What’s your favorite drill for getting more distance with the driver?
The Shadow Drill
If we assume you make decent contact then one of the biggest problems that most people have creating distance is they do not create a full turn for their back swing. This does not mean everyone should have 120 degree shoulder turn. You will only do what you are capable of so if it is 90 degree shoulder turn then it is 90.
The shadow drill is a great way to create a better turn. You need two golf clubs and two golf balls. You will make a ‘T’ with the two golf clubs and place one ball covered by your shadow on the edge of your trail hip. You will place the other golf ball about 2 inches away from your lead hip. You will face your shadow without a club to start and see if you can turn and get your shadow off the golf ball on your trail hip while keeping your head at the horizontal part of the ‘T’.Your goal is to create only the one golf ball of space on your back swing. Once you can do that progress to swinging a club to do the same thing. This will force you to be tall and keep your pressure in a better spot in your feet to be able to use the ground on the down swing to create more distance.
The answer is simple, Think up!
Drill: Place a bottle of water approximately 3 feet in front of your golf ball. The only goal, avoid hitting the water bottle with your driver directing your swing on the way up! For starters place the ball well forward of your stance (Front Toe), and on your through swing keep your nose directly behind the golf ball. This will allow you to stay behind the ball and direct your angle of attack up! The Key- rotate through and never decelerate. This drill is designated to change your angle of attack up and not swing down. Getting steep and swinging down on your ball will add a high amount of spin that will take away yardage and add to a bigger miss hit window. Swinging up on the ball will add trajectory and make for a more penetrating golf shot which equals unmatched distance.
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Magic Move (Pump Drill)
Harvey Penick once wrote in the Little Red Book, “If there is such a thing as a Magic Move in the golf swing, it is to start the downswing by shifting your weight onto your front foot bring the trail elbow a little closer to your body.”
Make a practice swing, stopping your hands below your chin on the downswing. The shaft of the golf club should be parallel to the ground and pointed at the target at this point. This indicates a slight in to out swing path and a shallow angle of attack.
This is made easier with the driver by moving the ball position 2 inches (the height of the tee) forward and opening your stance slightly.
After doing the pump drill, focus on your target and let the lower body lead the parade to the promised land!
Using weighted balls
Some of my favorite drills have more to do with using weighted balls to get students to feel what it means to create increased power and speed from the ground up. We start with a short toss and work to long toss to get the idea of what it takes to gradually increase our power and distance. I love getting students to do other movements besides a golf swing to help them see how we should be approaching the movement. I will then progress them to speed sticks and then to the orange whip. The basis is to make sure we are maintaining tempo and balance while increasing speed.
Stand with the majority of my body weight on my trail leg...
My favorite drill for adding distance is with the driver is to stand with the majority of my body weight on my trail leg using only the toes of my lead leg for balance, and without sacrificing the relationship of my hands/forearms/shoulders, initiating the most outside (relative to my ball-target line) takeaway I can create, and really being aware of the upper body rotation that continues after the hips have rotated to their maximum.
I encourage most of my physically fit and reasonably flexible students that do not present any injury to rehearse this drill with the knowledge that a wide, low, and outside of the target line takeaway is the most frequent opportunity for them to create width in their backswing and equally important; loading into their trail leg. The longer they can have their body weight and pressure inside the heel of their trail leg, the more likely they are to initiate the downswing with a rotational movement of their lead leg, as it is immeasurably more likely to rotate and not move laterally when they are starting down without having shifted the pressure from the trail foot to the lead foot.
I am not an advocate of drills for students without being intimate with their body movement patterns; I always screen students to see if they have a dominant leg, would they jump higher from both feet, or only one, do they have the physical ability to do what I am asking them to do. Most importantly I offer a few “homework assignments”, or “backyard activities” that are designed to help them become aware of their physical weaknesses, relatively speaking.
The last thing I will say about the drill mentioned above is that I want to make absolute certain each student understands that it is more likely for them to create a positive angle of attack when they are on their trail leg at the beginning of the downswing.
First, Concentricity of Impact
More Distance with a Driver:
First, Concentricity of Impact. Dr. Scholl’s foot powder sprayed on the face to show where impact is being made. The swing needs to be consistent, balanced, under control, and hitting the ball in the sweet
spot before any efforts of increasing swing speed should be made.
Second, Release at the bottom. Having the student “whosh” the club with a tight grip and then doing it with a lighter grip tension, showing them that lighter grip tension will result in a louder “whosh”.
Finally, if still making consistent contact in the sweet spot, faster hips.
First I would say get a fitted driver
First I would say get a fitted driver so your launch conditions are as close to ideal as possible and you are hitting the ball with centerface contact.
Once that is achieved I would suggest utilizing what Dr. Scott Lynn from Swing Catalyst suggests: find your dominate leg and create ground force pressure based on what that leg strength is. Ground force pressure has shown me how to create up to 7 mph more clubhead speed at 55 years old so I am a believer!
