For many years it has been clear to me that the driver is the most important club in the bag. Not the putter? No! The putter is important for sure, but it’s the driver that gives the putter its chance to shine. If your not a great driver of the golf ball and can’t put your ball in play off the tee, it’s very unlikely that your putter can save you – and certainly not if you go to the “well” too often.
Develop The Tools To Become A Great Driver of The Golf Ball
Learning to hit a driver properly can be a complex endeavor indeed, because when the ball is teed up, it is easy to apply power in a far less than ideal manner, and compensate in a number of ways. Most players flex their shoulders and arms to some degree in the downswing, causing the swing-path to back-up (move away from the target) and the bottom of the arc moves several inches behind the ball. If the ball is teed up, it can be hit past the bottom of the swing arc as the club starts up in the follow through.
It is easy to block (ball goes right) or pull the shot when this occurs unless some manner of compensation is made to offset the swing-plane change.
Ideally, the ball should be struck with a driver barely past the bottom of the arc, from a slightly inside attack path. The club head should be in a state of free pronation (closing) without any wrist tension throttling the release through impact.
The More Demanding A Drill Is, The Higher Level of Mechanics It will Build
At our golf schools we have several great drills for learning to properly swing a driver, and one of the most demanding is to learn to hit your driver off the “deck” (no tee). Doing this with good results requires high quality mechanics, and forces the player to find the swing-plane that is ideal for their own body. Modern day 460cc driver heads are not only deep faced, they have a relatively high center of mass. This makes them very difficult to hit off the ground unless your swing mechanics are of the highest quality. This fact is exactly why you should practice doing this, as it will cause ideal technique to develop in your swing. Here is the way you should practice your driver. Put your ball right on the ground, NOT on a tee.
Start by making some practice swings right over the top of the ball, not out to the side of it as we traditionally do when playing. Swing with as much speed as you can generate with your counter-fall (see our web-site for explanation) and mass rotation, not with your shoulders and arms. Next, swing with the same speed and try to clip the paint off the top of the ball. It takes great swing-path control to swing a driver at full speed and hit the ball less than three feet. Once you can accomplish this, increase your forward spine angle slightly and begin cutting deeper into the ball. Try to take the top fourth of it, then half, then three quarters.
The Subtleties That Become Known
By now you will begin to strike the ball solidly. Continue swinging at full speed and start trying to draw the ball. To draw a driver off the ground, the wrists must be totally tension free at impact. If you try to generate great speed by using shoulder and arm strength, you will either hit the ground behind the ball, or top it. Drawing a driver off the ground at full swing speed, requires you to be in your ideal swing-plane, and to make a tension free release. This is exactly why you should practice doing this.
Once you become proficient at this drill, it is very easy to hit a driver off of a tee. When the ball is teed up, you should feel as if it is still sitting on the ground when you swing. Do not try to hit the ball by swinging up at it.
This is a fabulous drill to practice on the golf course. When you can rip your driver off the deck and draw it on the golf course, you will have developed great swing technique with your driver – believe me! The ability to hit solid, controlled shots off the ground with the driver, is just like having a fifteenth club in your golf bag.
If you have too much difficulty doing this, come visit one of our golf schools and we will teach you to become a great driver of the ball!