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Golf Accessories Reviews

How to Hit a Driver

The driver is arguably the most important club in your bag because you will likely use it to set yourself up for success or failure on the majority of golf holes that you play. Your driving accuracy each round can be the difference between a personal best score and a personal record in lost balls. For a beginner or even an amateur golfer, hitting a driver properly can seem like a total mystery. 

If you want to learn how to hit a driver or simply improve your current skill set, there are important things about the driver swing and setup that you need to understand first. These key fundamentals are the stepping stones to consistently hitting long, straight drives.

We will be breaking down each step of the driver swing from teeing it up to the follow-through and everything in between. We will be going through tips and explaining why they are important along with discussing relevant drills that will help you practice specific aspects of the driver swing. 

Since the driver is considerably longer and holds a much larger head than any other club in your bag, it’s important to understand the aspects of the swing that set it apart from the rest. If you try to swing your driver like an iron, you will have major issues. 

The most important differences that we will discuss include the swing path for proper impact, the stance, and setup, and your alignment. Let’s start from the very beginning by explaining the best way to tee up for your golf ball for more consistent drives. 

How to Hit a Driver

Teeing it Up

Setting up your golf ball correctly on the tee is the first step to improving your driving accuracy and driver in the background and a golfer teeing up their balldistance. The height of the tee is important because it gives you the chance to hit the sweet spot on the clubface. If the tee is too high or too low, you won’t be able to consistently find the sweet spot. 

It can be difficult to decide what the proper tee height is so instead of guessing each time, tee it up so that half of the golf ball is above the crown of your driver. This will put you in the area of the sweet spot consistently. 

Stance and Setup

The next step of hitting a successful drive is to set yourself up correctly at address. The driver stance is different from an iron stance in several ways. The biggest difference between the two is the angle of attack and ball position.

With an iron, you will have the golf ball in the center of your stance and you will be striking down on the ball to create contact with the ball and turf at the same time. This creates a powerful strike and a divot which irons are designed to do. driver_amateur_golfers_golfaccessories

With a driver, you obviously don’t want to hit the ground so you need to have a positive angle of attack, or in simple terms, you need to be hitting the ball on the way up after the lowest point of the swing. By hitting up on the ball, you will increase distance by a significant amount. 

When setting up to hit a driver, you want to have the ball just inside of your front heel. Teeing it up inside your front heel will force the impact of the club and the ball to occur on the driver’s way up which creates a positive angle of attack; a crucial factor when hitting a driver. Additionally, the stance with a driver is wider than with an iron because of the length of the club. 

When setting up forward in your stance, you’ll notice that your trail shoulder (right shoulder for a right-handed player) has dropped slightly which creates an upward angle with your shoulders. You can create this feeling by touching the side of your trail knee with your trail hand while at setup. This is important because it will produce a positive angle of attack.

The last thing to consider when setting up to hit a driver is your arm position and once again we will compare irons and drivers. With an iron, your hands will hang below your chest but with a driver, you want your hands to extend to the point where they’re underneath your chin.

You’ll also want the shaft to be straight, not leaning forward or back. Since the driver is a longer club, you need to give yourself more space to make your swing. 

Alignment

Alignment is arguably the most important factor of any golf swing because of its significant impact on where the ball will end up. Improper alignment can be extremely frustrating because it’s difficult to determine on your own if you’re aligned correctly and it can cause you major issues with each club.  

In order to check your alignment, have a friend take a picture of your from directly behind the ball. This will show you where your shoulders and feet are aligned. shoulder alignmentTo check your alignment on your own, you can hold a golf club or alignment stick across your shoulders. Wherever it points is where you are aligned. 

To keep yourself in check on the course, pick a spot just a few feet in front of your golf ball that is aligned with your target. This could be a blade of grass, a leaf, or an old discarded tee. By having this checkpoint, you’ll be much more likely to be aligned on target. 

