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Instruction

Distance gains

This former college player-turned-long drive champ shares the most important drill she learned to gain distance

October 18, 2022
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Mai Dechathipat didn’t know what to do after college. ​After a collegiate career at two different schools, Auburn and Wake Forest, the naturally long-hitting Dechathipat​ started looking into long-drive competitions as a way to keep busy at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Along the way, Dechathipat has quickly become one of the best female long drive hitters in the world. In 2021, she finished second in the Pro Long Drive Association’s World Championship​, with a longest drive of 324 yards.

Before Dechathipat got into long drive, she thought the way to gain power was by going to the gym and doing a lot of plyometric training, like jumps and sprints. But she soon realized that real gains in power actually happen on the range.

“Plyometrics are great for endurance and strength, but to swing faster, you just have to practice swinging faster,” Dechathipat said.

If she wanted to swing with more power and speed during competitions, she realized she had to practice with that same level of intensity. We asked Dechathipat what she'd tell an average golfer who was looking to gain distance and she shared the following drill, which she uses for long drive but can have benefits for average golfers, too. While a lot of the changes long drive competitors make to their equipment, swings, and training regimens are too drastic for average golfers, this drill can help you build swing speed—and swing speed builds distance. Dechathipat says that average golfers who do this drill once a week for just one month will start to see gains in their swing speed.

Warm-up

Dechathipat says to warm-up enough that you’re breaking a little sweat. She recommends taking some swings, jogging in place, and doing some push​-​ups to get your body ready.

Once you have a sweat going, take 20 practice swings, swinging faster than your usual tempo.

Grab 42 golf balls

Separate the golf balls out into seven sets of six balls. Take your driver and hit the first set of six using the faster tempo you just used in your practice swings. In fact, everything about this drill is fast-paced. Once you’ve put the ball on a tee, hit it within five seconds. You’ll find during this process that you’re not as accurate as you usually are. And that’s ​OK.​ “You are going into the ball with an intention to hit it hard but solid, not straight,” Dechathipat said.

Take a 30 second break

After you’ve hit your first set of six golf balls, take a 30-second break. Then start teeing up your next set.

Keep going

“You’ll feel your heart rate rise. You’ll see your hands shake when you’re teeing up the ball,” Dechathipat said. When she does this drill, she’s dripping in sweat afterwards, so don’t be surprised if you are, too.

The next time you're back out on the course, you’ll obviously not be swinging as hard and fast as possible, but with consistency, the benefits of this drill will start to seep into your swing.

You’ll probably work harder during this drill than any other you’ve tried, but if there’s one thing that Dechathipat has learned on her long drive journey, it’s that if you want more distance and power, there’s a clear way to do it: To swing faster, you have to practice swinging faster.