Instruction

18 Sneaky Ways to Get Longer Without Changing Your Swing

Driving: The Easy Way to Add Speed, Power and Yards
Speed up your arms—not your whole body—for extra yards off the tee.

So many swing tips, so little time. In the quest to hit it longer, what you really need are short cuts. Here they are: 18 ways to tack on yardage, without changing your swing.    

1. USE A NARROWER GRIP

Don't believe us? Just ask the Beast. As in three-time World Long Drive champions Sean "The Beast" Fister, who rips it 400-yards-plus, using a driver with a ladies' grip. "The smaller the grip, the faster your hands snap through," Fister says. "You get more speed."

2. TEE IT HIGHER

Tee it high and let it fly isn't just a rhyme. It's truism confirmed by a GOLF test. In the study, 27 golfers, ages 25 to 71, with handicaps ranging from scratch to 29, were asked to smack 30 tee shots, 10 each with the ball teed at three different heights: low, mid-tee and high (with the bottom edge of the ball just above the top of the club face). The upshot of all those shots? The high tee height yielded the most distance, giving players an average of 12 extra yards of carry.

Photo:

Tee it up higher and see how that thing flies.

3. TAKE CREATINE SUPPLEMENTS

The potential long-term side effects linked to this performance-enhancing supplement include weight gain, anxiety, fatigue, fever, headaches, kidney problems, nausea, diarrhea and stomach upset. But like we said, long term. In the short term, enjoy the monster drive that you just hit.

4. PLAY AT ELEVATION

Here's a driving tip: hop in your jalopy and head for the mountains. Tahoe. Taos. Truckee. Telluride. Any locale where the air is thin will do. Yes, returning to sea level will be something of a downer. But it’s a small price to pay for the ego-boosting high of golf at altitude.

(MORE: The Top 100 Courses You Can Play in the United States)

5. GRUNT AT IMPACT

Take it from three-time World Long Drive champion Sean "The Beast" Fister, who, in his moonshot-launching prime, produced sounds at impact that would have made a grizzly proud. "Give a good grunt when you hit it," Fister says. "Even if you don’t kill it, they’ll think you did."

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When in doubt, shout it out like Sean 'The Beast' Fister.

6. SPRAY BEFORE YOU PLAY

You know that foot spray powder in the locker room? Spray it on your clubface, too, says GOLF Top 100 Teacher Anne Cain of the PGA Tour Academy in St. Augustine, Fla. The ball mark will show if you are hitting the sweet spot. Adjust accordingly from there.

7. RELAX YOUR ARMS AND USE LIGHTER GRIP PRESSURE

If you tuned in to the 2016 Summer Olympics, you might have noticed Michael Phelps shaking out his arms and legs before a race, like a man whose limbs had fallen asleep. He and other swimmers do that to get loose and relaxed, the better to prime their muscles for fast, powerful movement. Phelps is an avid golfer, so he should know: the same theory applies on the tee box. "Relax your grip," says GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher Jim Suttie of Cog Hill Golf Club in Lemont, Ill. "Less tension in the hands creates more hand speed while allowing your big muscles to move more efficiently."

8. TIGHTEN YOUR LACES

Sounds silly. It isn't. Tying your laces tightly gives you better traction, so you can push off more forcefully with your feet. It’s called building power from the ground up.

9. DO THE THREE-STEP SHUFFLE

It's not a dance move. It's a surefire method for adding yardage. "As soon as you hit it, take three big steps back," says GOLF Top 100 Teacher Steve Bosdosh of the Members Club at Four Streams in Poolesville, Md. "If you’re still not satisfied, repeat. The distance between you and your drive keeps growing, even if the ball hasn’t moved an inch.

10. UPGRADE YOUR DRIVER

In case you hadn't noticed, the world has seen some changes in the past 20-plus years. Al Gore invented the Internet. NASA dispatched a rover that went all the way to Mars. And golf club-makers moved beyond the TaylorMade Burner that you’ve had in your bag since 1995. Get custom-fitted for one of their modern wonders. It will help you keep up with the big hitters, even as you keep up with the times.

(MORE: ClubTest 2016 -- The Best New Drivers for Your Game)

11. PLAY THE RIGHT BALL

Compression. Dimple-pattern. Cover. Core. Balls vary widely, just like swings. And while most of us are brand-loyal, we should really be loyal to the specs instead. Ball-fittings are fast and simple way to improve performance (you can even do a basic one online, for free). Bottom line: You don’t have to go to great lengths to find a ball that goes to greater lengths for you.

A look at some of the newest golf balls for 2016.

12. STRENGTHEN YOUR CORE

Those infomercials aren't quite right: it isn't really easy to turn stubborn belly fat into six-pack abs. But it's also not that hard to strengthen your core. Crunches. Planks. Seated dumbbell twists on a medicine ball. As little as 10 minutes a day will make a big difference. A stronger core helps produce a more powerful turn, and greater stability and balance through your swing.

13. SWITCH TO WARP SPEED ON YOUR PRACTICE SWING

"Simply flip the club around and swing the grip end as fast as you while maintaining your balance," says Joe Hallett, GOLF Top 100 Teacher and director of instruction at Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn. "When it’s time to hit, just give it your regular swing, and you might pick up a mile-per-hour or two of swing speed."

14. DO SOME GARDENING

Yard work and yardage aren't quite the same, but they're related, says GOLF Top 100 Teacher Mike Perch of River Pines Golf Club in Johns Creek, Ga. He says you can build strength (and clubhead speed, and distance) by swinging a garden hoe 50 times every other day.

15. JUST DO IT

No Nike attire needed. Just swing faster. "Everyone can do it," says GOLF Top 100 Teacher Bob Noel of Money Hill Golf & Country Club in Abita Springs, La. "Imagine yourself walking through a park at your normal pace and all of a sudden a wild dog begins to chase you. You start walking faster, and then you run. How did you do that? You just did Same goes for adding distance. Just dig deep."

16. BE LIKE MIKE

Soften your jaw, a la Michael Jordan, says GOLF Top 100 Teacher Krista Dunton of Berkeley Hall Golf Club in Okatie, S.C. "Even let your mouth open to take all the tension out," she says. "Tension hides in your upper body and jaw. Keep those parts loose and you’ll find hidden power."

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Just let everything go, à la Michael Jordan (face muscles included).

17. CHANNEL SNEAD AND HOGAN

In times of need, both men could really bang it. Their secret? "Pull the right foot back about one-half a shoe-length at address," says GOLF Top 100 Teacher Jason Carbone of Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J. "This will help you make a better coil going back, and promote a shallower path into the ball."

18. LEGGO YOUR EGO

If you really want to leave yourself with shorter approach shots, do yourself a favor and move up a tee.

Bailey Mosier: Clear Your Hips For Longer Drives
Golf Channel's Bailey Mosier shows you a simple but effective way to lead with your hips to get more distance on your drives.

 

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