We would all like to add a few yards to our tee shot. Especially when we’re hitting the driver on a long par 4. But do we understand how best to hit the driver to maximize distance? What does the ideal impact position look like and how do we achieve it? Let’s find out!
Hit up on the ball
With irons, we are taught to hit the ball on the way down (i.e. with a negative “angle of attack”, definition here) to create compression and hit the ball from the sweetspot of the club.
With the driver, however, we want to achieve the inverse. We want to hit the ball as the clubhead starts to travel up.
Why is that desirable? Because it allows us to more easily hit the sweetspot of the driver, produce less spin and launch the golf ball higher. All of which will help you to get the most out your driver and hit longer shots.
Find the driver’s sweetspot
It would seem obvious that generating more speed to hit the ball with higher club head speed is the easiest solution to hit the ball further.
Surprisingly, that’s not always the case. It is true that each 1mph of increased club head speed translates into 2 additional yards of carry. However, even more important than hitting the ball at high speed, is hitting it solid. Hitting it solid improves what TrackMan calls the “Smash Factor”, more info on that here.
In fact, hitting the ball on the sweetspot at lower speed will produce better results than hitting off center strikes at greater speed, as the above video from TrackMan University explains.
Smash Factor relates to the amount of energy transferred from the club head to the golf ball. The higher the smash factor the better the energy transfer.
A golfer would hope to achieve a smash factor near 1.50 on driver shots. That means for a 100 mph club speed the ball speed would be 150 mph.
The higher the loft of the club, the lower the smash factor is expected to be. A PW should have a smash factor near 1.25.
Tilt your spine to bomb the driver
So how do we achieve this? How do we ensure we hit the ball on the way up? Luckily, when we tee the ball up high enough on the tee, this isn’t too hard to achieve, provided we make the necessary adjustments to how we set up and swing the club.
Hopefully these tips have improved your understanding of the concepts underlying longer driving. Go out on the range today and practice these techniques. Let us know in the comments if you made any progress!
Enjoy your round!
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