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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.