Hello folks and welcome to this weeks edition of tips & tricks. I know lots of you will like this weeks content because it’s about hitting the long stick better. Lots of you struggle with the driver, some of you don’t even bother getting it out of the bag at all. I’m going to show you some of the common faults I see and how to create a reliable set-up with the driver with some simple swing tips.
You may have heard the saying “drive for show, putt for dough”. This gets thrown around a lot in golf and for the most part is very true. Putting can save you a crazy amount of shots but if you can’t get off the tee then you’re going to struggle even getting to the green. There is evidence out there suggesting that the longest hitters on tour are the biggest earners. This shows the importance of good driving and how improving yours could dramatically improve your scores.
I’m going to give you two pieces of information, the first might be a bit upsetting but the second should help cheer you back up. Firstly the current driving average on the PGA Tour is 295 yards. Yes that is correct, almost 300 yards on average across all players. This obviously includes Bryson which may bring the average up a fraction at the cost of some accuracy but still 295 yards is a long way to hit a golf ball. The current driving accuracy stat on the PGA Tour is only 60% which should make you feel better. Again, Bryson is amongst this with his long and wild drives so take it as you like. Basically those guys are only hitting about 8/13 fairways so there is still hope for all of us yet.
I’m going to show you a video of a couple of common errors I see, more often with a driver.
Firstly I see people sway too far away from the target into the backswing and also too far towards the target through the downswing. Swaying away from the target can change the angle of attack into the back of the ball and can also change the strike location. This movement is often the cause for topping the ball.
Secondly I see people stand too upright at posture which can lead to a flat shoulder plane. This basically means that the shoulders lift into the backswing changing the swing plane through the downswing often causing a slice or hook. It can also be one of the main causes for going straight under the ball and skying it.
We want to get the feeling that we are hitting slightly up on the ball because it’s on a tee and this will help launch the ball up into the air.
A good driver set-up will consist of the following:
The driver is the longest club in the bag so theoretically should be the hardest to control. This doesn’t mean that you need a completely different swing. You still need to find good balance with rotation through the hips and shoulders. Naturally the body is behind the ball compared to an iron when your body is more over the ball so it will feel different but you still need to feel as though you rotate around a central axis. I see too much lateral body movement when people hit longer clubs and I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to this. Try to imagine your body is in a box and you rotate inside of this box. As soon as you move out of it, ball striking and clubface control get more difficult.
If you really struggle with hitting driver then there is no shame in using a 3 wood, 5 wood or rescue club. Golf is about getting the best score and not who can hit it the furthest. I often encourage people to produce as much force and speed as possible because we all want a few extra yards but you have to be able to control it. When I practice I finish by hitting it as hard and as far as I can, when I go back to normal speed then the ball usually goes further and feels easier than before. Try the same set up principles with a 3 wood from a tee and see if you can hit it further and straighter with a more controllable club
Driving the ball a long way is desirable for most people and there are great advantages to it. The further you can hit it up the fairway, the closer your next shot will be, increasing the chance of hitting it close (in most cases). If the hole is not long and you don’t need to hit driver, don’t! Try to find a club that you can trust from the tee and use it whenever possible. You’re better off being 150 yards out from the fairway than you are 100 yards away surrounded by trees.
For the video I was using my brand new SIM2 9* Driver with a tour edition Diamana 60g X-Stiff shaft. I fitted myself for this driver and really love it. Custom fitting for all clubs is important but if you want to maximise distance and efficiency you have to have the correct head and shaft combination in a driver.
If you would like any help with your woods or would like a custom fit please get in touch.