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Why Can't I Hit the Golf Ball Far?

by Brian Hill
    Golf can be more fun when you learn and practice the skills necessary to hit the long ball.

    Golf can be more fun when you learn and practice the skills necessary to hit the long ball.

    Stuart Franklin/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

    Playing consistently good golf requires building a swing that delivers both power and accuracy. Not being able to hit the ball very far makes every course longer and puts more pressure on your short game. If you can’t reach par 4’s in two, your wedge shots have to make up for this lack of distance. Fortunately, golfers who are not reaching their power potential can learn ways to generate additional clubhead speed through improved physical fitness and better swing technique.

    Tension at Address

    Golfers who are tense or anxious when they address the ball have trouble generating maximum clubhead speed. Tight muscles cause the swing to be shorter and slower. Your goal is a long, loose swing not a short, tight one. Consciously think about relaxing your shoulders before you begin your swing. Make sure you are not gripping the club too hard. Grip pressure should be firm enough to control the club but not so tight that it builds up tension in your forearms and shoulders. Don’t begin your swing until your feel relaxed and comfortable.

    Weak Legs

    Good golfers have powerful leg drive as the swing approaches the impact point. Leg drive helps generate speed and power. You may notice that you lose distance near the end of the round, and tired legs could be the problem. Build your leg strength through a consistent program of walking, running or cardio training such as working out on a treadmill or stationary bike. It’s a good idea to consult with your doctor before getting started on an exercise program.

    Poor Tempo

    Some of the longest hitters on the PGA and LPGA tours don’t look particularly muscular and their swings look almost effortless. Their secret is good tempo. They know how to maximize clubhead speed at the impact point. Rushing the downswing causes you to dissipate clubhead speed. Make sure you swing back as far as you comfortably can, and pause at the top of your swing.

    Lack of Flexibility

    To generate power you need to make a full shoulder turn. By coiling your muscles going back, you build up energy that will be released on the downswing. A full turn requires muscle flexibility. Golfers increase their flexibility through stretching exercises. Take your driver and grip it on either end of the shaft. Extend the club out in front of you, and rotate your shoulders as you do during the swing. You will feel your shoulder muscles stretch and loosen up. This will help you widen your swing arc--and hit the ball farther.

    Forcing the Swing

    Swinging too hard can actually result in shorter drives rather than longer ones. A violent swing action throws your timing off, making it impossible for the arms, shoulders and legs to work in harmony to deliver maximum power to the ball. Extending the backswing beyond parallel can also disrupt the timing of the downswing. Great players deliberately swing with less than 100 percent force in order to maintain good swing rhythm.

    References

    • "Breaking 100, 90, 80"; Golf Digest; 2004

    About the Author

    Brian Hill is the author of four popular business and finance books: "The Making of a Bestseller," "Inside Secrets to Venture Capital," "Attracting Capital from Angels" and his latest book, published in 2013, "The Pocket Small Business Owner's Guide to Business Plans."

    Photo Credits

    • Stuart Franklin/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images