How to Hit Your Driver
So you’re kitted with the latest Callaway Epic Mac LS; your stance is perfect, tee height on point, and you got your swing down pat.
Is that enough to hit an excellent driver?
That’s a question most golfers struggle with daily.
The driver is much more than just a shot; a driver is the defining point of your match. Hitting a good driver improves your whole game significantly.
A good driver here means launching a flying monster with high speed and pinpoint accuracy.
How to Stop Slicing Your Driver
Quick tips on how to hit a driver better:
- Check your setup. Improve your stability and swing by placing your feet slightly apart.
- Flex your knees and keep your spine straight.
- Adjust your club tilt. Lean it more towards your trail foot at address.
- Adjust your tee height. For a good driver, tee slightly higher. This will improve your attack angle.
- Position your ball closer to your lead foot. This will ensure that you have a positive attack angle.
- Tilt your shoulders. Your lead shoulder should be slightly higher than your trail shoulder. This will ensure that you hit the ball on the upswing.
- Check your hand position. Start with high hands and finish with high hands.
- Shift your weight during the shot. Start with your weight on your trail foot and finish with the weight on your lead foot.
- Swivel with your hips and knees, and don’t strain your torso.
- Hit monster golf shots
Why is a golf driver so unique
A driver is not your typical club. Here are some unique aspects of your driver.
All the clubs in your bag have different lofts ranging between 5 degrees to 60 degrees.
What is loft?
Loft refers to the angle at which the golf face is bent skywards.
The angle of inclination of a club surface relative to an imaginary vertical line that runs along your golf shaft.
The driver is the club with the smallest loft in your bag right now.
What does this mean for you?
The driver shot has the most significant carry—of course, assuming that you use the best stance and swing techniques.
The driver shot achieves the lowest vertical height of all clubs
That’s why a driver is played on a tee to compensate for the low loft.
Hitting off a tee
Tees have revolutionized how we play golf and are an integral part of the modern golf game.
Tees have a long history with golf. Before commercial tees, golfers used tees made of wet sand.
It wasn’t until 1899 that Dr. George Grant patented the first wooden tee and saved us all the struggle of using wet sand at every hole.
A tee is synonymous with your first shot, the driver, and can either make or break your game.
Why is a tee so important?
- A tee increases the height and carries off your shots. A tee improves your club’s attack angle.
- A tee directly affects the direction of your ball by altering your swing direction. It’s easier to hit a slice, fade, top, hook, and other embarrassing shots on a tee than off a tee.
- Your tee greatly influences the dynamic loft of your ball. The tee affects the relationship between your clubface and the ball.
- Smash factor depends on how your club strikes the ball. A tee will either increase or reduce your ball’s smash factor.
A driver has the lengthiest shaft in your bag right now. Most drivers average at 45 inches compared to irons which average at 38 inches.
The 7-inch difference in shaft length could be the difference between a top and a surface-to-air missile from Bryson Dechambeau’s cannon.
The advantage of having a long shaft is that the driver forces you to widen your swing, improving your attack angle and clubhead speed, resulting in a better shot.
Why do you need to hit a good driver?
- A good driver will get you to the fairway faster and make your next shot easier.
- An accurate driver will save you the agony of dealing with potential hazards.
- A great driver will boost your confidence and set the tone for your next shot.
- You will play better golf if you start with a good driver.
The Science of hitting a good driver
For you to hit a genuinely spectacular driver, master the following fundamentals.
These important factors include,
- Attack angle
- Dynamic loft
- Smash factor
- Tee height
- Swing speed
Attack angle refers to the vertical up and down movement of a club at the point of maximum impact.
Attack angle refers to either the downward or upward movement of the club when it hits the ball.
The attack angle can either be positive (upward), negative (downward), or neutral (level)
Look at a typical relationship between the attack angle and carry of your ball.
To hit an excellent driver, aim to hit the ball with a positive angle of attack.
This will increase your ball’s height, backspin, and carry.
What is backspin, and why is it essential when hitting drivers?
Backspin refers to the backward rotation of a golf ball after impact.
The backspin directly affects the height of your ball, which affects your carry.
The surface of your golf ball contains a series of slight depressions called dimples. When your ball rotates, these dimples create low-pressure sites, which then cause your ball to rise higher.
With greater height comes more horizontal reach.
This is arguably the most critical factor to consider when playing your driver because, unlike loft, which depends on your club manufacturer, dynamic loft entirely depends on you.
Dynamic loft refers to the clubface loft at the point of impact with the golf ball.
What this simply means is how much the clubface is tilted skywards when it hits the ball.
The following factors affect your dynamic loft.
- Ball position. The ball position relative to the centerline determines your dynamic loft. A ball closer to your trail foot will have less dynamic loft than a more forward-positioned ball.
- Is the ball is on a tee or the ground? A tee elevates your ball, allowing you to hit the ball at the maximum dynamic loft.
- The grip factor affects your dynamic loft massively. Grip refers to how hard or soft you grip your club. To achieve efficient dynamic loft, don’t be too hard on the club.
- Club profile which means how much the club shaft bends affects your dynamic loft. A stiffer shaft will bend less on impact, meaning the club will better achieve the intended dynamic loft.
- Clubface position depends on whether the clubface is open or closed. To hit a good driver, ensure that your clubface is slightly closed.
It’s all about efficiency in golf.
Smash factor refers to the energy transfer efficiency from your club to the ball at the point of impact.
A good smash factor ensures that your ball achieves the highest carry.
A ratio of 1.5 is a good smash factor and means that a club traveling at 100mph will launch the ball at 150 mph from the point of impact.
Here is a typical smash factor profile for PGA pros in 2021.
To hit a good driver, always ensure that your clubface impacts the ball at the sweet spot.
