How To Hit Longer Drives: 7 Ways To Improve Your Driving Distance

As a junior, I was never long off the tee compared to my friends at the same age. I was not as strong as them, and I also struggled with shots that didn’t penetrate the air enough, or “weak shots”, and sometimes slicing and fading too much. All a result of a swing that was more suited for iron play, than it was for long drives.

I first started to be able to compete with others of my age and older, when it comes to driving distance, early in my 20s after applying better mechanics to driving as well as getting a driver that provided less spin on the ball. Too much spin robs drives of their maximum distance. In this article, I will give you 7 key elements you can use if you are trying to figure out how to hit longer drives.

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How To Hit Longer Drives

The truth is we all want to hit our driver longer and better. I think we all know as golfers that there are few other things that can match the feeling of knocking a solid, penetrating drive that carries 20-25 yards longer than we usually hit it and even keeps rolling a good 20-30 yards more down the middle of the fairway. The feeling might stick with you for the rest of the day, and you will even remember the moment occasionally for some time to come when thinking back at your time on the golf course lately.

My goal with this article is to give you more of these moments, more often, and to help you achieve an overall improvement in the distance you carry the ball and the distance you hit it with roll.

The Key Elements To Hit Longer Drives:

  • Launch angle:  This means you need to launch the ball higher from impact, not because you have a high spin rate, but because you hit up on the ball with a shallow angle of attack.
  • Putting the right amount of spin on the ball: Usually, the problem is that golfers attack the ball with a too steep angle of attack with the driver and the result becomes a ball flight that is too weak to gain that extra penetration through the air and the roll that you need. Having the right amount of spin is especially important for windy conditions.

Note: You know that you have done the two above correct if your ball launches high in the air, within reasonable limits, but still rolls a long distance when it lands. The whole ball flight just looks much more powerful, and it should be instinctive to see as a golfer that you are on the right track once you get this part improved. A drive that is struck this way also just feels different.

  • Power and clubhead speed: The better you can stay on a good plane in the backswing and downswing, and use your body effectively to generate power and clubhead speed, the longer you will obviously hit it.
  • Equipment: This is an aspect that can sometimes be underrated, because many golfers don’t realize the importance of having the right shaft that fits their swing speed, the importance of using a golf ball that suits their clubhead speed (golf ball compression) or how important it is with the right loft on their driver that suits their swing to create the maximal distance.

In 2016 TaylorMade released their new driver M1 that offers some of the best customization on the market for both shafts, launch angle as well as loft on the driver head. Testing has shown that this driver is the one that offers the best of both worlds, in terms of maximal distance when hitting the sweet spot, while at the same time offering great forgiveness for shots that miss the sweet spot. You can find it on by clicking here.

For more info about the M1, you can also see Without further ado, here are the steps to hit longer drives:

7 Ways To Hit Longer Drives


1.  Setting up your ball position and posture for longer drives

Place the ball just inside your left heel in the stance, with a wider stance than with irons. Tilt your upper body slightly to the right and tilt your hips a little so that the left hip is in a slightly higher position than your right hip.

This will allow you to swing more up on the ball with a shallower angle of attack and will result in a higher ball flight with less spin. It will be easier to hit slightly from the inside to outside which promotes a high draw that gives you both greater carry distance and roll.

Once you have got this right you should also make sure you tee the ball up high enough—half of the ball above the top of the driver head, to promote a higher launch angle, which gives you greater carry distance, while you at the same time get less spin on the ball.

Here is a great video by Teaching Professional Derek Hooper from that illustrates this point:




Here is another great video from Me And My Golf TV that talks about the importance of angle of attack, launch angle and swinging slightly from the inside out with the driver, to promote a higher ball flight with less spin, which results in greater driving distance.


2. Get less spin on the ball by making sure your hands are not behind the ball at impact

To accomplish this you should practice getting your left wrist in a straight or slightly pronated position at impact while releasing the club. In addition to reducing spin on the golf ball, this technique also increases clubhead speed. Once you get this into your swing memory you will start to see improvements in the roll of the ball once it lands and the penetration it has through the air, being a direct result of less spin.

Ben Hogans Five Lessons, one of the most legendary instructional books on golf, teaches this principle in great detail. If you wish to get the book you can get it by clicking HERE.

3. Swing on a flatter plane

One of Europe’s finest pros and former Masters Champion, Ian Woosnam, often referred to this as “slogging” the golf ball. This will allow you to come into the ball more from the inside with a shallower angle of attack, and you will have a much higher chance of hitting a draw which gives you more distance and roll. An additional point here is that you not only get a better ball flight but you will be able to gain more clubhead speed and power from the inside of the golf swing since you are following the most natural path for a long club to approach the ball. You will simply have more time and distance in the swing to be on a naturally powerful path where it’s easy to build power and create more speed.

4. Swing with the feeling of  maximazing your power and speed slightly after impact

This helps us avoid releasing too much power early in the downswing and getting out of position in the downswing. We need to learn to hit with power beyond the golf ball.  The feeling should be that we accelerate beyond or slightly after the golf ball. What this will do for you is that it will provide a better lower body turn, where you more easily get into the right position with your lower body in the downswing, and you open up much better with your lower body to the golf shot, which generates power. In addition, this will help you to compress the ball much better, and in reality get maximum clubhead speed at impact, although it feels like you are using more power slightly after impact.

