The driver is a really important part of any golfer’s set up because not only does it introduce a lot more speed into your swing but also gives you much more distance per stroke as well.
But you need to be careful with this one- if you don’t have enough control over its trajectory then things can get ugly really quickly and find themselves heading straight for an out-of-bounds area where they won’t count
Because the driver has less loft, compared to irons, it creates more side spin on less than perfect hits, which can be destructive to your score, especially if you are chipping out sideways on your next shot.
The driver is definitely the hardest club to hit and often takes the most practice to master.
The driver has lower amounts of loft, compared to irons, and it creates the most ball speed. These two aspects combined make the club the hardest to hit accurately. Shots that are hit with the driver have a higher chance of straying off course than other clubs.
For many higher handicap players, hitting driver off the first tee is often the hardest and most nerve-wracking aspect of the game.
But pulling off a great shot with the driver is a feeling of success that every golfer covets!
Learning to get distance with a driver is normally the easier part, but combining accuracy with the distance is usually the big challenge.
The Secrets To Hitting Your Drives Better
Being able to hit the Driver, the longest and most difficult golf club in the bag, requires a quality swing action.
This is a combination of a Good Grip, Posture, Stance, Alignment, Speed of swing and good timing. It requires practice and a hint of patience is required as well.
The fundamentals of the golf swing have been proven over the ages and when you hit a golf ball, one thing always remains constant:
The Five Laws, which represent how the club-head is delivered to the golf ball at impact.
These laws are what cause the ball flight and spin.
- Law 1 – Club head path though impact
- Law 2 – Angle of attack
- Law 3 – Club face angle – open, square or closed
- Law 4 – Strike on club face heel, center or toe
- Law 5 – Club head speed
If we therefore work on improving these Laws by changing how the club is travelling around your body it will improve the ball flight.
For more in depth analysis on this, read my article called How To Hit A Driver, which covers the Five Key Stages To Great Driving.
The aura and sense of achievement that surrounds good drives somewhat overshadows other elements of the game.
The fact is driving off the tee only accounts to about 25% of your game and if the ball isn’t in play its tough to improve your scores.
Why Playing With A Driver Is Different To Other Clubs
The Driver Is A Lot Longer
The driver is the longest golf club in the set and is usually 45 inches long or more in some designs. 5 Irons are only 38 inches, which explains the big difference in length.
The difference in length changes the attack angle and the impact position when attempting a shot.
The swing is longer because of the length, and with the low loft and higher speed, it can mean much bigger misses.
The driver is the most challenging club to hit with consistently and takes the most amount of practice and effort.
The shorter clubs have a shorter swing, which means fewer movements in the swing and better consistency of shots.
Check out my article which finds out if shortening your golf clubs help you with better swing mechanics and distance control, or will it just make things harder for you. It’s called The effects of shortening Golf Clubs
- The Driver Is Hit Off A Tee
Taking a shot with a driver means taking a shot off a tee. The reason taking shots off a tee is different and can be more challenging is because it changes the impact position.
Hitting a driver is different from other clubs in that instead of hitting the ball to create a divot like with other clubs when using a driver, a player wants to hit the ball on the upswing to get maximum power and height in the direction.
Using a tee helps lift the ball slightly so that the driver connects the ball in an upward sweeping motion. This changes the angle of attack.
- The Swing Is Different
This is a simple difference that plays a big role in adapting between different clubs for a different shot.
Due to the extra length of the driver, the swing will be longer, and the set up will be different when taking a shot.
How The Set-Up Changes For A Driver
Tee The Ball High
Setting the tee up is important when using the driver. The tee must be set up high in order to hit upon the ball.
Golfers are often afraid to tee it high in case they sky ball it; however, it is the opposite that is true.
If the tee is too low, there is a greater chance of hitting down on the ball, which results in sky marks.
Widen The Stance
The swing for the driver is much longer because of its length, which means balance becomes more difficult and more important.
Widening the stance helps to maintain balance for a bigger and longer swing that is going to generate more power.
