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OTHER ITA SITES:
Easy Distance Off The Tee
How can I generate more distance off the tee? Recreational players, it seems, are always looking for golf tips on how to generate more distance off the tee. While proper technique is the true secret to generating distance off the tee, other isolated factors also affect distance. Taking advantage of these factors, as I urge players who take my golf lessons, is an easy way to get more distance without swinging harder or faster.
Loft is one of those isolated factors. Unfortunately, some players who take my golf lessons or read my golf tips don’t truly understand the significance of loft. Some players also have a psychological barrier against loft, which is natural given what happens on the course when you hit a tee shot.
Conventional Wisdom versus Reality
Reality in golf is always what it seems. Conventional wisdom suggests that higher-lofted drivers produce shots that fly high and stop dead when they land. Lower-lofted drivers produce shots that fly low but run more when they land, generating more distance off the tee. That theory makes sense, or so it would seem.
The key to maximizing power at any swing speed, however, is launching the ball on the proper trajectory with the right amount of spin to take advantage of the golf ball’s aerodynamic properties. That launch angle is generally 10 to 15 degrees of loft (slower swingers can get more distance with a higher loft angle). Ideal spin varies, but it’s about 2000 to 3000 revolutions per minute, again a little higher with slower swing speeds.
Loft, it would seem, is a key factor when hitting a driver. In fact, adding loft is the single most important thing I’ve found in my years of providing golf instruction that helps people hit their drivers better. For some golfers adding loft to their drivers—without making any other adjustments—generates an average of at least 10 yards to their drives. For others, it generates even more.
Determining the Right Loft
So how do you determine what loft is right for you? Pick a driver that gives you as high a trajectory as you can get without sacrificing accuracy. When you feel you’re uncomfortably high, take the loft one step down to see if you still are consistently long most of the time. When in doubt, take more loft rather than less.
Once you’ve determined the right loft, try the following tips for generating more distance of the tee. They’ll help you hit the ball farther without changing your swing speed or adding more muscle power.
1. Widen stance at address for greater stability
2. Shift more weight on right side (for a right-hander)
3. Turn our your left foot slightly
4. Take a full 90-degree turn.
5. Hover club head above ground
6. Hit hard with right hand through impact
7. Sense right forearm crossing over left
8. Finish high with your swing
Some of these tips focus on changes in your address position. Hovering the club head above the ground is a technique both Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus use. It takes a little practice to learn how to do it, but it produces dividends when executed correctly. And finishing correctly is a must on every swing. When combined with the right loft, these tips will add more distance to your drives.
Two Drills for Generating More Distance
Two proven drills for increasing driving distance are the lead hand drill and the weighted-club drill. I often suggest them to players who take my golf lessons or in written golf tips in my newsletter.
1. The lead hand drill strengthens the “pulling” muscles of your left arm. (Right fore- arm for left-handers.) With this drill, practice hitting a golf ball with just your left hand. Start with a pitching wedge. Try it without a ball first. Swing easily. When you’re ready, tee the ball up and swing away. Take about 25 swings. When you can hit the ball off the tee consistently, drop down to an 8 iron. Repeat the process.
2. The weighted-club drill stretches the back muscles, leading to a fuller turn. Use a heavyweight practice club, a practice “donut,” or a weighted cover for your club. Take about 50 practice swings a day. Swing easily and smoothly. After a month or two, you will find the arc of your swing is larger than before, without losing control of the swing.
Adding more loft to your driver won’t make you a Jack Nicklaus or Greg Norman over night; but it will improve your game without involving hours and hours of practice. More importantly, adding loft will help you hit the kinds of drives that can help lower your golf handicap.
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