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Ask one-thousand golfers what they want to be able to do with their game, and I’m willing to bet that over 90% of them say the same thing: Hit the ball farther. Sure, hitting fairways is nice, but there’s something special about being able to outdrive your buddies or use a shorter club on a par-3 or approach shot. Continue reading this article to find out how to hit for more distance.
The Secret to Distance is Not Expensive
This can also be seen in the plethora of instruction, lessons, gadgets, gimmicks, and “secrets” to increase your distance anywhere from 5 to 25 yards, or more. With so much information out there, how much of it is reliable? And even if you can rely on that information, how actionable is that information? Will an average handicapper want to devote hundreds of dollars and hours of time to possibly increase their distance of the tee and with their irons?
There are simple ways to increase your distance that no one talks about. Why? Most of it is so obvious, no one in their right mind would ever think to pay for that kind of advice, and it’s the ability for a golf instructor or marketer to create the visage of secret information which they will provide for a premium rate. The truth behind distance is basic:
To increase your distance, you need to swing the club faster. That’s it.
How one goes about increasing their distance can be wide and varied, but there is one thing any golfer can do, no matter their swing speed, ability, or dedication to the game that will increase your ability to create clubhead speed. The best thing? It shouldn’t cost you a penny.
Never Underestimate the Power of What Stretching Can Do for Your Game
Hang around the first tee long enough, and you’ll notice a pattern: many golfers, particularly those over the age of thirty, having difficulty finishing their swings, or holding their balance throughout their swings. Stick a microphone on the tee box and you’ll hear some interesting analysis either from the players in the group and the player who probably just hit a bad shot.
“I didn’t finish my turn.”
“I came out of that shot.”
“You need to turn out of the way.”
The key to these statements is that they have almost nothing to do with technique, and almost everything to do with physical limitations that can happen to anyone, even someone who could be in fantastic physical shape.
If you take a look at some of the best players in the game today, they are all incredibly agile and flexible. All the weightlifting in the world is meaningless if your muscles are tight, and can’t deliver the club to the ball fluidly, and that fluidity is the key to maximizing your swing speed and distance.
If you’re looking to increase your distance, instead of spending an hour warming up on the range, perhaps you’ll find more benefit in chipping and putting for 30 minutes, then spending the other half an hour taking care of the most important element in your game: your body.
Disclaimer: Before doing any kind of strength or flexibility training, please consult a medical professional.
Take Care of Yourself
For the vast majority of golfers, the most common area to feel tightness is in your lower back, hips, and hamstrings. This makes a lot of sense considering how many people sit at a desk or spend several hours behind the wheel of a car for most of their working lives.
Rather than explain in detail how detrimental sitting can be, watch this TED-Ed video by Murat Dalkilic below. The use of animation helps one better understand why sitting for long periods has a negative impact on our physical health. Poor physical health will have a devastating impact on your golf game.
If you have issues with anything described in that video, you’ll want to take steps to alleviate those symptoms, and the best way to do so is with daily (or even 2x daily) stretching. In the video below Rick Kaselj from ExerciseForInjuries.com gives four stretches for those of you who sit all day, and they will also make a great stretching routine before practice and before a round of golf.
Just by gaining more flexibility in the areas of your hip flexors, hamstrings, and lats, not only will you hit the ball farther, but you’ll find yourself less prone to becoming stiff or getting injured during your round. These stretches are not just for those who sit down all day; unless you dedicate time every day to maintaining and increasing your flexibility, chances are you’re going to have deficiencies in this area.
If you’re looking for more in-depth stretching routines, I strongly recommend a yoga routine known as sun salutations. During my playing career, performing just two of these every other day helped improve my flexibility, even after a serious knee injury and subsequent surgery.
The key to sun salutations, especially if you’ve never done them before, is to start with a very modified approach and work your way into the more traditional movements. For beginners, Natasha Kerry walks you through a basic sun salutation sequence, which takes about ten minutes. Believe me when I say that ten minutes a day, even three or four times a week, will have a dramatic impact on your golf game. You’ll feel looser, stronger, and you can’t help but increase your swing speed.
The Final Stretch
There’s no secret to increasing your clubhead speed. While being strong has its merit, nothing will help create a powerful swing more than having your muscles, joints, and ligaments, in their best condition, which will allow you to swing the club to your maximum capacity with little to no hindrances. Try these stretches and exercises and unleash your best drives and iron shots soon!