I've been working hard to get ready for this season. With golf, there's always room to improve—and that often means off the tee. Although I've ranked in the top four in driving distance every year since 2007, I know I can hit it even farther without sacrificing control. Check out some of the adjustments I'm making for when I want to bomb one. Give them a try, and you'll be longer than ever, too.
1. CREATE A STURDY LAUNCHING PAD
If you want a distance boost, tee the ball a little higher than normal and widen your stance. You'll notice you feel more stable in this position. You can make a healthy swing without losing your balance. The wider stance also sets your shoulders on a steeper angle (your right shoulder lower than your left). This makes it easier to sweep the ball off the tee. Hitting it on the upswing will launch the ball higher with less backspin, and that's ideal for more distance.
2. GET A GOOD WINDUP TO THE TOP
I have a bad tendency to straighten my right leg on the backswing. When I do, my upper body starts to tilt toward the target. I can usually stop this move mid-swing, but if the upper body goes too far forward, it's hard to recover by impact. You'll tend to shift to your back foot on the way down and never get through the ball. Instead, keep some flex in both legs as you swing to the top. Feel athletic. The muscles in your right thigh and hip should be firing and your back fully wound. From there, you're ready to strike.
3. OPT FOR SOLID OVER SPEED
Physics is physics. If you can swing faster and hit the ball in the sweet spot, you'll drive it farther. But I've found that when I try to swing harder, not only is it a real challenge to find the center of the clubface, it also throws my swing out of sync. Instead, focus on making a smooth swing and delivering the center of the club to the back of the ball. Glancing blows off the toe or bottom of the driver are real distance killers. Swing only as hard as you can and still be confident you'll flush it.
4. LEARN TO ACCELERATE LATE
I see a lot of amateurs who use up so much energy to start down that their swings run out of gas too early. Instead of accelerating through the ball, the speed fizzles out. Part of staying smooth when you swing is letting the clubhead continually accelerate. It's not gradual. It happens very fast. But if you try to swing from the top at your maximum speed, you're going to be slowing down at the ball. That drive's going nowhere. Try to make sure the club is moving its fastest around impact. You'll know that happened if the swing's momentum carries the club up and around your body. Finish like that, and the ball will just go and go.