Photo by Mustufa Abidi
By Euan Bowden
No amateur ever asked for less distance off the tee but few know how to go about maximising their potential with a driver in hand. Many weekend warriors get it wrong from the get-go, addressing the ball with a poor set up. The secret to get the ball travelling as high and as far as possible starts from the ground up, firstly by building a solid foundation to give you balance as well as stability.
Start by setting your feet at least shoulder-width apart. If your stance is too narrow, you will struggle to maintain balance throughout the swing; too wide and you will compromise your mobility and the potential distance you can achieve.
Once you have the base sorted, take a look at where your feet are pointing when you take your stance. If they are pointing straight ahead or even turned inwards slightly, you may not be able to achieve your full range of motion. Try splaying your feet out at address so they point at 10 to 12 on the clock face. In this position, you’ll gain a greater range of motion in your trail hip and in turn be able to turn deeper in the backswing, coil better and load all that pent up the power behind the ball. By allowing your hips to move more freely, your shoulders will also have a greater range of motion.
The angle of your spine tilt and shoulder position is also critical to maximise driver distance. Amateurs tend to have their spine too far over the ball and shoulders pointing downwards, often leading to an out to in swing path and a low slice.
A simple drill to rectify this is to put the driver across your chest as a handy reference. Tilt your sternum behind the ball so that your lead shoulder is slightly higher than your trail shoulder. Picture a thrower prior to releasing a javelin – the trail shoulder is down, the lead shoulder is up and their non-throwing arm points to where they want to launch the sphere. Setting your shoulders in this way and keeping your spine tilted behind the ball, in tandem with that solid, feet splayed foundation, will allow you to launch your tee shots higher and further than ever before. – With Kent Gray.
Euan Bowden is PGA teaching professional at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club’s Peter Cowen Academy Dubai. For more information, visit dubaigolf.com