Hitting the sweet spot also improves your ball accuracy a lot.
Failure to properly hit the golf ball means that your club’s kinetic energy won’t be effectively transferred from the club to the ball.
The sweet spot means hitting the ball with the clubface center. Focus on hitting midway between the toe and heel.
Most players, unfortunately, forget that the sweet spot between your club’s crown and sole also matters.
Your tee is an accessory that will help you hit fantastic drivers when appropriately used.
Do you want to hit award-winning drivers?
Then master your tee height.
How does the tee height affect your shot?
Tee heights affect your attack angle.
Teeing too high causes,
- A shallow attack angle
- Your ball to achieve great height but little carry
- Poor ball direction.
On the other hand, teeing too low causes,
- A steep attack angle.
- Your ball will have little height and more carry.
- Poor smash factor.
- Loss of direction
According to research by America’s top 100 golf teachers, a tee height of 1.5 inches above the ground is the best.
If half of your ball peeks over the crown of your club at address, then that’s a good tee height.
What’s in your swing speed? Everything
Look at the numbers.
On average, a pro golfer swings at 115 mph, compared to a handicapper at 93 mph.
Do you still wonder why pros hit further than amateurs? The answer is right there.
Your clubhead speed is directly related to the distance your driver will achieve.
Generally, faster swings carry the furthest.
Look at the graph below to understand the relationship between distance and swing speeds.
To improve your swing speed and achieve great drivers, consider the following,
- Invest in the right equipment. If you’re a beginner, invest in beginner-friendly clubs like the Taylormade M2 driver, Callaway Big Bertha driver, or the Cobra Fly -Z driver.
Unfortunately, most beginners invest in top-of-the-range, expensive clubs that are more advanced than their skill level.
Use a club with a flexible and light shaft that accelerates your swing speed, such as the AccuFLEX Assassin World champion golf shaft.
Your technique is everything when seeking to generate high swing speeds.
To improve your swing technique, start with your swing basics.
How fluid is your swing?
A fluid swing will generate more momentum than a jerky swing?
Focus on having a complete, smooth, and full rotation of your shoulders, hips, and knees to generate the best swing speed.
Another cool trick of increasing swing speeds is by focusing on your downswing.
Accelerate in the region between your hips and ball to improve swing speeds.
Fitness affects your swing speed a lot
Bigger, fitter players have higher swing speeds compared to smaller players.
Improve the muscle mass to your glutes, abdominals, back, wrist, and forearm to increase swing speed.
Golf flexibility refers to how much your joints, muscles, and tendons stretch without causing you discomfort or pain.
Being flexible allows your body to stretch fully and generate high swing speeds.
Applying these few tips will increase your swing speed which will improve your ball carry and height.
Step by step guide on hitting a great driver
To hit a great driver, focus on the following areas.,
You need a perfect setup if you want success with your driver.
For a good set up follow these steps.
Improve Your stance.
A good posture improves your stability, your attack angle and boosts your swing speed.
To adopt a good stance, spread your feet, flex your knees and keep your spine straight.
Tilt your shoulder slightly.
Your lead shoulder should be somewhat higher than your trail shoulder. This will improve your attack angle and ensure that you hit the ball on the upswing.
Distribute your weight.
Having 60% of your weight on the trail foot and 40% on the lead foot is advisable when starting.
Relax your grip.
Your wrist movement affects your driver.
If your grip is too firm, it will close down your clubface and vice versa if your grip is too weak.
A good grip will have your trail hand grasping the thumb of your lead hand.
Check your ball position.
Ensure that your ball is forward of the midline closer to your lead foot.
This ball positioning is essential for hitting the ball on a positive attack angle.
A positive attack angle is crucial to increase your ball’s height and backspin, allowing it to travel further.
Check your tee position.
Your tee changes your attack angle. A lower tee makes your attack angle steeper leading to less loft and more distance.
On the other hand, a higher tee makes your angle too shallow, leading to a higher loft and less distance.
It’s essential to set the correct tee height.
It takes a lot of work to perfect your golf swing, but once you master the art of a good swing, you’ll be hitting great drivers all the time.
Follow the steps to perform an excellent swing.
- Start your shot high. A good driver shot starts from shoulder height. This will enable you to generate enough speed and energy for your ball.
- Distribute your weight. When starting, have 60% of your weight on your trail foot and 40% on your lead foot.
- Swing your club with speed, accelerating in the region between your hips and ball
Accelerating in this section allows you to strike the ball with maximum swing velocity and maintain your tempo. Ensure that you catch the ball on the upward stroke.
To maximize your shot, hit on the club’s sweet spot.
Pro tip – Perform a couple of dry runs before taking your shot. This will allow you to get into the groove and hit a good driver.
Commit to your shot and maintain an even tempo throughout your swing. This will improve your smash factor, allowing you to hit the ball with the maximum impact.
Perform a complete turn in your swing. Make sure that you finish with high hands.
Swivel your hips, knees, and your back during the shot. Don’t overdo anything. Having a controlled swing will help you achieve a longer and more accurate driver.
Mastering the art of hitting a good driver takes a lot of time and practice in the range but is well worth the sacrifice.
A driver sets the tone of your whole game.
Hitting a good driver will get you closer to the hole and ensure that your subsequent shot is more straightforward.
Master the basics of playing a good driver, and your game will improve significantly.
How do you hit a straight driver?
A good driver should always have great carry and accuracy. A golf ball without direction will always be a liability and may cost you strokes, especially if the ball lands on hazards.
Do the following to hit a straight driver.
- Pick a target point. Use a closer object along the same path with your target as a reference point and aim your ball towards it.
- Align your feet parallel to your target
- Take an even swing while maintaining your tempo, and hit a straight shot.