Need more air off the tee? Here’s how to max your hang time for more distance

Written by: Dave Leadbetter

Those stingers you see the pros hit on television look cool, and they’re valuable shots on a windy day, but the last thing most amateurs need is a low-trajectory tee shot. You need more hang time. Studies have proved that the slower you swing, the more you’ll benefit from a trajectory that keeps the ball in the air longer. And thanks to radar systems like TrackMan, we also know that the optimum way to increase air time is to hit up on the ball with your driver. But this notion of hitting up on it requires clarification.

To catch the ball on the upswing with the driver, many golfers find themselves swinging while keeping their weight on their back foot (right foot for right-handers). Unfortunately, that’s usually going to lead to poor contact with the ball—typically a topped or thin shot. It’s also a weak hit because there’s no weight shift toward the target.

Your first move to start the downswing should always be to get your weight moving into your front foot. But if you’re worried that shifting forward won’t let you swing up on the ball, here’s the adjustment you need to make: As your club approaches the ball, feel like you’re standing up with your hips thrusting forward. This stand-up/hip-thrust move will shallow your club’s path and allow it to sweep the ball off the tee. That’s how you hit up on it.

The benefit is that it lets you use the ground under your feet to create thrust. From there, just swing through until the club finishes behind your body—and watch the ball fly.


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