There Are Many Theories On How To Hit Longer Drives In Golf... But These Two Fundamentals Are The Secret To Power Off The Tee

We all want to unlock the secret to longer drives. Ben Emerson shares two key fundamentals that Jack Nicklaus used to generate more power

Hit the ball further with Ben Emerson
Ben Emerson shares the secret to longer drives
(Image credit: Getty Images/Future)

For any player wanting to improve their golf game, adding distance to the driver is always high on the priority list. With distance being such an important aspect of the modern game, especially after the contentious golf ball rollback decision, we've drafted in Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach Ben Emerson to share a couple of key fundamentals which will help increase your length off the tee...

How Do You Hit The Ball Further?

Dustin Johnson Swing

Dustin Johnson's backswing

(Image credit: Getty Images)

There are a couple of general ideas that you could focus on to improve your distance. Firstly, dedicating some time in the gym to build your strength will certainly allow you to add more force to your club. This can be achieved over a short period of time.

The other idea is to swing the club a lot further. If you think about some of the longer drive hitters in the world, like Dustin Johnson, they actually take the club back as far as they can in the backswing. The benefit of this is you then have the ability to apply a lot of force over a longer period of time, allowing you to build up that speed and ultimately your power.

So, why can't I get any distance with my driver?

Tiger Woods Backswing

The strong position created by Tiger Woods through his turn

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The limitations golfers often face when attempting to increase distance are centred around their turn in the backswing. Players like Tiger Woods have a very strong body, allowing them to hold their turn and get a really good stretch to generate more power.

If you can't quite achieve that, there are some key fundamentals that you could try to increase your distance...

Ben Emerson Driver Swing

Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach Ben Emerson demonstrating how to generate power off the tee 

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

If a player is struggling with their turn, the first tip I ask them to try is lifting their left heel in the backswing. This is a great way to get the club to travel further, but you must remember to put it back on the ground during the downswing. 

The second tip I ask them to try is lifting their arms. I see so many people trying to get around their body in their backswing, but that means that the radius isn't very far. By picking the club up, and getting it nice and high, you almost create the famous 'flying elbow', as demonstrated in the video.

Jack Nicklaus famously did both, with a raised left heel and the 'flying elbow', allowing the 18-time major winner to generate more speed.

Ben Emerson
Top 50 Coach

Location: Sand Martins GC 

Ben’s modern approach to golf coaching has seen him become one of the most sought-after coaches in the country and teaches none other than Robbie Williams. His honest, modern and fun style of coaching has help thousands of golfers of all ages and abilities and he has been coaching for over 20 years.

Advice for practice:

Start with slow, small swings. If you can’t do it small and slowly there is not a hope in hell of doing it at full speed with a full swing! In other sports such as rugby or martial arts they slow learn new moves/plays before making them at full speed. 

Teaching philosophy: 

‘Why guess when you can access’ Ever new student goes through a full TPI movement screen, 3D motion capture and pressure plate analysis as well as TrackMan and 2D video analysis. Coaching is based on facts and not guess work. 

Most common problem:

A lack of clubface understanding and awareness. I get golfers to aim the clubface directly at the target and get them to make a slow swings and deliver the club to the ball with an open face, then repeat the same thing again but with a closed face, followed by one at the target. Giving them full awareness based on feelings errors to find a happy middle ground.


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