with decent strength could muscle one out there 280 yards. But it’s a rarity.
The average Male amateur golfer hits the ball just 216 yards off the tee.
For ladies, the average is 148 yards.
If you’re unhappy with your current distance off the tee, and you’re wondering – why can’t I hit the golf ball far? – let’s take a look at some potential reasons for your distance woes.
There may be a number of things to blame for this lack of distance.
Your golf swing, clubs, or even your physical conditioning could be the culprit.
In this post, we’ll cover 7 of the most common Problems that lead to reduced distance:
- Too Much Tension
- Poor Posture
- Improper Clubs
- Too Much Spin On The Ball
- Limited flexibility
- Low club head Speed
- Using the Wrong Ball
Don’t worry! After reading this post you’ll be hitting the long ball in no time. Let’s get into it!
Table of Contents
- 1. Too Much Tension
- 2. Poor Posture
- 3. Equipment Doesn’t Match Your Body
- 4. Too Much Spin On The Ball (Incorrect Attack Angle)
- 5. You Lack Flexibility
- 6. You Have Low Club Head Speed
- 7. You’re Using The Wrong Ball
- The Takeaway – Why You Can’t Hit The Golf Ball Far
1. Too Much Tension
One of the worst things you can do if you want to hit longer drives is to tense up.
Trust me, I’ve been there. You’re standing over your ball getting ready to blast a drive…then, you hear something – a little voice in your head.
Hey, remember there’s water down the left side on this one.
But don’t overcompensate because the fence on the right is O.B too.
And did I mention this is the smallest fairway on the course?
Oh, I almost forgot, you made double here yesterday.
Before you know it, you’re gripping the club so tight that the whites of your knuckles are staring back at you.
From there, a chain reaction starts to take place.
Your fingers tighten around the grip. Then your wrists lock up. Then your forearm muscles get tense. Your shoulders do the same.
Before you know it, you have completely lost the flexibility needed to make a full shoulder turn and proper wrist hinge.
This is a problem because a full backswing tends to produce more power than a tense, short one because it provides more distance for the club to pick up speed on the downswing.
Also, if you’re too tense on the downswing, you hinder your ability to create lag – an essential ingredient when trying to hit the golf ball farther.
So, how do you reduce tension in the golf swing so you can hit longer drives?
It all starts by getting a grip on your grip pressure (pun fully intended).
I’m going to paraphrase a few wise words from the great Sam Snead:
“You should hold the club as you would a baby bird. Just firm enough so it won’t fly away, but light enough so that you won’t crush it.”
Other instructors say you should imagine you’re holding a tube of toothpaste with the cap off. Squeeze too hard and you’ll end up with a glob of toothpaste on your brand new Footjoys… not ideal.
Next time you’re standing over an important tee shot, keep these thoughts in mind and you’ll be able to make a loose, supple backswing – the perfect way to generate lag and increase power.
2. Poor Posture
Why do you think your parents harped on you to keep your shoulders back and chest up when you were young?
It’s because they knew that posture is critical for distance in golf and they wanted you to hit bombs off the tee.
Okay…maybe that’s not why.
But they weren’t wrong in encouraging you to develop the proper posture.
There are all kinds of issues that can result from poor posture, including loss of power in golf.
As a golf nut who also happens to be a certified personal trainer, this is an area I obsess over constantly. After all, the body is the foundation of the golf swing!
Poor posture prevents you from getting into the proper positions in your backswing and follow-through, thereby reducing the efficiency of your swing and draining your power. It also opens the door to injury, specifically back problems.
In golf, there are two postural issues that tend to cause the most problems.
– Rounded shoulders and a hunched upper back (also commonly known as upper-crossed or “C-posture” in golf).
– Excessive arch in the lower back (commonly called lower-crossed syndrome – some golf instructors have dubbed this “S-posture.”)
In most cases, bad posture is a result of muscular imbalance. Some of your muscles are shortened (overactive) while others remain lengthened (underactive).
To restore balance, shortened muscles need to be stretched and lengthened muscles need to be strengthened.
Let’s take a look at each of the postural problems mentioned above, the muscular imbalances that cause them, and what you need to do to fix them.
C-Posture – (Upper-Crossed Syndrome)
C-posture typically results from poor posture that’s caused by a number of different activities that involve standing or sitting with your head in a forward position, including:
- Watching TV
- Using a laptop or smartphone.
