Daniel Berger's Three Tips for Longer Drives

2015 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Daniel Berger serves up some tips for longer drives
By Daniel Berger Photos by Dom Furore
August 07, 2016

First things first. We photographed this article on a tennis court in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., near my home, because I've always loved the sport and it has helped me develop more power on the golf course. Honestly, I wish I were a professional tennis player, but I'll happily settle for some court time when I'm not out on the PGA Tour. Tennis helps me with things like footwork, balance, timing, shot shape and clubhead control. If you want to smash your drives, try some of the things I've learned playing tennis all my life. — With Ron Kaspriske

Tennis and golf are similar in how tightly you should hold the handle of the racquet or club. This might seem counterintuitive, but the lighter you can hold the grip, the more likely you are to smash a serve or bomb a drive.

Try holding your driver like I do: firmly with the pinkie and ring fingers of my left hand but loosely with the other fingers of my left and my entire right hand. This will allow you to create clubhead speed and control through the impact zone.

A big mistake in tennis is trying to hit a ground stroke hard when you've got the racquet up around your chest. You'll either nuke it over the baseline or slam it into the net. You need to swing your racquet low and fairly level to the ground.

Likewise in golf, your driver clubhead should move through the hitting area on a shallow, level path. Swing down too steeply, and you'll launch it at a low angle and put distance-robbing backspin on the ball. You can see here I swing into impact with a good amount of right-side bend in my body. That shows I've shallowed the path of my driver from the top to impact. Copy this move by shifting your lead hip toward the target as you complete the backswing.

Another feeling to have is that your arms are relaxed and simply "fall" at the start of the downswing. That will help you get the clubhead moving level to the ground just before and after impact. You'll launch the ball high and optimize your carry.

In tennis, shifting your weight toward the net and then swinging the racquet generates maximum speed. The power move in golf is the same. I shift my weight left to start down and then use my left leg as a brace to swing the club fast through the ball.

Finally, the racquet doesn't stop when it hits the ball, and neither should your club. If you're braced, you can fire through the ball and let momentum carry you to a full finish. Consider that drive smashed!

Daniel Berger, 23, was the 2015 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year and won the FedEx St. Jude Classic in June.