Golf Psychology Tips: 5 Ways To Hit Longer Drives Without Changing Your Swing
REALLY, YES!! You did read the title correct 😊
Recently, I’ve taken a keen interest driving statistics and I noticed something that I thought I should highlight to help you consider how you can increase your distances off the tee without changing your golf swing.
Some of these big hitters, like Nicolai Højgaard who averages 326.72 yards and Cameron Champ who averages 320.2 yards seem to swing pretty slow and easy, they look so loose and relaxed it’s unreal. Yet these 2 guys lead the driving distances average (as of 10/07/22) on the DP World Tour and PGA Tour respectively.
It made me think about the many golfers I support who complain about not hitting the ball far enough, yet they have lightening fast swings and look like the golf ball is their worst enemy.
So this article is set up to help you slow it down a little, trust your instincts and have fun hitting the ball further off the tee.
It seems a strange thing to say, swinging the driver hard and fast does not produce more distance but it is true. Often a hard and fast swing means that you’re grip pressure is increased causing tension in your hands and arms. This goes on to hurt you in distance terms and often in accuracy too no matter how strong and powerful you are. Tension has a great way of ruining your natural swing, preventing the club from releasing through the ball. To generate maximum club-head speed your golf swing really does need to be free and flowing.
Tension often starts in your hands
Consider when you place your hands on the golf club for a practice swing how tight or light is your grip? Now when you hit the golf ball what does it feel like? Tension in your swing, is likely to start in your hands, moving up through the wrists, forearms, biceps and triceps and into the shoulders and chest. This means a golf swing which is restricted and goes on to decrease in club head speed.
A great golf grip requires your hands to be positioned correctly on the club. It also requires you to hold it in a relaxed manner so you aren’t strangling the golf club. Long drive champions say that the club should be gripped as loose as possible for maximum club head speed, or just tight enough so that you won’t let go of the club.
5 Ways to Reduce Tension and Generate More Distance Without Changing Your Golf Swing
1. Leave the analysis of your golf swing till after your round.
This is potentially the most important point, in golf we can easily obsess about technique. After all it’s highlighted all of the time by pundits on TV, in the media, in magazines, on YouTube. It’s everywhere. The trick is NOT to analyze and try to fix your swing while playing on the course. Often trying to control your body while swinging produces more tension and more bad shots. The best thing you can do is trust what you have, relax, concentrate on improving your alignment and the next point.
2. Focus on tempo and rhythm.
Let’s take Ernie Els and Freddie Couples as examples here, they’ve always swung the golf club with a slow tempo yet have always hit it longer than most. Often long and slow swings are better for distance than short and fast. Experiment give this a try, play around with different tempo’s to see what works best for you.
3. Rate the pressure of your grip.
Next time you’re practicing on the range, rate the pressure of your grip (out of 10) for each shot and see what it does to your swing and the quality of your shots. The aim is to start becoming more aware of your grip pressure and lower it with every practice session. Your grip pressure should ideally be at a 2-3 out of 10. Through this practice, you will notice a difference (for the better) in both your distance and ball striking. Also, the more aware you are of your grip pressure, the more you should be able to “feel” the position of the club-face during the swing and increase your feel for different shot shapes.
4. See it, hit it
When you’re about to play a shot, you should always be “looking and reacting”, not standing over the ball and over-thinking, which creates tension. Look at the target, see the shot and go! How often do you see golfers worrying, standing for nearly 30-40 seconds doubting themselves, looking at the target 3-4 times, waggling many times. Try a faster approach, “see it an hit it”.
5. See yourself relaxed and calm on the tee box
If you’ve read my past blogs and listened to my Demystifying Mental Toughness Podcasts, you’ll be well aware that I’m a big fan of visualisation. I’ve personally had success using it in golf and in other pursuits, and have witnessed many clients who have pulled off amazing feats often down to the way they have disciplined themselves using visualisation. After all the mind and body doesn’t understand the difference between physical practice and mental imagery. You’ll find in this podcast with former England Rugby player Toby Flood we touch on this towards the back end of the episode.
It is well known that visualisation can help athletes relax, feel more confident, fearless and in golfing terms free them up to swing nice and loosely. For more information on visualisation check this out:
Online Golf Psychologist who supports golfers with their mental game all around the world from San Diego to Southampton, Dublin to Dubai, Cape Town to Christchurch, using ONLINE Video Conferencing.
Managing Director – Inspiring Sporting Excellence, Host of Demystifying Mental Toughness Podcast and Founder of The Sports Psychology Hub. With over a decades’ experience supporting athletes, coaches, parents and teams to achieve their goals, faster.
T: +44 7734 697769