The video below illustrates this point very well. Most amateur players focus on generating power at the ball, but this usually results in losing power to some degree, because our body doesn’t get into an optimal position in the downswing and at impact with this approach. If we rather focus on releasing our power after the golf ball, we get better and more powerful mechanics, especially in our lower body in the downswing and through impact. As a byproduct of applying this you will also see that you will hit straighter shots, in addition to gaining more driving distance.

I also suggest you try the drill given in this video to practice this approach.

Focusing on hitting with power slightly beyond the golf ball is also advice given by tour pro Fred Couples, who has one of the smoothest swing rhythms we have ever seen on tour, while still being able to generate a lot of power and speed.

5. Use looser hands and grip pressure throughout the swing

Loosen up your hands and grip more, by first using ligther grip pressure throughout the swing. The grip pressure should be about 4-5 out of 10 for the driver. Holding on to the club too hard and being too stiff in your grip slows down your hands, which is one of the greatest sources for power and clubhead speed.

The most important aspect of grip pressure is that you keep the same grip pressure throughout your whole swing. This is something you need to focus on and practice in the beginning before it becomes ingrained and more natural in your swing. Even once incorporated this is something you should make sure to check up on once in a while and pay attention to as it can make a huge difference to your distance, as well as your overall result.

As you start to practice using a lighter grip be sure to measure your results. You will quickly see that the times you get this part right you get improvement in distance and ball flight.

It’s also important to loosen up your hand action. You need to use hand action the right way in order to not hit at the ball with your hands in the wrong way. You want to make sure your hands are level to or slightly in front of the ball at impact, to get better compression and distance. Loosening up your hands and speeding them up will be a great source of effortless power in your swing. When you get good at this you can hit long drives even with swings that look effortless. When you add speed and power from the big muscles on top of this, especially with correct rotation of your lower body, you will see great improvement in the length of your driving.

If you are using a swing monitor, you will also be able to see that you gain higher clubhead speed working on your swing in this way.

Here is a video from Paul Wilson and Ignition Golf that shows the importance of looser hands and how that will give you more clubhead speed:

If you want to check out a launch monitor we recommend for measuring clubhead speed, spin rate, and launch angle, you can check out the Ernest Sports ES14 Portable Launch Monitor by clicking here.

6. Creating more lag in the downswing

There is no way around this, the more lag you are able to create in the downswing and maintain long enough before striking the ball the longer you will hit the ball. To create better lag it’s important to have a wide takeaway and backswing with a wide angle between your left arm and the shaft/wrist before you reach the top and you naturally let the club lag and decrease angle because your hands, wrists and grip pressure loosen enough. As you then start the downswing practice, let the club lag behind as much as possible and let it reach the bottom of the swing on its own without using much force.

It’s very much a process in the hands that happens on its own once you let them become loose enough to work on their own, but you do need to practice proper pronation of the club if you don’t already execute this well. As referenced earlier in the article more info about pronation can be found in Ben Hogans Five Lessons.

The video below by Rick Shels is a great resource on lag, and shows you the importance of having a wide takeaway and backswing to promote hinging your wrist and creating lag more from the upper part of your golfswing, and in the downswing turning into proper lag, with a very low degree angle between your left arm and the shaft.


Hogans Mystique is a great video that all golfers should study in detail frame by frame if possible, and learn from. It shows how one of the greatest legends in golf was able to create tremendous lag, being one of the reasons he was always one of the longest on tour in his era. What you might not know is that Ben Hogan was also competing a lot in long drive championships early in his career. In addition, this video is also simply inspiring and soothing to watch as a golfer.

My suggestion to you if you are a serious golfer is that you study Ben Hogan, both the two books he wrote, Power Golf and Five Lessons, and his swing from videos. There is a lot to learn, and there is a reason he was one of the best ball strikers of all time.



7. Practice swinging with a weighted club and practice swinging with a lighter club

When you practice swinging with a club that is overweighted (a training aid) you will gain strength and flexibility, which results in more power. Also, swinging with a club that is lighter than normal lets you train your quick muscle fibers as well as wrist action in the swing.

For strength and tempo training, you may also want to check out the SKLZ Gold Flex Strength and Tempo Trainer. You can find it on Amazon by clicking here.



Focusing on both creating a more effective ball flight as well as applying the right mechanics for speed and power will bear fruits. Once you start to launch the ball higher in the air, while keeping the spin rate low, you will see that this in and of itself gives you a good deal of improvement in the distance you hit your drives. Adding more clubhead speed on top of this, by working on the discussed elements on this topic in this article, you will see a great increase in driving distance.

In return for working on this, you not only get to show off more in front of your friends, from the tee, but you also get to use shorter irons into greens and you will more easily carry past hazards on the golf course.

As a last tip, I want to say that when you work on the right thing you will see direct improvements in ball flight, and I suggest that you use ball flight and the results you get as a constant way to evaluate if you are working on the right thing for you and executing it in the right way.

If you want to share your point of view on this article or your thoughts on how to hit longer drives, you can post a comment below.


About the author

Mathias Hamnvik

Former junior elite player, 0.6 hcp currently, three times club champion - on my way towards +hcp and bringing you along for the ride!