Why Can’t I Hit the Golf Ball Far?

If you’re not hitting the golf ball very far and wondering what is causing your lack of distance, then you’re in the right place.

There are a few fundamentals that impact your golf swing speed the most that I was able to learn about and use to increase my distances with my golf clubs.

I’ve been able to hit the golf ball 10 yards further with my irons and hit drives 20 yards further, which has helped make the game easier as holes become shorter.

The reason you’re not hitting the golf ball far is likely due to:

  1. Your swing speed (mph)
  2. Your ball speed
  3. Your ball spin rate
  4. Your accuracy & straightness of shots

By improving your ball striking in general, you can solve most of those checklist items to start hitting the golf ball farther.

But having a smooth swing that makes good contact in the center of the face every swing isn’t the only important factor for gaining distance. A lot of the distance equation will be solved by improving your swing speed.

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Why You’re Not Hitting the Golf Ball Far

You Need to Improve Your Golf Swing Speed

The number one factor that separates most golfers ability to hit the golf ball far is swing speed. If you’re not hitting the golf ball very far it’s likely that you have too slow of a swing speed.

PGA Tour pro’s can swing a driver 120+ mph with guys like Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson reaching 125-130 mph.

Compare this to the average golfer who has a swing speed of 80 to 90 mph. Adding an extra 10 mph can make a huge difference and if you can add an extra 30 mph, then you’ll be swinging as fast as the pro’s.

A rule of thumb, is that swinging 100 mph with your driver should hit the golf ball 250 yards. Increase your swing speed to 110 mph and you could carry the ball 280 yards. For 300 yard drives, you’re likely going to need a swing speed above 120 mph as well as high ball speed and lower spin rates.

How to Track Swing Speed

To get numbers and data about your golf swing, such as swing speed, you need to invest in a golf launch monitor device or visit an indoor golf facility that offers a Trackman or another golf simulator device with radar technology.

These swing tracking devices will record your swing and calculate several stats with swing speed being one of them.

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You Need to Improve Your Ball Speed

Another reason you could be struggling to hit the golf ball far is not having a very high golf ball speed. Not only is club head speed important but ball speed is also equally important.

You could have your club swinging super fast, producing 115-120 mph swing speed but if you don’t hit the ball in the center of the clubface then all of that energy will be lost during the transfer. This results in poor ball speed when your ball striking and contact are poor.

How to Track Ball Speed

Ball speed is often judged by “smash factor” which is a metric you get access to when you swing on a simulator like the Trackman.

It tracks how well you hit the ball on the club face and is judged using your clubhead speed and ball speed.

A perfect smash factor score is 1.5 which basically means your ball speed is 1.5X your clubhead speed.

So if you currently swing at 90 mph with your driver, then your ball speed would max out around 135 mph if you were able to reach a 1.5 smash factor.

How does this compare to the pro’s ball speed?

Let’s take Tiger Wood’s swing of 120 mph and apply the 1.5 smash factor to get a ball speed of 180 mph! Wow. Long drive professionals can achieve ball speeds in the 200 mph and higher range.

I think you can see why a golf ball can fly further traveling 180 mph compared to 135 mph. But one other factor that impacts the ball is the wind and the balls spin rate.

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Improve Your Golf Ball Spin Rates to Hit Farther

One reason you might not be hitting the ball very far is that you have too high of a spin rate with your driver and irons.

An easy way to spot this is watching how high your shots go in the air. Golf shots that get hit with high back spin rates tend to climb higher into the air.

Loft Impacts the Ball’s Spin Rate

Every golf club in your bag has a different loft angle on the club face. As the club makes contact with the ball, it imparts spin on the golf ball. Since the loft angles differ, so do the spin rates.

You’ll find that wedges and shorter clubs like your 9 iron or Pitching wedge will have higher spin rates compared to your long irons, woods, and driver.

High vs Low Spin Rates

A high spin rate usually results in less roll upon landing.

This is why we use our wedges to chip around greens instead of 4 irons. The wedge will put more spin on the ball, giving us more control and helping the ball stop quicker on the green.

But with tee shots, the goal is to hit the golf ball as far as you can down the fairway.

Driver’s should ideally have lower spin rates to allow the ball to roll more, adding to your total distance you hit your tee shot.

