THE old idea of hitting a low draw to get the ball running down the fairway is, well, an old idea. Launch monitors have proven that carry distance is the key to overall distance.
Here are some tips for maximising carry.
First, check your driver specs. A little more loft – for most players, at least 10.5 degrees – will help you launch the ball higher. A lighter, more flexible shaft means you’ll get more out of the speed potential you have.
Next comes the setup. Move your trail foot back a few inches to widen your stance. That’ll tilt your spine away from the target and put your head behind the ball. From there, you can swing into impact on a shallow, sweeping angle and produce that nice, high launch.
You can make a few tweaks to your swing, too, but don’t try these all at once. Going back, take your time setting the club at the top. You don’t want to go slow, but be deliberate. Get as much body turn behind the ball as your flexibility allows.
Coming down, let’s focus on two things: the trail shoulder and the trail foot. Keep your shoulder back and in for as long as you can. Nothing saps power faster than the upper body taking over the downswing, which causes a steep chop. Let your hands and arms drop as the lower body starts forward. But don’t overdo the lower body: keep your trail foot down longer, and the club will stay to the inside and come in shallow.
Finally, maintain your arm speed all the way through like Dustin Johnson is doing here. Don’t just hit at the ball. Carry distance requires a level strike and as much speed as you can muster and still hit the ball flush.
Butch Harmon is based at Rio Secco Golf Club in Nevada and he spoke with Peter Morrice.