The set-up for hitting long and controlled drives time after time needs to be followed meticulously.
Great golf swings are born by how well these set-up principals are adopted.
It’s like building a house on bad foundations, eventually the house will crumble under stress.
The same can be applied to the golf swing.
Especially the driver as this is the club that is going to travel much faster through impact than any other in your bag.
The solid repeatable set-up which I am going to show you will put you in a great starting position to not only marmalise those drives but wow your playing partners too.
Lets get started
The Balance and Power Set-up
Our aim is to position the whole body so the weight is central to allow for a dynamic rotational motion whilst staying in complete balance throughout the swing.
I would like you to feel the body weight is positioned exactly halfway between the balls of your feet and your heels, with a 50-50 split of weight on the right and left foot.
Try rocking your weight forwards and backwards from the balls of your feet to the heels and also from side to side to generate a greater awareness of your weight distribution.
A starting point for the width of your stance can come from using this general rule of thumb where the distance between your heels is the length of your foot.
To compliment this weight distribution, the rest of the body must follow suit and be in a strong and balanced position.
I would like to introduce the ‘V’ symmetry system to create great body angles and help give balance throughout your swing and the potential to create more power.
This simple reminder can be adopted not only to your driver but all other full shots.
The ‘V’ symmetry system is simply achieved by ensuring your thigh bone and your lower spine are symmetrically positioned in relation to each other forming the appearance of a ‘V’ shape.
You will need to use a mirror to make sure you get into the correct position.
It is also important to achieve a neutral hip tilt to accompany this symmetry.
A neutral hip tilt will make it much easier to create a rotary motion in the back swing, helping your body weight to turn to the center of your right foot in the back swing and keep balanced.
A hollowed look to the lower back at address indicates too much anterior hip tilt. This is where your belt buckle looks aggressively down to the ground.
The opposite of this is an arched lower back at address indicating too much posterior hip tilt. This is where your belt buckle looks too much towards the horizon.
The midway point between these two extremes is a neutral hip tilt position.
Your head is also an extremely heavy part of the human anatomy and its position will often dictate what subsequently happens during the swing.
Try getting out of a chair, which part of your body moves first to change your center of gravity?
The eye line needs to be parallel to your ball to target line to keep good balance.
A great way to achieve this is to look up to the horizon once you have addressed the ball which gets your eyes level.
Then slowly look back to the ball which will help keep the eyes parallel to the ball to target line.
I hope by now you are beginning to realise how vital it is that you try to achieve this ‘V’ symmetry, correct hip tilt and also engage your neck muscles to support the weight of your heavy head at the correct angle.
Hopefully you can now also start to imagine how difficult it is to keep the body in balance throughout the swing whilst turning back and through at speed to strike the ball.
A lot of bad shots, not only with your driver, can be traced back to this set-up position.
Work on this regularly by using a mirror to assist you in making sure it is in perfect balance and ‘V’ symmetry.
Sometimes what you feel is correct might not be correct, so take time to get this right.
This is your foundation for long and powerful drives!
So how should the set-up look from face on with your Driver?
I mentioned about spine tilt away from the target. I don’t believe this is a necessary thought process at address.
The ball position in relation to your feet stays the same (about 3” back from the instep of your front heel) but by taking a slightly wider step away from the ball with your back foot, let your torso move with it.
This positions the breastbone slightly further behind the ball.
Picture this, Imagine your club head always reaches its lowest point in the swing at a point opposite your breastbone.
Therefore your breastbone is now a further 2-3” back behind the ball because you have increased the width of your normal stance by this same amount.
The lowest point of the swing arc will now have a chance to occur 2-3” before impact. Thus ensuring the ball is struck very slightly after this point and on a marginally upward path, sweeping the ball from the tee peg.
The height you should tee the ball depends on the depth of the face of your driver.
Combined with how wide you make your stance to help ensure the ball is struck from the center of the club face on a very gentle upswing.
The wider you make your stance taking the breastbone further behind the ball, the higher you will need to tee it up.
Being strong enough to control the position of the body’s mid section whilst at set up and during the swing is a great way to help your technique.
Without good stability your movement can become very out of control with loss of spine angle and positions leading to very erratic and inconsistent shots.
A strong core also helps to increase your distance. Rotational speed can be improved without trying any harder.
Want to test your core strength?
Try standing on one leg with you hands on your head.
With regular practice at this you will be able to increase the time you can hold your balance.
This will also activate not only your core muscles but engage your ankle muscles.
Strong ankle muscles are certainly needed to help you to support your lower body movement throughout and aid in supporting most of your body weight on your leading foot as you reach your finish.
Once balanced shut your eyes.
As the driver is very long in length it can be quite difficult to align the face and your body correctly, as the ball is a good distance away from you causing your optics to change.
This distance between you and the ball puts you in a position where you are looking even more side on to it.
I often see students address the ball too far out of the toe of the clubface.
Why is this?
Well because of this side on view of the ball and its elevated position on the tee peg, it optically appears in the middle of the clubface when in fact it isn’t.
To counter this problem, try hovering the club head so the ball is directly opposite the center of the face then slowly lower the head straight down to the ground.
Aligning the face square to your intended target is also even more vital with the driver.
The further you hit the ball the more accurate it needs to be.
Aiming a few degrees off target over a longer distance will not help your chances of keeping it on the fairway.