Shortened or overactive muscles with c-posture include theupper traps and levator scapula.
Lengthened or underactive muscles include the lower traps, rhomboids, and deep cervical flexors.
In order to counteract this imbalance, you’ll need to work on strengthening the lower traps and rhomboids while stretching any tight muscles in your upper back/neck.
I’ve found one of the best ways to loosen tight neck and back muscles is by using a lacrosse ball and the wall.
Simply place the lacrosse ball between the tense area of your neck and the wall. Then, slowly roll over your muscles looking for any knots or trigger points.
Once you find one, just hang out there for 30 seconds until the muscle relaxes.
S-Posture (Lower-Crossed Syndrome)
If you notice an excessive arch in your lower back when you set up to the golf ball, then you have s-posture. This is very common in people who work an office job or in a profession that requires them to sit for long periods of time throughout the day.
With S-posture, your hip flexors, lats, erector spinae, and calf muscles are usually overactive while your glutes and core muscles are underactive.
To correct S-posture in the golf swing, you’ll need to work on stretching your hip flexors, calves, and lats, while strengthening your core muscles and glutes.
Here’s a quick video with more information about C-posture and S-posture and a corrective exercise for each:
Take some time to correct these postural imbalances and I promise you that you’ll start hitting the golf ball farther!
3. Equipment Doesn’t Match Your Body
Picture this – you’re in a shoe store and you see a pair you like. The only problem is, they only stock that shoe up to size 9. You happen to be size 11. Would you buy the shoe? Of course not!
This just seems like common sense.
However, you’d be surprised at the number of people who buy golf clubs off the rack with no regard as to whether or not the clubs are the right fit for their body and swing.
I mean, how likely is it that the clubs you picked off the rack are a perfect fit for you and the thousands of other golfers who bought the same clubs?
Truth is, manufacturers make golf clubs for the average player.
But if your body type deviates even slightly from the norm, you’re going to run into problems.
Using golf clubs that aren’t the right fit for you makes it much harder to achieve consistent contact.
And failure to strike the ball consistently could very well be the reason you can’t hit the golf ball far.
That’s why I always recommend getting fitted when buying new golf clubs. This is where a professional club-fitter takes measurements of your swing and body and customizes your clubs to fit you.
Getting fit for clubs will do a few things for your game:
- Reduce compensations in your posture.
- Ensure the club sits at the proper angle in relation to the ground.
- Promote consistent contact and improved ball striking.
- Reduces the risk of injury, specifically back pain.
Golf is hard enough as it is.
But when you need to contort your body like an Olympic gymnast to fit the clubs you’re using, it becomes downright impossible.
Golf clubs should fit your body, not the other way around.
The further away you deviate from the average build, the more you’ll benefit from a custom club fitting.
For example, at six-foot-four, I’m not exactly the model used by golf manufactures when designing their clubs.
When I try to use a set of golf clubs from the rack, I’m forced to bend over more in my setup just so the clubs will touch the ground. As a result, I still suffer from off-and-on back pain.
This is something I did for years before I had some alterations made to my current set.
But after getting a few adjustments to my clubs, not only did my ball striking improve but I started to hit the golf ball farther as well!
The point is, yeah it might cost a little more to get custom fitted for a set of clubs, but your body (and scorecard) will thank you in the long run!
4. Too Much Spin On The Ball (Incorrect Attack Angle)
The amount of spin on your tee shots can have a HUGE impact on how far you hit the golf ball.
If you’ve ever hit one of those drives where your ball balloons into the air against the wind, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
If you think about it, it makes perfect sense.
It takes energy to move the golf ball in any direction. The more side/backspin you put on the golf ball, the less energy there is to propel the ball forward.
So, how do you reduce spin with the driver?
A lot of it has to do with your angle of attack. If you hit the ball at a downward angle, it will have more backspin.
If you cut across the ball with an out-to-in or in-to-out swing path, you’re going to get more side spin on your drives causing a slice or hook. this reduces your overall distance potential.
In order to reduce spin on the ball, you should almost feel like you’re hitting up on the ball with your driver. You probably won’t, but the closer you can get to a positive or neutral attack angle, the better.
On tour, the average attack angle with a driver is -1.3 degrees for PGA players and +3.0 degrees for LPGA players. The average spin rate is 2,686rmp and 2,611rpm, respectively.
