The key to good driving is developing proper swing mechanics rather than relying on raw power. In his “Golf Digest” article, “My Keys to Great Driving,” PGA Tour pro Rickie Fowler notes that he consistently hits his driver more than 290 yards, despite standing just 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighing 150 pounds. Good driving isn’t all about distance. For the average golfer, hitting the ball 200 yards down the middle of the fairway is better than smoking a drive 250 yards and ending up in the rough.
Grip the club lightly. A tight grip will also tighten your arm muscles and rob your swing of power.
Tee the ball up so half the ball sits above the top edge of your driver’s clubface when you’re in the address position. Play the ball opposite your front heel. You’ll want the clubhead to be travelling on an upward arc just before you make contact.
Employ a relatively wide stance, with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart.
Start your clubhead back low and slow on the takeaway, as you would in a normal backswing. Avoid the common error of sliding your hips straight back, away from the target. Focus on rotating your hips instead.
Transfer most of your weight to your rear foot during the backswing, while turning your shoulders as far as possible.
Begin your downswing with your normal rhythm. Rushing the downswing will throw your timing off.
Shift your weight to your front foot on the downswing while rotating your hips. Allow your hands to drop naturally. In the book, "What's a Golfer to Do?" former PGA Tour great Gary Player recommends keeping your back elbow close to your body during the first half of the downswing.
Extend your arms toward the end of the downswing, but keep your hands ahead of the ball through the impact zone. Don’t flip your wrists while trying to help the ball rise into the air. If you’ve teed the ball up correctly, your natural swing path and the driver’s loft should be enough to launch the ball into the air.
Place about 80 percent of your weight over your front foot at the moment of impact. Your arms should both be straight, with your back elbow in front of your rear hip. The back of your upper hand should be square to the target line.
- Golf Digest: My Keys to Great Driving
- What's a Golfer to Do?; Ron Kaspriske and the Editors of Golf Digest
- How I Play Golf; Tiger Woods
- My 55 Ways to Lower Your Golf Score; Jack Nicklaus
- If you’re having difficulty controlling your drives, or you’re playing a course with narrow fairways, try choking up 1 or 2 inches on the club to help you control the driver, then play the ball 2 to 3 inches inside of your left heel. You can also try strengthening your grip. Former LPGA Tour standout Annika Sorenstam, quoted in "What's a Golfer to Do?" says she wanted to feel the pad of her left thumb on the top of the grip -- rather than having it angled toward her left -- when focusing on accuracy with her driver.
- If you seek more power, try angling your front foot farther toward the target at address. In his book, "My 55 Ways to Lower Your Golf Score," Jack Nicklaus recommends angling your front foot 45 degrees toward the target.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.