The Backswing

In order to hit long drives, you need to be able to make a full swing and generate a considerable amount of power. During the swing, you will have to stay in control if you want to maintain accuracy so you should only be swinging as fast as you can while still being in control of the club. Man using a driver at the range

The first aspect of that backswing that I will mention is the weight transfer. Before the swing, you should feel like your weight is distributed evenly between both feet. As the swing starts, you will begin transferring weight to the back foot up until you begin to reach the top of your swing. This helps you stay behind the ball and generate more power and speed

The backswing starts as you rotate your upper body and begin transferring your weight to your back foot. This rotation will act as a power generator that will unwind while maintaining the tilt in your shoulders during the downswing.

As you start the backswing, you want to keep the clubhead on the target line with the clubface mirroring the ball for as long as possible. The driver backswing is longer and will cause your arms to extend more than the backswing of any other club. The arm and the club should fully stretch on the way back.

Another tip that will help you hit longer straighter drives is staying behind the ball. Before you swing, draw an imaginary line from the ball up to your lead shoulder. Now, during the backswing, you want to keep yourself from crossing this imaginary line. This allows you to use your maximum amount of power. 

The Downswing and Impact

Once you’ve reached the top of your backswing and your upper and lower body have fully rotated back on your trail heel, you’re ready to initiate your downswing. We previously discussed the fact that your arms and the club will be fully extended in the backswing and the same goes for the downswing. 

As you go after the ball, your arms and the club will be extended until you reach impact. This extension will promote hitting up on the ball which we learned was crucial to hitting a driver. On a similar note, you need to be sure to maintain the tilted shoulder position that we discussed at setup which will also lead to a positive angle of attack.

It should feel like you are swinging the club up into the back of the golf ball. At impact, your shaft should be nearly as straight up and down as it was at the setup in order to create the proper impact position and loft. 

Lastly, we will discuss the importance of your strike position or where the ball makes contact with the face of the club. Even though modern drivers are as forgiving as ever before, it’s still incredibly important to hit the center of the clubface if you want to hit the fairway. 

A great drill that anyone can do to practice this is spraying athlete’s foot spray on the face of your club and then hitting a shot. The white spray will remain on the entire face except for where the ball made contact. This will show your exact strike position and it won’t harm your clubface in any way. 

Higher handicap players are likely to see strikes across various points on the face. The strike position is one of the biggest factors in where your ball ends up so you should learn what strike spots produce certain shots. A shot off the heel will slice or fade off to the right while a toe shot will hook or draw to the left.

A shot low on the face will produce a low ball flight that spins too much while a shot hit high on the face will produce a high ball flight with too little spin. The perfect impact position is in the center or very slightly higher and more towards the toe than the center.

The Follow Through

The follow-through may not seem important because the golf ball has already been struck but it’s actually just as important as any other part of the swing. A proper follow-through allows you to maximize distance, produce a balanced swing, and result in an accurate shot. 

As we discussed several times now, your arms need to remain extended while they work around your body after impact. This will encourage you to work your arms around your body and complete the swing. golfer driving off the tee

It’s important to have the club go around your body instead of straight up in the air towards the target because when the club works around you, it allows you to square the clubface. If you swing towards the target, you will leave your clubface open. 

As your club works around your body, your upper and lower body will rotate through while your weight transfers more towards the lead foot. In a proper finish position, your weight will be more on the lead foot, your trail heel will be off the ground, and your upper and lower body will be fully rotated so they’re pointing towards the target. 

Balance

If you want to see consistent results with any club and especially a driver, you need to remain balanced throughout the entire swing. With proper balance, you’ll be able to maximize your power and your ability to make a center strike.

Balance in the golf swing is something that comes with a lot of experience but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make drastic improvements if you set your mind to it. Before you decide to focus on improving your balance, you should make a note of how balanced you are currently. You should be able to hold your follow-through position comfortably without feeling like you’re falling in a certain direction. 

If you find yourself to be off-balance, there are a few things that you can look at improving. First is something that we mentioned briefly and that’s setting up with a wider stance when hitting the driver. Being slightly wider at setup will allow you to maintain your balance and will allow you to use the ground to generate speed. 

