How to Drive a Golf Ball: Drills for Distance and Accuracy
Despite all the bravado, big talk, and shouts of “let the big dot eat!” that accompanies pulling a driver out of the bag, many players actually struggle to hit their driver straight, long, and consistently. That’s a bummer because many would agree it’s the most fun club to hit. Who wouldn’t want to hit long, straight drives repeatedly? It’s not only exhilarating but it's one of the quickest ways to lower your scores.
If you could use some extra distance, accuracy, and consistency with the driver, give these drills and techniques a try the next time you hit the driving range or golf course, and let the big dog eat.
Flat and Behind
The “Flat and Behind” technique presented by Mike LaBauve addresses distance and accuracy, more specifically, the dreaded slice.
LaBauve points out that many players try to swing their driver straight back, and straight through the ball, but are actually coming in way too steep, which causes the clubface to open, resulting in a weak slice. Whether it’s pizza or golf, nobody likes a weak slice.
Instead, LaBauve suggests, add a significant bend at the waist at address and throughout the swing, and take the club back low on the takeaway so it feels like your hands and the grip are heading towards your back pocket. On your downswing, swing through as rounded as you can and finish with the grip low through your follow-through.
If you try this drill and find that you’re topping the ball, that’s a sign you aren’t bent over far enough through impact. Repeat the process giving extra focus to the feeling of staying bent over through the entire shot.
Extra Driver Distance Technique
When you step up to the tee trying to bomb one as far as possible, there are a few things you can do differently from the normal, 85% driver swing you use when finding the fairway is the priority.
As Jim McLean demonstrates, some of these tweaks are done before you even start the swing. First, tee the ball up a little higher than usual, play it a little more forward in your stance, and tilt your spine slightly away from your target.
Start your backswing with a slow, deliberate takeaway and coil hard into your back leg. Instead of starting the downswing with as much power as you can muster, focus on getting the shaft to its finish position on your neck or shoulder quickly. This simple shift in mindset will promote a much smoother transition and downswing, and will likely result in cleaner contact.
Give No Quarter Drill
The “Give No Quarter” drill is another highly effective drill that will improve your balance throughout the swing and leave you consistently driving the ball better. This drill helps you develop a complete sense of balance and will ultimately help with every club in the bag.
First, place a quarter on your lead foot before swinging. Take your normal approach at the ball, not even thinking about the quarter. The objective is hit your driver and keep the quarter on your foot through the finish.
If the quarter remains, you have executed great balance throughout the swing. If not, then you have some work to do.
Golf is a game that’s meant to be fun. If hitting long straight drives, hole after hole sounds like fun to you, give these drills a try. Before long you’ll be able to back up all that hootin’-and-hollerin’ when you pull driver on a short par-4.
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