Just because it’s getting too cold for the course, doesn’t mean no golf. Now’s the perfect time of year to practice and hone your skills. So let’s go back to basics! You might not think it’s exciting, but the winter is when you should check in and make sure that the fundamentals of your game are there. Today’s we’ll take a look that exciting skill – Driving!
1. Get your set up correct.
This is the single most important swing fundamental in golf. The ball is placed differently if you’re hitting an iron or a driver. At address your body should be parallel to the target. For driving, your feet should be about two inches wider than shoulder width. Your front foot should be flared toward the target from 20 to 40 degrees to allow the body to rotate toward the target on the downswing. The back foot should be square to slightly open to create the proper hip turn on the back swing.
Ball placement varies by club. For drivers, the ball is played the farthest forward(three ball widths forward of center) in order to hit the ball on the upswing. A good driver basic golf tip is that the ball is aligned with the heel of the left foot (approximately three balls left of center for right handers). When you use a driver and the ball is teed up and positioned more forward in your stance, the angle of approach at impact will be more shallow or sweeping. If you hit down on the ball with a driver, the ball will pop up in the air or you will give the ball a glancing blow slicing it to the right.
Keep your weight on the balls of your feet, 60% on your forward foot, 40% on the back. Keep your hands a “palm’s length” away from your body. The most important thing about the driver stance is to lean back away from the target. This tilts the swing arc back enabling the golfer to hit the ball on the up.
2. Keep Your Front Foot Planted
Many golfers lift their front foot on their backswing. This can lead to a reverse weight shift, where weight is actually shifted to the front side on the backswing. This can result in a hook or shank shot. Keep your front foot planted on the ground on your backswing, which will promote a proper hip and shoulder turn and get you into a “coil” position setting you up for increased power. Just don’t forget to shift your weight to your back side.
3. Make Sure Your Tee Is High Enough
The size of driver heads have increased dramatically in recent years and so has the sweet-spot of these drivers. The sweet spot on modern drivers are much higher up the face than on old clubs. General rule of thumb says to tee the ball up so that the top half of the ball is above the clubface when the club is resting in starting position on the ground. Naturally with a bigger club head, you need to tee the ball higher to achieve the top half ratio. This way, you are still striking the ball with the center of the club head.
4. Increase Your Clubhead Speed
It’s pretty simple. Speed = Power. You need at least 80 miles per hour clubhead speed to get a ball up in the air with a 12-degree lofted club or less. To help create clubhead speed, you need to have light grip pressure. Tight grip pressure kills speed. Light grip pressure allows you to make a full turn and helps you to swing the club freely.
5. Perfect Your Swing
Set the head back and to the right and keep it there until you hit the ball. This anchors the body enabling the golfer to hit against a firm left side which creates centrifugal force and encourages a powerful release of the hands through impact.
Swing to a full finish. Make sure you hit right through the ball to compress it to its maximum for extra ball speed. Finish with your right foot in the classic finish position with the right sole vertical and pointing away from the hole. The front of your body, or your belt buckle, should be facing the hole.
Commit to hitting the driver. Once you have decided to use a driver off the tee make sure you commit to if fully. Don’t back off and try to guide the club, its not designed for that. If you use a driver, swing to a finish and commit to it with conviction.
6. Use The Right Club
Check to see if your driver suits your swing by finding where the ball comes out of the clubface. Go to the driving range and bring a marker. Once you’re warmed up, take ten balls and mark a spot the size of a thumbnail on the back of each ball. Tee the ball up with the spot at the back of the ball. Hit all ten balls then have a look at the face of the club. Each ball should have left a mark. Find out where the average position would be and then mark that spot on the driver face. This is the spot which normally makes contact with the ball. Ideally it would be in the middle of the face but most often it is to one side or another. If the mark is a long way from the middle of the club, to the heel or toe, it might well be that the shaft of the driver is wrong for you and the general design. If this is the case, it might be time to find a new driver. If the marks are generally near the middle, you can adjust your tee height.
If you decide that you need to replace your driver for one that better suits your swing, head to Rock Bottom Golf for the best best price on drivers on the web!
7. Get Fit!
No matter how much money your driver costs or how many lessons you’ve taken, nothing can be as effective in increasing driving distance as getting fit. Don’t believe me? Compare the physique of current top Tour players those from 30 years ago. You’ll see a lot fewer beer bellies. If you’re not strong and flexible, you’re not going to achieve your potential maximum distance.
8. Check out this video from VideoJug for more tips!
Check out Golf Digest’s Top 10 Driving Tips below!
10. Practice, Practice, Practice!
Ultimately the best way to achieve a better drive is through practice. No matter how much expensive gear you buy, nothing can replace simple repetition. Find multiple times during your week when you can practice these basics for at least 30 minutes. Even if you can make it to the range, practice the basic motions of your drive at home (just look out for ceiling fans). If you have a smartphone, record your swings so that you can identify your problem spots and fix them, hopefully by the start of spring golf!