The next thing to consider is your weight transfer. If you aren’t getting your weight forward at impact or on the follow-through, you will find yourself falling backward out of the swing which will result in a mishit. Similarly, if you keep your weight too far forward, you will find yourself falling into the ball. 

To test yourself, you can try the coin drill. Place a coin under the middle of your trail foot and attempt to keep the pressure on the coin during the duration of the swing. If you feel your back foot roll away from the coin and expose it, that means that you have too much sway. 

Increasing Distance

The biggest appeal of the driver is the fact that you can hit it considerably longer than any other club. Hitting the long ball not only impresses those in your group but more importantly, it sets you up for a much easier approach into the green. 

When it comes to increasing distance, there is no magic fix or drill that will make you hit the ball longer automatically. To achieve longer distances with the driver, you need to be making fundamentally correct swings and following the specific tips that we have discussed. 

Your strength and speed will contribute greatly to driving distance but it’s the important things like being balanced, striking the face in the center, hitting up on the ball, and staying in the proper place that will produce the long drives. 

FAQ’s

How do I hit a driver further?

Like we just discussed, there is no magic fix to hitting long drives. In order to hit the ball long, you need to be balanced, strike the center of the clubface, hit upon the ball, and stay on plane

If you’re able to do all of the above and still want to hit the ball longer, you can try strength/speed training. Speed training aids are meant to simulate the golf swing with a significantly heavier object. By getting used to swinging the heavy object, you will naturally begin swinging your driver faster and it will feel lighter than ever. 

Check out SuperSpeed Golf Training System, Tour Striker Smart Ball, or the Momentus Speed Whoosh for examples of speed training aids.  

How to stop a slice or a hook?

Before you try to fix your slice or hook, you need to first understand what is causing your issues in your swing. A slice or hook can be caused by an over/underactive upper body, poor alignment, weak/strong grip, or a number of other issues. Film your swing to help you decide what that issue might be. 

Once you have an idea of the issue that you’re having, practice fixing only that thing. For example, if you think your slice may be caused by a weak grip, strengthen your grip but leave everything else the same for your next shot. If that works, you may be onto something and if it doesn’t, try something else. When you’re practicing, you should only focus on one change at a time. 

Should I get fit for a driver?

Being fit for the proper driver for your swing is not necessary but it will only help your golf game. For the player that is looking to take it to the next level, being fit for your clubs is the perfect next step.

During a fitting, the professional will assist you in finding the correct shaft length for your height, the proper shaft flex for your swing speed, and the driver settings (if adjustable) that will produce the results you’re looking for. 

Bottom Line

The mystery surrounding successful driving statistics is one that even the avid golfer struggles with. This unique club requires a unique skill set and a complete understanding of the mechanics of a driver swing. In order to be successful with a driver, we need to remember the important aspects that we have just discussed. 

Teeing it Up

● Tee the ball up with at least half of the ball above the crown of the driver

● Tee it up at the same height each time

Stance and Setup

● Wider stance than an iron

● Ball inside front heel

● Shaft straight up and down

● Shoulders tilted upward towards the target

The Backswing

● Weight should be evenly distributed at first and then shift to the back during the backswing

● Keep the clubface pointed towards the target for as long as possible

● Extend arms and club 

● Rotate upper and lower body fully

● Maintain original setup spine tilt

The Downswing and Impact

● Extend arms and club

● Hit up on the ball

● Strike the center of the clubface

● Maintain original setup spine tilt

The Follow Through

● Extend arms and club

● Work club around your body

● Transfer weight forwards

Austin is college senior at Wilkes University who in addition to studying has been playing and perfecting his golf game over the past 8 years. An advanced player he has extensive knowledge about the game and the equipment used. In addition to playing the sport he has also worked in a pro shop meaning he knows exactly what people are looking for and wanting in golf apparel and equipment. This along with his excellent writing abilities means he brings nothing but the best articles to the readers at Golf Accessories Reviews.

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