Driving for Distance: Players today know that carry beats roll
The old idea of hitting a low draw to get the ball running down the fairway is, well, an old idea. Launch monitors have proven that carry distance is the key to overall distance. Here are some tips for maximizing carry. --
First, check your driver specs. A little more loft—for most players, at least 10.5 degrees—will help you launch the ball higher. A lighter, more-flexible shaft means you’ll get more out of the speed potential you have.
Next comes the setup. Move your trail foot back a few inches to widen your stance. That’ll tilt your spine away from the target and put your head behind the ball. From there, you can swing into impact on a shallow, sweeping angle and produce that nice, high launch.
You can make a few tweaks to your swing, too, but don’t try these all at once. Going back, take your time setting the club at the top. You don’t want to go slow, but be deliberate. Get as much body turn behind the ball as your flexibility allows.
Coming down, let’s focus on two things: the trail shoulder and the trail foot. Keep your shoulder back and in for as long as you can. Nothing saps power faster than the upper body taking over the downswing, which causes a steep chop. Let your hands and arms drop as the lower body starts forward. But don’t overdo the lower body: Keep your trail foot down longer, and the club will stay to the inside and come in shallow.
Finally, maintain your arm speed all the way through like Dustin Johnson is doing here. Don’t just hit at the ball. Carry distance requires a level strike and as much speed as you can muster and still hit the ball flush. with Peter Morrice
SUMMER'S HERE: HOW'S YOUR GOLF?
If you’re getting out to play, you’re probably realizing that your good shots and bad shots look a lot like last year’s. Don’t let that bum you out; a consistent pattern is a good thing. Taking stock is the critical first step, then you need some solid swing advice. Seeing a PGA pro is a great option. So is Golf Digest’s all-access instruction program. The videos are top-notch; and all the leading teachers are there. Best of all, you can pull them up on your phone or computer whenever you have time. Learn more at golfdigest.com/allaccess.
BUTCH HARMON is based at Rio Secco Golf Club, Henderson, Nev.