The longest drive contest is one of the most popular events in golf. It is usually played as an addition to an overall tournament and adds something extra to the event. However, there is a lot of prestige when it comes to hitting the longest drive and this is a competition every golfer wants to win.
In most cases, the tournament organizer will select a hole, usually a long and straight par-5 for the longest drive contest. The first player to tee off on this hole will write their name on a marker and place it on the ground where their drive finished.
When someone beats this drive, they move the marker to the new position and write their name on it. This continues until every player has hit a drive on the hole in question and the golfer who has hit the ball furthest wins the longest drive contest.
It is very straight forward to play and a lot of fun but with a very competitive element. Everyone wants to win but how can you give yourself the best chance of success? Read on for 25 tips to increase your chances of winning the longest drive contest.
- Strike the Ball on the Upswing – If you can strike the ball on the upswing, you can add up to 30 yards on your drive. To do this, your lead hip must be higher than your trailing hip through the swing. You can help to achieve this by crossing your arms and holding your driver level across your shoulders. Now try moving your front hip so it is above your back hip. You should find your front shoulder is also moving upwards and this is a great drill to get into the correct position.
- Shoulder Tilt – Following on from the point above, having a higher front shoulder can help to hit the ball long. However, the difference should be minimal, much like the difference between your hands on the grip of the driver. This will help with alignment and bring more power to the drive.
- Do Not Keep Your Head Down – You may have been told to keep your down when playing golf shots but that’s not the case here. When driving the ball, you do not want your head to be set in a fixed position. This can restrict the power you are able to generate in the driver and can also cause injury. Allow the head to follow through naturally and watch your ball fly into the distance.
- Backswing is Key – You will generate much of the power in your drive from the backswing. However, do not worry about swinging the club back fast. Instead, concentrate on swinging the club head back straighter and your weight will naturally shift to your back foot while remaining in control.
- Unload on the Downswing – The downswing is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the drive. For maximum distance, allow your front side to lead by turning into your back leg. As you begin coming down toward the ball, the club face should remain on target to make a good impact as you open your left side in the direction of the target.
- The Tee Position – When your driver is at rest on the ground, the top of the clubhead should be no higher than the middle of the golf ball. Address the ball so it is inline with the heel of the front foot and rotate the front hand clockwise so it is in a stronger position on the grip. The crease between your thumb and forefinger should be pointing at your right shoulder. Now widen your stance until you feel a tilt away from your intended target.
- Widen the Stance – In most cases, you want to keep your feet shoulder width apart but you are looking for something extra from this drive. Try pushing your back foot out a few inches and this will see more weight on that side of your body before you begin the backswing. Preloading the weight shift in this way can add crucial extra yards to your drive.
- Take it Easy – It is tempting to swing the club as hard as you can when trying to hit the ball long. However, all this does is change your technique and results in a shorter drive. Concentrate on making a good connection with the ball rather than trying to hit the cover off it.
- Use Full Power – Losing posture on the downswing can lead to a loss of power. To prevent this from happening, push down on the front foot a little during the downswing and this will help the energy transfer through the body and into the ball. Clubhead speed will increase when this is done successfully.
- Moving Forward on the Shot – A slight move toward the target with the front foot just before completing the back swing can make a difference when driving the ball. This is only a slight movement with the hips toward the target, not a big step. However, it can be enough to increase swing speed and distance on the drive.
- Longer Backswing – It is tempting to swing down into the ball as soon as possible when trying to drive the ball a long way. However, to hit the ball further you should be lengthening the backswing as this promotes a shallow angle of attack. Try dragging the driver a few feet back before lifting it during the backswing.
- Straight Front Arm – To help with the above tip, lay a club down on the ground directly behind the ball in a straight line. Position your front arm straight behind you using the club on the ground to keep it on the same line. Doing this will help you to lengthen the backswing, keep your club face square at impact and prevent you from topping the ball.
- Spreading the Weight – Widening your stance will spread your weight over the ball and this also helps to promote a shallow swing arc, increasing clubhead speed and maintaining a square club face.
- Dropping the Shoulder – As highlighted above, dropping the back shoulder slightly before commencing the backswing can help promote contacting the ball on the upswing. It is a subtle change but one which can add a few more yards to your drive.
- Increase Loft – When attempting to hit the longest drive you want to get plenty of loft on the ball so it travels as far as possible. Obviously there comes a point when you can hit it too high but teeing the ball up nice and high allows you to get the loft required to hit the ball a long way.
- Position the Ball on the Front Heel – A low trajectory on the swing is crucial to a long drive and positioning the ball on the front heel during setup can help. Not only will this help you come down on the golf ball it helps to keep the clubface square during impact.
- Avoid Using the Wrists – To generate power during the downswing you must come from the inside. This means you are using body rotation to generate the power in the shot and not your wrists. The lower body is generating much of the power. If you find you are producing a lot of side spin on the ball, it could be because you are coming from the outside and the wrists are doing much of the work.
- Follow Through – Always complete the follow through when driving the ball. All of the momentum you have gained from the tips above should be transferred through the golf ball and that means a full follow through on the shot.
- Head Over the Ball – There is contradicting views when it comes to the position of the head when driving the golf ball. Some people believe following the path of the ball with the head will lead to lifting the head early and hitting the top of the ball. If you find this is happening to you, try counting for a few seconds after striking the ball before looking up.
- Where Do You Miss? – When you slightly mishit a shot, it will usually end up with the same result. It could be a slice for example. Knowing this can help compensate for when you don’t quite catch the drive correctly. If you slice the ball as a right-handed player, you can aim a little more to the left.
- Alignment – If your alignment is off, you have no chance of hitting the longest drive of the day. Before you are about to play your drive, check your alignment. Do not be afraid to do this more than once to make sure you are in the best position to hit your longest drive.
- Pick a Target – When driving the golf ball, chances are you are not aiming for the flag so what are you aiming for? Trying to get the ball on the fairway is not enough, you should be picking a target in the distance to give your drive more focus. It could be a tree or a building for example. Doing this will help keep your swing on target.
- Step Away from the Ball – Taking a couple of very small steps back from the ball before you tee off can help hit it further down the fairway. Having taken two small steps back, you should have a shallower downswing and your hips should rotate faster as you are reaching a little more for the ball.
- Strong Grip – Having a strong grip helps to close the clubface of the driver faster on the downswing. This is important because the driver is a light club and this means the clubface tends to open more than any other club. To ensure you have a strong grip, rotate your top hand toward the centre of the grip.
- Golf Ball – It is surprising how many players do not have a golf ball to match their swing speed. Every golf ball is different. Depending on your swing speed and the amount of spin you tend to impart on the ball, you can purchase a golf ball to get the best out of your drive. When participating in a long drive contest, you do not want to be placing yourself at an immediate disadvantage by using the wrong ball.