Stance helps with stability, and adjusting the stance for the driver’s shot is necessary to hit the ball cleanly.
Both feet should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and not too far apart.
It is recommended to position both feet slightly open, which will help with a smooth turn of the hips when striking the ball and will activate your lower body more.
A wider stance will help with the weight shift and the accuracy because of better stability when striking the ball.
Change The Position Of The Ball
Positioning the ball becomes even more important when widening the player’s stance and using a driver.
If the ball is positioned in the middle of the stance, there is a greater chance of hitting down on the ball, causing it to pop up with little power and distance.
Positioning the ball in front of the front foot in the stance helps ensure that the club hits up on the ball and gains much more distance because of the focused power of the shot.
Hands Should Be Set Back At Address
When hitting with other clubs like wedges and irons, positioning the hands for a slightly forward press at the address is good. It is different when hitting a driver.
The hands should be slightly back at the address, which helps keep loft through the swing and does not create backspin, which will slow the ball down.
When going for distance and using a driver, setting the hands slightly back at address will help a lot.
Adjust Attack Angle By Tilting The Shoulders
It is important to adjust the shoulders because the ball is teed higher than when playing off the ground.
The front shoulder should be higher than the back shoulder.
This is another way to help ensure that the player hits up on the ball for maximum flight and distance.
Make Grip Pressure Lighter
When playing with a driver, the tension in the forearms can cause a player to lose the tempo and natural flow of the swing.
Tension on the forearms is mostly caused by too tight of a grip when a player is trying to hit the golf ball too hard.
Lighten the grip at address and focus on a smooth and consistent swing.
Common Reasons The Driver Is So Hard To Hit
- Trying to swing too much on the upswing.
- Trying to hit the ball too hard.
- The ball position is wrong.
- The tee height is wrong.
A lot of golfers try to hit the ball too hard or too fast on the upswing, which can stop the club from hitting the ball on the sweet spot.
When learning to hit with a driver, it is better to focus more on hitting the ball at the centre of the clubface than to hit the ball too hard.
Power will come after finding the right ball position and the right tempo of the swing to make a clean impact.
Gaining more distance from a shot with the driver comes from hitting the ball on the sweet spot before it comes from hitting the ball harder.
Professional golf players spend more time practising hitting the ball on the sweet spot than they do try to hit the ball harder.
The temptation when hitting a driver is to strive for speed and power. This results in players trying to whip through their swing and not connecting the ball cleanly.
It also causes players to pull or slice their shots because they are trying too hard.
Timing and control are big aspects of a successful shot with the driver. A player needs to learn the right timing of their shot even if it looks slow.
Distance comes from clean impact and follows through rather than speed.
It is a lot more difficult to find control in the shot when striving for speed and power. Establishing control and a consistent tempo will produce consistent shots.
Once the timing and control of the shots are established, the player can slowly add more power to the shot without changing the technique and set up of the shot.
The driver has its reputation as the hardest club to hit because it is the longest and most powerful club when used correctly.
Hitting a shot with a driver that travels a good distance with great accuracy requires a good amount of skill and practice.
There are many aspects like the loft, set up, ball position, the tempo of the swing, point of impact, and grip strength that all play a part in developing a good shot with a driver.
The best way to overcome the challenge is to focus on the basics, do not try to hit the ball too hard, and find the tempo within your swing that works for you.
A good amount of practice and the right adjustments to approaching a big shot with the driver will help any player make the driver one of their favorite clubs!
Find It Hard To Learn A Golf Swing From Reading Text
It’s not an easy task to teach someone the golf swing in text format, as the coaching relies on our ability to use the right words, in the right way, at the right time.
It then relies on you reading, understanding and then implementing the words in the same way.
I’m sure you agree this is tricky and probably not the most effective way.
So we have made several video coaching programs that can ‘show’ you exactly what you need to do.
A great example of this is our free golf coaching course Drive For Show, which shows the Five Key Stages in Video Format) and while it shows you how to hit your driver better,
the core focus on the coaching is to help you build a classic and repeatable golf swing, which is suitable for both right-handed golfers and left-handed golfers.