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Effective Keys For Hitting With A Driver
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Arguably one of the most difficult clubs to hit in the bag is the driver. Hitting with a driver is often the most frustrating part of the game for beginners and seasoned pros alike (i.e., Tiger Woods right now). Most golfers want to hit their driver as far as possible. Distance is everything but most average players have a hard time keeping their driver in the fairway, or in play at all. When the driver is hit purely it is the one shot in golf that is the most exhilarating. Hitting consistent drives is a key to lowering your handicap.

I have been playing golf for over 25 years and I've always tinkered with my driver swing and with new drivers trying to get that elusive straight, long, ball off the tee. I have found some effective keys that have helped me and I want to share them with you.

The Swing

When seeking help hitting with a driver people always tell you, "Just use the same swing you do with all of your other clubs." Right? There's no way possible that you can swing a driver the same way you swing a 9-iron. There should be some basic principles which are similar but the entire swing is different. The driver is the longest and heaviest (swing weight) club in the bag. You stand farther away from the ball with the driver and you are hitting the ball off a tee, not into the ground. Tempo and balance are crucial to hitting with a driver and they should be the focus of your swing thought and practice routine. Use an athletic, balanced, set up position with your feet adequately spaced apart. Most average golfers have their feet too narrow with their driver. Make a long, fluid swing with the driver; keeping in mind that the follow through is just as important as the back swing. Finish the swing with your hands high and your arms long; this will help create more distance and straighter ball flight. Don't swing harder from the back swing, swing harder just before impact. The back swing should be slow and controlled with the force being generated at impact.

Try this drill: Hold your driver upside down with your left hand (right hand for left-handed golfers). The grip should be pointing to the ground. Swing the club with your left hand only and try make a "whoosh" sound at the bottom of your swing. If you hear the "whoosh" sound at the top of your swing you're swinging too hard on the backswing and you're losing clubhead speed where it matters most; at the bottom of your swing, impacting the ball.

The Driver

Hitting with a driver should begin at the pro shop, before you even stand on the first tee. Getting custom fit for your driver will help you get the most distance and consistent ball flight out of your golf swing. Each individual golf swing is unique and therefore you cannot buy a driver off of the shelf and expect that it will be the most effective for you and your golf swing. Proper fitting should include; length, shaft flex, shaft type, club head loft, club head lie, grip size, and swing weight. It is most beneficial to have a club making professional or teaching professional help you with the fitting based on your swing and ball flight. I have personally seen the benefit of this when I finally bought a custom fit driver five years ago. I have gained considerable distance and a straighter ball flight (I previously had a constant fade) since playing with my custom driver. This will be the best money you spend on golf!

Ball Position

I have often been concerned with teeing my ball in the correct position using my feet as a reference. I recently learned a new way of thinking and it has effectively added a lot of power to my drives. When hitting with a driver, the ball should be teed just before, or right at, the lowest point of your golf swing. The easiest way to know where that point is is to align the ball with the edge of your left shoulder (for right-handed golfers). Without worrying about where your feet are, tee the ball so it is just to the edge of your left, or outside, shoulder. You may want to have a playing partner help you line up with this ball position initially until you get a feel for it. You will be amazed at much better you hit the ball through impact. Hitting with a driver that is too short or too long will eliminate the effectiveness of ball position. Get fitted (see above).

The Grip

Maintaining a good grip is perhaps more important hitting with a driver than any other club. If you have a weak grip, left thumb on top of the shaft (for right-handed golfers), you may have a tendency to slice the ball. If you have a strong grip, left thumb on the right side of the shaft, you may have a tendency to hook the ball. Either way, you are losing distance and accuracy. Start with a neutral grip position and adjust accordingly. The "V" of your left thumb and index finger should point to your right shoulder for a neutral grip. If you fade the ball, strengthen your grip, if you pull the ball to the left, weaken your grip. Change your glove and driver grip often. You cannot have a consistent ball flight hitting with a driver if the club is twisting in your hands at impact. Once the palm of your golf glove gets shiny or has a hole, it's time for a new one. If the painted areas of your grip are worn off, it's time for a new one.

Conclusion

If you implement these effective keys for hitting with a driver I guarantee you will see improvement in your distance and accuracy. They have certainly helped me get a better golf swing with my driver. Hitting your driver straighter and longer, and doing it more often, is one of the more difficult aspects of golf; but the most desirable. You can never learn enough or practice enough with your driver so get out there and start hitting the best drives of your life!


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