Good Driving Depends on Good Positions

PGA.com
By
David Rihm, PGA

Problem Area: Off The Tee
Series: Instruction Feature

Hitting solid tee shots with the driver is very important to playing and scoring well. The tee shot sets up the hole. Hitting a good tee shot gets you into position to play an easy second shot to the green, while a poor tee shot puts you into trouble and forces you to scramble the rest of the hole. The following are a couple of ideas that may help you in hitting more of your tee shots in those "good positions."

Angle of attack: While it is desirable to hit down on the ball with most every club in your bag, that is not the case with your driver. A properly hit shot with a driver is one in which the club strikes the ball with the club traveling parallel to the ground or slightly on the upswing. This will produce a ball flight that is slightly flatter and have a more "boring" trajectory. The ball will have very little backspin on it thus producing a longer shot. Two things that may help you in achieving the correct angle of attack are:

1. The position of the ball in your stance should be placed further forward than any other club in your bag. The ball should be even with your left heel or instep.

2. At address, start with more weight on your right side. Doing this will give you a shallower arc that travels parallel to the ground longer through the impact area. With your driver, at address about 65-70 percent of your weight should be on the right side.

Change of direction: A very critical point in the golf swing is at the top of the backswing. It is here that the club changes direction from back to forward. This transition must be a smooth and gentle motion. I see too many golfers who get to the top of the swing and make a violent first move into the forward swing in an effort to hit the ball hard. This quick motion to hit the ball hard with the hands throws off the timing in your arm swing and weight transfer to your left side. In effect, your hands get ahead of your arms and legs, which results in you getting way out of position, which will lead to very inconsistent shots.

To overcome this "hit it hard" impulse, the next time you are at the driving range try this out: Start with a 6- or 7-iron and work on hitting consistent shots that travel a comfortable distance for you. Now take out your driver and swing at the same speed as you were with the iron. Learn to swing within yourself and not to try to overpower the ball with a hard, violent motion. By learning how to make smooth, evenly paced swings, you will make solid contact more often which will result in better overall driving.


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