No matter how long you’ve been playing golf for or what expert level you’re at, one of the most common issues golfers experience is hitting the driver. Of course, as you improve your game you’re going to get better at hitting the tee shots, but that doesn’t mean you’re immune to a bad tee shot.
Many people want their first shot to reach as far as possible. After all, a deep tee shot will make the game much easier and shorter - as long as the shot is on target. Hitting an accurate tee shot can leave you with much better approach shots, certain to lower your handicap … and that’s all we really want, isn’t it?
So, in our article, we’ll be looking at how to hit the driver effectively as well as some typical issues that people have when it comes to these kinds of shots.
How To Hit the Driver
We all know how to step up to the ball and hit it with a club - it’s not exactly rocket science, is it? However, getting a high-quality shot is a completely different task altogether.
Here we’ll be looking at five tips and tricks to ensure that you’re no longer embarrassed from hitting the driver.
Get Your Balance
You might be rolling your eyes at this one, but it’s worth remembering that you always need to get your balance before attempting a tee shot. Too many golfers rush through the process and don’t ground themselves before swinging.
To ensure that you keep your balance you need to know how to keep your center of gravity aligned.
While swinging your club, keep your center of gravity in the middle of your body. Only adjust this when the swing is about to hit the ball.
To get as much power as possible you should shift your weight to your front foot as the club impacts the ball. Other than this, your weight should not shift from foot to foot.
Training your balance will greatly improve your tee shots and therefore your entire game.
Swinging your club back without any thought is another common problem that many golfers experience, particularly when they get used to the motion. Getting too comfortable on the course is mistake number one!
Rather than rushing the backswing and bringing it down straight away, savor the moment at the top.
We’re not advising you to remain with the club over your shoulder for five minutes, but a few seconds would be enough for your brain to think about the next steps and modify it according to the situation.
If you watch the pros work their magic, you’ll almost always be able to notice their pause at the top of their backswing.
Another thing to consider is that if you don’t allow yourself that momentary pause, you might prematurely start the downswing. This will prevent you from being able to get as much power as possible for your tee shot.
So, don’t rush your backswing and allow yourself a fleeting pause at the top.
Easy on the Backspin
When hitting the driver, you want to keep the backspin as low as possible. While some backspin is needed to keep the ball cutting through the air accurately, too much spin will shoot the ball too high and falter its distance.
To avoid generating too much backswing, you want to ensure that you hit the driver with a sweep rather than at a sharp angle. A sweeping club will also offer more force onto the ball and generate more energy within the ball.
Make sure that you don’t rush finding and locking onto your target. Unless you do this, your tee shot will be inaccurate and you might have to make up for it further down the course. Worst case scenario is you lose your ball or even end up in a bunker - and no one wants to be there.
To be the best golfer you can be, every shot has to have a purpose. If you’re just swinging and hoping for the best, you’re not going to get the most out of your tee shot. So, when you’re about to take your tee shot, make sure to focus on the target.
If you cannot see the hole from the tee, pick out a tree or patch of grass in the direction that you want your ball to travel. Focus on the target and hit the driver as accurately as you can. Your overall game will thank you, we promise!
Less is More
We’ve already mentioned that balance is crucial and you need to keep a clear head so that you can react in record timing when it comes to hitting the driver. This can sound near impossible when you’re standing over the ball, right?
To make this a little easier on yourself and actually be able to put the above tips into practice, you don’t need to hit the ball with 100% speed. Allowing yourself to take your time while hitting the driver will allow you to remain balanced, focus on your swing, and offer you enough time to pause at the top of the backswing.
Lowering the speed of your shot can be difficult and seem counterproductive, but we can assure you that it won’t affect your shot for the worse. Quite the opposite, in fact, as making a more calculated and calm shot might make your distance even better.
Potential Issues with Hitting the Driver
Most golfers struggle a lot with hitting the driver, but luckily enough there are three most common issues that can be rectified.
We’ll be looking at how to troubleshoot the three problems below, so if you’re struggling with your tee shots keep reading.
When nerves take over you can easily freak out and rush your tee shot. As we’ve already mentioned, rushing the driver shot is only going to hinder your performance, so don’t rush it. Take a step back, breathe in deeply, and get on top of your feelings.
Your ball isn’t going anywhere, and no one is impatiently tapping their foot and looking at their watch waiting for you to hit the ball. Rest assured, you have enough time to collect your thoughts and hit the driver as best as you can.
Getting out of your nerves and taking your time can greatly improve your performance off the tee, so don’t overlook this tip.
Fix Your Slice
Many golfers slice off of the tee and can affect the distance. As we mentioned earlier with the backspin, you should aim to slice the air as little as possible when hitting the driver. To rectify this, make sure that your body keeps swinging around while it moves alongside your club.
You should also ensure that you’re not standing too far behind the ball as this might limit your arm movements. If your ball remains too far forward it could pose a threat to your shoulder mobility.
Keep your body position and stance in mind when trying to avoid slicing the air on a tee shot. Ensure that your shoulders are in line with your hips, that your hips are aligned with your knees, and that your knees with your feet.
Imagine two straight lines running down your body and try to keep your joints perfectly stacked below one another. Purposely doing so will make your shot straighter and therefore more accurate if you’ve targeted your shot correctly.
Practice Makes Perfect
There are a lot of stigmas that come with hitting the driver and this is what makes a lot of golfers nervous about standing up to the ball. However, ensuring that you have a continuous constant during the tee shots will help you to repeat the same process over and over again.
Repetition will help you to become more confident when it comes to hitting the driver, and with practice comes comfort. As you get more comfortable with hitting the driver you won’t feel as nervous and you’ll start to get better.
Instead of hitting the ball and hoping for the best, make sure that you practice particular techniques so that you can make your shots more accurate. Accurate shots will make you feel more confident, increasing the quality of your game in no time.
That concludes our tips and tricks for hitting the driver. While it is one of the most difficult shots to hit, there are luckily many tricks that you can practice to improve your tee shots. The first shot of the game is arguably the most important, so it is vital that you continue to practice and improve.
Perhaps the best tip that we could give you to help with your tee shots is to take your time and don’t rush the shot. Get your balance, steady your nerves, and step up to the ball.
Draw the club back and wait for a moment to perfect your club positioning. Focus on one target and complete the downswing with 90% speed. Watch your ball fly off into the distance!
Following our advice will surely help you to get the most out of your tee shots. Hitting the driver is essential for lowering your handicap, so we hope that we’ve helped you on your journey!