Golf has become increasingly popular in the last year or two, as more people discovered the joy of fresh air, a bracing walk and light competition. But with a raft of new players comes a raft of people looking to improve their game; if your drive isn’t quite cutting the mustard, and you’re not sure what to pay attention to, this guide will provide you with some essential tips to find those extra yards.

Check Your Equipment

“A poor workman blames his tools”, or so the saying goes. Choosing the right driver ought to have only marginal gains in terms of distance, however there is some truth to the fact that developments in driver technology can add distance to your drive. That distance may only be a yard or two if there’s a year’s difference in driver manufacture dates, but if you ditch a decades-old club and buy a new driver, you could add as much as 20 yards to your swing without even changing your technique.

Relax Your Muscles

A common analogy used when discussing the proper way to hit drives is that of gripping a tube of toothpaste. As you are currently swinging, it is likely that you would be emptying that tube of toothpaste by the end of your swing. For a proper drive, you should be able to swing and expel no toothpaste from the tube; that is, you should keep your grip firm but relaxed, and light as possible. Tensing up places limits on your motion, and needlessly expends energy that could be going directly into your swing.

Address Your Swing Speed

If can be tempting to put as much speed as possible behind your drive, in order push the ball that little bit further; but speeding up your swing can sacrifice control, and result in less consistent drives – so you may get one impressive drive out of five poor swings. Instead, focus on your swing, and slow it down slightly to bring it more under your control. This way, you can more accurately hit the ball with the centre of your club face, and drive it further as a result.

Tee the Ball Higher

The height of your golf ball on the tee-line can have a drastic affect on the kind of swing you produce – the lower the tee, the steeper your angle of attack. Teeing the ball higher enables you to get in just under the ball, giving it the loft it may need to clear a tree-line or pace that last 20 yards. It also allows you to hit the ball shallower, preventing you from killing any momentum with spin.

Strengthen Your Grip

This may seem like a contradictory tip, in comparison to the tip about relaxing your muscles earlier. However, here the terms ‘strengthen’ and ‘grip’ mean something a little different. Pay close attention to the way in which you are gripping your driver. Being cavalier with the way you hold your driver, in comparison to other clubs, can scupper your drive completely – so get the basics right. Do you overlap your fingers or not? Which is more comfortable? Ensure the thumb on your non-dominant hand is pointing down the club – and, for drives specifically – think about edging your hands back up the club, using a little of the half-inch overhang you usually leave at the top of the club. This can give you a little more loft, and help you adjust your stance to compensate for the additional length of the driver.