Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)

From the Magazine

The drill that will have you hitting longer drives right away

February 08, 2022

Photograph by J.D. Cuban

Your driver should strike the ball on the upswing to produce maximum distance, but how do you know if you’re doing it? The good news is, you don’t need a launch monitor to find out. Instead, try this low-tech drill: Put a pair of small towels on the ground in front of and behind a teed-up ball, and then make a swing (right). Ideally, you want to hit the ball and not the towels, but striking either towel will tell you a lot about your swing.

Move the front towel and you’re hitting down on the ball, which robs you of distance off the tee. The most common cause is that the upper body is swaying toward the target on the downswing. To improve, focus on staying back through impact to see if that gets you launching the ball higher with less spin.

If you moved the back towel, it likely means you tried to hit up on the ball, which is great, but you didn’t shift your weight onto your front leg. Try pushing hard into the ground with your lead leg as you start the downswing. That push will help produce the ideal attack angle. —With Ron Kaspriske



LPGA Tour pros hit 2 degrees up on the ball with a driver to grab every yard they can. Amateurs with similar swing speeds average 2 degrees down, losing distance. Source: TrackMan

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Chris Mayson, a Golf Digest Best Young Teacher, is an instructor at Maderas Golf Club in Poway, Calif.