In many ways, the driver can be considered the most important club in the bag. After all, without a good drive you are left to scramble the rest of the hole. It doesn’t matter how good your iron shots are if you are always punching out from the trees. Splitting the fairway with accuracy and distance sets you up you score well, and actually makes the rest of the game easier. So how to you gain control and consistency with your driver? The following four tips are a great place to start.
Learn Your Patterns. One easy way to hit more fairways is to simply observe your natural tendencies and learn to adjust for them. Rather than fighting a slight fade on your tee shots, plan for the fade when aiming your drive and let it curve gently into the fairway. Obviously if you have a severe hook or slice, you need to address the underlying problems. However if you just hit a slight curve on way or the other, you can plan for it and use it to your advantage.
Slow Down. In a rush to hit the ball as hard as possible, many golfers hurry through their swings and destroy their tempo in the process. The driver is the longest club in the bag; therefore the driver swing should be the longest as well. To help your tempo on the course, try making some exaggerated slow-motion swings before your actual shot. Remind yourself that the only part of the swing that needs to be fast is the bottom where the club hits the ball. The rest of the swing should be smooth and easy to keep you on plane and on balance.
Think Baseball. Since the golf ball is on a tee when you hit it with a driver, you swing should be more rounded off than a swing made for an iron shot. Knowing that, imagine your driver swing to be more like a baseball swinging motion than a golf shot. Take some practice swings at an imaginary ball that is waist high to engrain that feeling. When you go back to hitting your regular shot, feel like your hands are in a position close to your back shoulder during the backswing, as opposed to being up by your ear.
Stronger Grip. Many golfers have trouble getting the driver to fully release through impact, resulting in a slice. To combat that problem, turn your grip into a stronger position. For a right handed golfer, that means rotating your left hand in a clockwise manner around the grip. At address you should be able to see at least 3 of the knuckles on the back of your left hand. Once you find that position successfully, place your right hand on the club so it comfortably matches up with your left.
After a short time working on these tips, you may find the driver to be your favorite club in the bag. There is no need to fear hitting your drive on each hole – spend the time practicing proper techniques and you will be right down the middle time after time.