Try putting an alignment line on your ball and position it on the tee inline with your target but parallel to your eyes to help align correctly.
Use it to your advantage
To experience what is termed as ground force, try making a backswing with your leading foot pulled back so it’s toe is level with the back foots’ heel.
Feel your weight compress down into the ground whilst retaining the flex in the back knee.
This is powerful!
It’s like the string on a crossbow being pulled into its taught firing position.
The lathe building energy and the stock providing resistance ready to release the string and provide energy to the arrow.
The golf swing is no different.
The upper body builds energy as the lower body provides resistance ready for the club to be propelled forward and provide energy to the ball.
Synchronize your swing for greater timing
Timing is merely the speed ratios that each part of the body must travel in order for the club to be delivered at the correct position on impact.
Imagine your torso (breastbone) is the hub or center of the swing motion. It has a fairly limited amount of distance to travel as you turn in a rotational motion back and through.
The hands and arms have a longer distance to travel than the torso, with the club head having the furthest of all to travel.
The lower half is very stable so has less movement to perform.
I see plenty of golfers take the club back away from the ball much too fast.
An initial burst of motion often causes the rest of the body to get involved much too soon. This leads to an early loss of ground force, body and club positioning.
You could make an analogy between the swing and a car accelerating. If you accelerate too fast you get wheel spin, there is no connection between the wheels and the ground.
In that split second the percentage of loosing control of the car increases and requires extra compensatory movements to get the car back on the correct line of direction you wish to travel on.
Slowly accelerating with great traction leaves you in control which is exactly how you want to accelerate your golf swing.
As the golf swing is all over in a couple of seconds it is often too difficult to make those recovery adjustments and in time.
Taking the club away from the ball too slow can also create problems.
If there is an insufficient increase in speed to the top of the backswing, there is little momentum generated for a smooth transition into the downswing.
Golfers who come over the top on their downswing often suffer from this trait.
This lack of speed encourages the right shoulder to lunge forward on the start of the downswing in an effort to increase and generate power.
It’s important to try to slowly build up your speed by gradually increasing your speed throughout.
As discussed in Key Stage 3, the transition from backswing to downswing is initiated by the natural shifting of the weight into the leading foot.
This movement causes the hips to start to turn and become slightly open in relation to the ball to target line before impact. This creates the elasticity power build up between the lower and upper body to produce more speed and a longer shot.
To perfect good timing the upper body (shoulders) must now play catch up.
The hips virtually stop at this slightly open point while the shoulders unwind through the thoracic region of the spine and catch up with the lower body.
This is where the speed reaches its maximum potential.
Key Stage 4 is a vital position to allow the shoulders to continue to rotate faster than the lower body through impact.
In a quest for more distance, all too often I see golfers continue to turn their lower body (spinning out of the shot) before their upper body has had a chance to catch-up and overtake the lower half.
Leading to very erratic shots with a massive dissipation of any energy they might have created well before the ball is even struck.
As your driver is the longest and least lofted club in the bag, swing synchronicity is critical as mistimed swings will exaggerate any swing faults and lead to poorer results.
Where as a more lofted club has a bigger chance of adding more backspin to the ball which counteracts against a proportion of the side spin and keeps it somewhat straighter.
Fear of Change
You are in control
Most golfers have a fear of change.
It sounds strange but is unfortunately very common.
Plenty of golfers have good intentions to go and do something about improving their swing but fear of getting worse before you get better stops them in their tracks.
“How can I possibly have a lesson and next weekend when I play with my friends they will all know I had a lesson and will laugh at me or make fun of me.”
The reality is they are only really worried about their own game.
It is normally all clean banter but deep down it does affect you.
The beauty of learning at your own pace via this e-course is that if you don’t want your friends to know you are trying to improve, they never need to know.
You are in control of who you tell. Also a fear of going to your local pro and wanting a quick fix and ending up with a complete swing rebuild.
What you want is very important.
There is no problem to attempt everything and give you the best possible chance to get a single digit swing. If you don’t really want that it’s no problem, do what you can, it’s possible that within this course lies something on it’s own that will help improve your driving.
If you spend money on a single lesson, get worse for 2-3 weeks as you have not had time to practise but within that time you have played each weekend with your friends and it’s been the worst golf of your life. Then you don’t go back to the pro for a follow up lesson.
The truth is you need to re-affirm what you are doing and keep moving on. This can also be extremely costly, especially if you forget what you have been taught and keep going back for the same refresher lesson.
The Power of Decisions
Act on it
Making decisions can be very powerful and put you on the road to change instantly.
Many times people say they would like to hit the ball longer or straighter off the tee or “you know I would really like to be more consistent”
These types of sayings are merely statements or a wish list which they would like to happen.
This is not the power of a decision.
A true decision is a long term commitment to something that is consistently acted upon.
You are reading this now so you have already made a statement and acted upon it because you wanted to drive the ball better.
It is now within your power to do this as you have the information within this page to go ahead and act on it with commitment and consistency.
It’s not what has happened to your swing in the past or even how it is at the moment. It is your ability to make a decision, act on it, with long term focus on the right areas.
Quality repetition is the key to skill.
Keep making good decisions.
Think about all the other departments of your game that are probably on your current wish list.
I believe you can achieve almost anything you want to within your golf game.