The Davis Love drill
I use what we call the Davis Love drill. According to my mentor, Jim Flick, he watched watched Davis dad give him a version of this drill to learn control, but I find it helps add usable distance as well. The idea is simple, slow down the swing to learn proper sequence and improve contact, then gradually increase the speed.
With your driver start making full swings, but only to a 100 yard target. Do this until you achieve center face contact and relatively straight ball flight for the vast majority of 50 shots. Then increase to 150 yards looking for similar results. Increase in 50 yard increments until you reach your maximum speeds. The increased consistency of contact, and ability to sense what the swing is actually doing is great for the average player.
Set an empty water bottle(plastic!) about 2 feet in front of your teed up ball
Set an empty water bottle(plastic!) about 2 feet in front of your teed up ball, the goal is to hit the shot without letting the ball or club hit the bottle. This will insure an upward angle of attack, producing less spin which will equal more distance. Hitting a driver with a downward/steep angle of attack will produce more spin and less distance. This drill will also produce more speed through impact.
Act like you're fishing
One of my drills or feelings for distance is act like you’re standing on the bank of a lake and you’re fishing. Make your hand act like a whip motion like you’re casting a reel out. Do that at the bottom of your swing when you’re releasing the club(rolling your hands over). Doing this successfully will create and extra 5 to 15 yards.
Starting with swing at 50%
Starting with swing at 50%, building up 10% speed all the way to 100% to insure timing is not hindering power, and to make sure lower body is leading.
Strengthen your torso
My favorite drill for getting more distance on your driver, is to strengthen your torso. You simply hold a 5lb or a 10lb free weight tightly against your chest , get into your ready position and rotate as if you were making a golf swing without using your hands, arms and club. Make a full or partial swing movement in slow motion, reset and repeat. Three reps of ten twice a day. Distance will follow.
The key to your success with this drill, and all drills, is to “practice with a purpose or a specific goal”. To practice with a purpose means to have a specific goal or an objective in your mind and focus on that objective.
...first ensure that decent contact is being made between the ball and the driver face
In order to maximize distance with the driver, we have to first ensure that decent contact is being made between the ball and the driver face. Before hitting, spray some foot powder spray on your driver face to determine where you are making contact. For most golfers, the optimal spot to make contact is on the upper middle portion of the driver face. Once consistent contact is being made, then you can work on adding club head speed.
Launch it higher with less spin
I have a pretty simple drill that helps get the most out of your driver. I see people swinging the driver with a downward angle of attack, so they are losing distance. In order to get the most out of your driver, you want to launch it higher with less spin. A simple drill can fix this. I place a head cover 12-18 inches in front of the teed up golf ball. The goal is to swing without hitting the head cover. This will get the golfer to instinctively shallow out the angle of attack.
Make sure their grip pressure is as light as possible
To answer your question about distance, I dont have a “drill”, if you will, but my main objective for having students get more distance with the driver is to make sure their grip pressure is as light as possible, thereby reducing any stress and muscle tightness in the hands and forearms. If they can keep a very light grip on the club, they will increase their swing speed just by doing this.
I also have them try to feel that the right arm is straight on the follow through swing, thereby increasing their extension through the swing. I find that if I can get them to do that, their extension on the backswing will also increase, giving them a larger arc and more club head speed.
Where distance comes from.
Take an alignment stick hold the rod with your normal grip and whip it through using your hands and arms. Listen for the swoosh and where it takes place (I want to hear it forward of my ball position) Also the more relaxed you keep your hands and arms, the faster you can swing the rod. The same is true for your golf club. Tension destroys speed
A driver needs to be launched high and with proper spin based on club head speed.
To achieve maximum distance with the driver, set up for success. A driver needs to be launched high and with proper spin based on club head speed. Set up with ball forward in stance and have back shoulder lower than front. This gives the appearance of a “Reverse K” look. Setting up in this manner will put you in a great position to launch the driver for optimum distance!
TLDR: A quick summary of what our Backswing professionals have to say on the topic “What’s Your Favorite Drill for Getting More Distance with the Driver?”
- “The Swing Speed Drill” focuses on maximizing your swing speed through hip rotation and generating power from the lower body.
- “The Overspeed Training Drill” utilizes specialized training aids or lightweight clubs to improve swing speed and increase driving distance.
- “The Smash Factor Drill” emphasizes striking the ball consistently with the center of the clubface for optimal energy transfer and greater distance.
- “The Launch Angle Drill” helps find the ideal launch angle by adjusting tee height and ball position to maximize distance.
They suggest implementing specific drills to enhance your driving distance. By focusing on swing speed, utilizing overspeed training, optimizing smash factor, and refining launch angles, you can improve your capabilities with the driver and achieve greater distance off the tee. Incorporating these recommendations can help you elevate your performance on the golf course.