Reducing the spin rate on the ball by shallowing out your attrack angle will create a “knuckleball effect” leading to a more penetrating ball flight.
But remember – this only applies to your driver because you have the luxury of hitting off a tee. If you try to hit up on your irons, you’re going to top it.
If you’re constantly wondering why you can’t hit the golf ball far, especially off the tee, this could be your problem.
5. You Lack Flexibility
It takes a lot more than strength to hit the golf ball far. You also need proper flexibility.
Past a certain point, adding more muscle to your frame will only hinder your ability to make a full shoulder turn, thereby reducing the amount of time you have to generate club head speed on the way down.
Also, limitations from previous injuries may also limit your distance potential.
But how exactly does improving flexibility result in longer drives?
Well, in 2017, a study was published to explore this idea.
The study involved five male and five female collegiate golfers to determine how flexibility and balance affect club head speed and driving distance.
Each golfer was guided through a series of tests that measured their range of motion, balance, and overall flexibility.
Then they were asked to participate in a short hitting session. They hit ten drives each with their own driver.
Long story short, significant correlations were found between balance, flexibility, and swing performance. Fewer errors on the balance test for both male and female golfers correlated with greater driving distance.
Flexibility also proved to be a significant factor in the players’ ability to generate club head speed and distance.
Improving your flexibility doesn’t need to be a monumental chore.
By dedicating as few as 15 minutes per day to increasing your flexibility, you can see significant improvements and start hitting longer drives!
6. You Have Low Club Head Speed
Club head speed is one of the most important ingredients for hitting long drives in golf – and it’s perfectly clear why.
The faster your club is travelling when it makes contact with the ball, the more energy it can transfer to the ball.
When more energy is transferred to the ball, the farther it will go!
The amount of club head speed you’ll be able to generate depends on several factors:
- Swing mechanics
- Ability to generate power
- Flexibility (discussed above)
Check out the chart below (source) that outlines the average club head speed for the different age groups:
|Age (Years)||Males – 50th Percentile Club Head Speed (Median)||Females – 50th percentile Clubhead Speed (Median)|
|10-16||92.7 mph||82.0 mph|
|17-29||113.0 mph||92.0 mph|
|30-50||103.3 mph||No Data|
|50-60||98.9 mph||73.4 mph|
|60+||93.3 mph||72.9 mph|
If you notice you’re below the median for your age and gender, check out this article that explains some things you can do to increase your club head speed by 10mph.
7. You’re Using The Wrong Ball
Believe it or not, the ball you’re using can also have a significant impact on how far you can hit the golf ball.
If you’re using a ball that’s too soft for your swing speed, it will spin too much and you’ll sacrifice valuable distance.
On the other hand, if you’re using a golf ball that’s too hard (high compression), then you’ll have a hard time compressing it enough to maximize your distance. Not to mention, it’ll feel like you’re hitting a rock!
So, what golf ball is right for you?
I personally believe the most important thing to look at when choosing a golf ball is the compression rate. Most modern golf balls are classified as either low, medium, or high compression.
- Soft cores
- Easily compressible
- Perfect for golfers with slower swing speeds
- Popular mid-compression golf balls include Vice Pro Soft and Titleist AVX.
- Average core
- Great for a wide range of players
- Popular low compression balls include Vice Pro and Titleist Pro V1.
- Firm core
- Best for players with high swing speeds
- Popular high-compression golf balls include Vice Pro+ and Titleist Pro V1x.
Here’s the compression rate you should select based on your swing speed:
|Avg. Club Head Speed (Driver)||Avg. Distance (Total)||Recommended Golf Ball Compression|
If you’re still unsure which golf ball will be best for you, you can try out this handy golf ball recommender tool.
Once armed with the right golfballs in your bag, you’re one step further to hitting longer drives!
The Takeaway – Why You Can’t Hit The Golf Ball Far
Have you been asking yourself – why can’t I hit the golf ball far? It’s probably a result of one or more of these 7 things:
- Too Much Tension
- Poor Posture
- Improper Clubs
- Too Much Spin On The Ball
- Limited Flexibility
- Low Club Head Speed
- Using the Wrong Ball
For more tips for increasing power and hitting longer drives, I would recommend checking out this article: How To Hit The Golf Ball Farther Off The Tee (A 3-Step Guide To Hitting Bombs).
I hope this article has helped you pinpoint the reason you’re not hitting the golf ball far!