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You Need to Improve Your Accuracy

The final reason you’re likely losing distance and not maximizing how far your can hit the golf ball is that your ball striking needs improvement. You’re likely hitting golf shots that aren’t flying straight and instead of a slice or hook that is costing you distance.

The straighter your golf ball flies, the further it can go.

If you tend to hit a hard banana slice into the rough, you’re probably losing distance from the golf ball curving off line and from the rough stopping the golf ball from rolling for additional distance like it would achieve in the fairway.

Same can be said for those who hit a duck hook that curves hard into the rough.

Once you’re able to straighten out your swing, you should notice an increase in club distances as a result.

Monitor your club distances over time by downloading our printable worksheets here.

How to Improve Your Accuracy

Start by filming your golf swing during a range session. Grab a pen and paper and track every golf shot you hit on the range, indicating if it was straight, slice, hook, etc.

Then you can review footage of your golf swing and match it up with the result of the swing you recorded on paper to determine what you’re doing wrong in the golf swing that is causing that shot result.

For example, if you note that most of your swings produced a slice, analyze the footage and see if you’re upper body is coming over the top and swinging back inside to the left, creating an outside to inside swing path to the ball.

If you’re hooking, you may be flipping the hands shut too much last minute as a result of getting the arms stuck behind the body. Poor sequence of the upper body and lower body timing as each unwinds on the downswing towards the target.

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You Need New & Improved Golf Equipment

I’ve learned from first hand experience that one of the reasons for not hitting a golf ball very far is due to the performance of the equipment itself.

In my case, I had been playing a 12 year old driver for the longest time and couldn’t seem to achieve more than 240-260 yards drives on average despite being a scratch golfer with low 70’s golf scores. I knew once I increased my driver distance the game would change and I would be able to score even lower golf scores.

So I finally caved and bought a new driver. But I didn’t just buy a random driver. I actually went in and got a professional fitting testing different driver heads and shafts and found a setup that optimized my swing to hit amazing numbers on the simulator.

The results? My driving distance increased to an average of 270-285 yards, gaining me 30 yards of distance just by changing out golf equipment.

Therefore, I do recommend as a final step to consider checking out new golf equipment that can aid you in gaining distance on the golf course.

But this should be the final step. You want to improve your golf swing first and work on the other distance factors discussed earlier first so that you can feel like your optimized and improved before you get fitted for new clubs.

Tips on Hitting the Golf Ball Farther

The overall takeaway today on how to add distance to your tee shots and start hitting the golf ball farther is you need to analyze a combination of factors of swing speed, ball speed, contact, shot accuracy (swing faults), spin rates, and equipment.

1. Improve Your Golf Swing Fundamentals

By improving your swing sequence and fundamentals, your swing speed should increase by default. They make training aids to increase swing speed like the Speed Training System with weight sticks you swing to get a feel for heavier clubs.

You’ll also start hitting the ball with better contact as your swing improves and this will generate better ball speeds, resulting in more carry and roll yardages.

2. Improve Your Golf Fitness

You can also add swing speed by improving your physical fitness, gaining flexibility in your muscles, adding strength from workouts, and improving your coordination / athleticism to make a golf swing more natural and fluid.

3. Switch Golf Balls

Find a golf ball that suits your golf game by assessing current metrics: Swing Speed, Ball Speed, and Golf Ball Spin Rates.

You could see improvement in your spin rates by changing out golf balls to another brand that is either lower spin or higher spin and softer/harder cover based on what your swing needs.

4. New Golf Clubs / Equipment

Get fitted for golf clubs that help you play better. Having the right equipment can add distance, especially if it’s newer technology that helps keep the ball straighter and helps produce higher ball speeds.

5. Take Swing Lessons

Find a local golf instructor who offers swing lesson packages and purchase a 4-pack or 12-pack of lessons. Working with a swing coach will surely tune up your golf swing fundamentals and unlock extra club distance.

Golf Practice System for Lower Scores

Learn the exact golf practice routines thousands of students at Foy Golf Academy are using to lower their golf scores.

Follow these step by step practice plans and watch video lessons to learn how to improve your golf swing, chipping, and putting fundamentals.

Get access to hundreds of golf drills to practice as well as content on the mental side of golf, fitness plans, worksheets, and many more resources. This is a complete golf practice system.

Start Following These Practices —> Nick Foy Golf Practice System

Work hard,

Nick Foy, Instructor

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