Whether you’re a golfing novice or a veteran of the greens, you can always stand to get more distance. “If you’ve never picked up a golf club before it’s likely that you’ll come over the top and slice it, and that’s going to kill your distance,” says Dornan, the winner of retailer American Golf’s 2016 UK Long Drive Championship, who advises focusing on the key moments. “The backswing is irrelevant. How you get to the top of your swing is irrelevant. All the ball knows is what happens on impact and in the follow-through – where the club goes immediately four inches after impact.”
So where should you aim? “I like to see players hitting it from the inside [the part of the ball closest to you] – you see big hitters like Rory McIlroy come from underneath and hit from inside to out. Think of a David Beckham free kick and how he gets that topspin from striking the ball inside to out.”
1. Bend Your Knees
On the downswing you want to be sitting into a shallow squat. That’s when you’re using the power of your legs – it’s quite an athletic motion. You can develop that in the gym and improve your leg strength to gain more force out of the ground and create club head speed.
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2. Control Your Torso
When you’re over the ball your torso should always be at the same angle – you rotate your shoulders and torso, but your torso shouldn’t come up or down at all. On the backswing your legs straighten out a little, then on the downswing you drop down. Just before impact, you explode up.
3. Hit Out To The Right
You want to be hitting out to the right as the club head rises. If you’re standing at the back of the tee you want to see the club going away from the player on the follow-through, not cutting across. You’ll put slight draw-spin on the ball so when it lands it’ll continue to run. If you do the opposite, you’ll get backspin and air resistance.
4. Be Behind The Ball
Make sure that, on impact, your nose is behind the ball relative to the fairway. If your nose is in front of the ball then it is very hard to hit up and off because you’re striking down. I used to tilt my head slightly to the right and that allowed my shoulders to rotate underneath me a little bit.
5. Snap Your Wrists
The wrists are a huge power source if you can get some snap. On impact, try to push the wrists forwards to hold the club face open – that way you keep the club face in contact with the ball for as long as possible. The longer that contact lasts, the more compression you get and the further the ball will go – it’s known as “smash factor”.
6. Speed Up On Impact
To maintain both club speed and control, aim to accelerate as late in the swing as possible. As you get better, you can bring that force in a little earlier. If you’re consistent with the pace of your swing, start trying to really snap it through on the final third of the downswing. Then go from halfway down. Build up slowly.