How To Break 100 Lesson 7: Hitting Driver

, GolfLink Editor
Updated December 7, 2022
Man hitting driver confidently despite water hazard in play
    Man hitting driver confidently despite water hazard in play
    getty image license

Driver is the most polarizing club in golf. So many players love the adrenaline rush of the grip-it-and-rip-it mentality and the satisfaction of smoking the long drive of the day. It is arguably the most exciting shot in a round of golf. 

However, there are an equal number of golfers who keep their drivers in long-term time out. Scars from rounds past and fear of a big miss paralyze players into believing they simply can’t hit their driver. That’s too bad, because it is arguably the most exciting shot in a round of golf, and also contributes significantly to shooting lower scores.

RELATED: How To Break 100: Course Overview

In our final swing-specific lesson on your journey to breaking 100, you’ll learn how to hit your driver with confidence, and exactly what you need to do with the “big stick” to shoot your target score.

PREVIOUS LESSON: How To Break 100 Lesson 6: The Full Swing


Breaking 100 Driver Benchmarks

Breaking 100 driver benchmarks
    Breaking 100 driver benchmarks
    Nick Heidelberger

Even though the purpose of your driver is more straightforward than any other club in your bag – hit it as far as you can while keeping it in play – it’s nearly impossible to set blanket benchmarks that apply to every player. Every body has different limitations, so prescribing a blanket target distance to break 100 makes no sense. However, if you struggle to hit the ball far enough to give yourself a chance to shoot your target score, we strongly encourage you to move up a tee box or two. You should play a set of tees that enables you to hit every par 4 in two strokes without pulling off too many head covers from the fairway.

Aside from distance, there are some key checkpoints you should hit with your driver. To break 100, you should hit the fairway about 40 percent of the time, and limit penalty strokes to 4 or fewer. Data from proves that players who shoot an average score of 99.4 take an average of 4.8 penalty strokes per round. We like a little breathing room, so let’s try to keep it to 4 or less. Of course, penalty strokes can hit your scorecard anywhere on the course, but most of the time it’s the big stick that finds those penal areas, so we’re assigning your penalty benchmark to your driver.





Penalty Strokes

4 or less


How To Hit Driver

Some instructors insist that hitting driver is the same as hitting any other club, while others teach that the two are completely different swings. The truth is they are both right in certain ways. It’s undeniable that there are certain distinct differences between hitting driver and hitting irons. Your driver is longer than any other club, which leads to some setup adjustments (standing farther from the ball and more upright). With a driver, you want to hit up on the ball, where as with every other club you want to hit down on the ball, a fact that influences your shaft lean and ball position at setup.

However, once you begin your swing, hitting driver is like any other full swing with weight shift, rotation, and a nice balanced finish. The only difference – once you’ve started the swing – being that you’re intention is to hit up on the ball without the club contacting the ground.

Christopher Toulson is a great instructor to teach you how to hit your driver because he advocates hitting your driver with authority. The confidence with which you step into the tee box can make all the difference between a powerful driver of the golf ball, and a tentative one.

To set up yourself up to hit your driver successfully, Toulson instructs you to:

  • Tee your ball up so about half of the ball is above the crown of the club. This encourages you to hit the ball with an ascending blow
  • The ball should be forward in your stance, off your lead heel
  • Your stance should be wider than with any other club, and you should stand a little farther away from the ball than with any other club, given that your driver is the longest club in your bag
  • Distribute your weight evenly between both legs, or maybe 55-45, with a little extra weight on your trail leg
  • Your shaft should be perpendicular to the ground, or leaning slightly back, which also helps promote hitting the ball slightly on the upswing.
  • Great drivers share the common trait of loading their weight into the inside of their trail leg in the backswing.

How To Hit Driver Straighter

The number one flaw in all of golf is most prominent with your driver, the dreaded slice. Slicing the ball – a shot that curves uncontrollably in the direction of your dexterity – costs you penalty strokes, forces you to play from rough and behind trees and other obstacles, and robs you of distance. One of the quickest ways to shoot lower scores is to eliminate the slice from your game, and this technique from Mike LaBauve is one of the quickest ways to eliminate a slice, and hit the ball farther. Here’s how:

  • Bend down at the waist farther than you normally would
  • On your backswing, feel like you’re bringing the grip of your driver to your back pocket
  • On your downswing and finish, swing around as rounded as you can
  • If you top the ball, it’s likely you made the right swing, but simply weren’t bent over enough.

This flattens your swing, reversing the slice-inducing steep delivery. It’s also easier to control this type of swing, leading to more consistency.


Drive For Dough

Hitting your driver with confidence is a huge part of hitting it successfully. Now that you know the proper technique to hitting your driver, and great technique to hitting straighter, longer drives, you can step up to the tee with confidence every time.

NEXT LESSON: How To Break 100 Lesson 8: Common Misses and Easy Fixes