Golf Tip: Gain Extra Yardage

How do I gain some extra yardage? Many golfers come to Sycuan and ask this infamous question to our teacher professionals. So we asked our Director of Golf, Clint Higgins, PGA, and this is what he has to say!

The most common thing that I am asked when giving a lesson is, “Clint, How do I get more distance out of my driver?” You must understand that consistent distance comes from centered-ness of contact (the sweet spot) and the angle of approach that your club makes when coming in contact with the golf ball. When this is realized, I also focus on three points that will help optimize your distance.

First, do you hold the club correctly – Do you have a proper grip? An added power technique that is often under utilized by the amateur golfer is holding the club in the fingers, as opposed to the palm of the hand. For example, when you hold a baseball bat you encircle the bat palms first and then close your fingers in around it. In golf you should let the club rest in your fingers – primarily in the ring and middle finger of the lead hand (Note: the lead hand for right handed players is the left hand, and vice versa for left handed golfers). This allows a more free flowing swing, a release of the club head during impact, and lets you create more club head speed without having to swing harder at the ball.

The second thing that I look at is posture. According to The Titleist Performance Institute, 65% of missed golf shots, from the amateur to the professional level come from early extension, also known as a loss of posture. This means that somewhere during the course of the swing the golfer losses the starting posture or the golfer was never in the correct posture from the start. To get the proper posture, stand up straight with your feet shoulders width apart. From here try to bend at the hip flexors, not the back, to lower yourself over the ball. Finally gently soften your knees. If your posture is correct, you should be able to see the tops of your shoe laces, and your lower back should be flat. Try to maintain this posture through the entirety of your swing; you must stay down over the ball until your arms pass your body. If you lose your posture, you will lose your power.

Finally, in many cases amateur golfers feel that if they swing hard at the ball they will get more distance. This could not be further from the truth. When you swing hard at the ball, your muscles are flexed. What is longer, a flexed muscle or a relaxed muscle? The answer is a relaxed muscle. To create club head speed, try to keep your arms relaxed, your upper back relaxed, and your wrists lose.

So, if distance is what you are looking to gain, remember to check these three things: your grip, your posture, and your level of relaxation. It is also very important to stretch before, during, and after your round to avoid injury and increase the longevity of your game.

Golf Tip - Gain Extra Yardage-1

Golf Tip - Gain Extra Yardage-2

Notice here that you should hold the club in the fingers, primarily the ring and middle finger. From here close your hand around the rest of the grip like in the picture above.

Golf Tip - Gain Extra Yardage-3

Don’t establish your grip palm first. Notice the club laying across the palm of the hand instead of the fingers.

Golf Tip - Gain Extra Yardage

A solid starting posture, bending at the hip flexors and softening the knees. Also notice a flatter lower back.

Golf Tip - Gain Extra Yardage

This is an incorrect starting posture. You will notice the rounded lower back – Also known as “C” posture. This is an inefficient way to start your swing

Golf Tip - Gain Extra Yardage

Here at the top of the swing the hands are as far away from the center of the chest as possible. This will allow for a larger swing arc and increased club head speed

Until next time, keep swinging!

Clint Higgins –
Director of Golf – PGA Golf Professional
Titleist Performance Institute Certified Golf Fitness Instructor
Sycuan Golf and Tennis Resort