Do you want to dominate your golf game with the driver? Think long and accurate. These two words are the key to any shot you make off the tee when facing a par 4 or 5. Players on the PGA Tour and European Tour know precisely what to do to achieve these two goals. Here you have some of our best tips. Take note of them.
In the 1970s, multiple winner Jack Nicklaus was noted for the distance on his tee shots. How did he manage to hit long with the driver? “The Golden Bear” started from an apparent premise: it aimed at a specific place on the fairway. Then, with solid fundamentals, he would start his whole routine with the driver. It seems obvious, but that early routine, that predetermined goal, and a consistent swing allowed Nicklaus to dominate driving shots like no one else.
The distance with the driver allowed Nicklaus to be one step ahead of the rest. No wonder why he is the biggest winner of major tournaments, with six Masters, five PGA Championships, four US Opens, and three Open Championships.
And nowadays everything seems to continue to be distance. And just look at Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy, Cameron Champ, and Brooks Koepka, to name a few PGA Tour figures. They all hit the driver very hard, making the courses seem shorter and shorter. How do they hit this long with the driver? They put into practice several of the tips that we are about to share with you.
Alignment, body posture, and ball position
All golf shots require correct alignment and good body posture. What is sure is that the swing with the driver (because it is wider) leads you to the possibility of making more mistakes and missing shots more easily. For now, keep in mind the position of the feet, more open than usual. Then club your butt out a bit more by straightening your spine. Also, place the ball closer to the heel of the left foot (right foot for left-handed players).
By placing the ball closer to the left foot, you want 70% of your weight to be behind the ball at impact. You will take 90% of the weight to the right side in the backswing, taking the club out slowly. It is very important that the weight transfer is done with rhythm and the feet planted firmly on the ground.
Location on the tee box
Taking Nicklaus’ example, you need to know where to stand on the tee to aim well. In addition, you must understand that the shot with the driver is the only one that is made using a tee. The height you will put is fundamental at the moment of the ball’s impact. Ideally, the angle of attack is upwards, which allows for more extraordinary ball flight and greater distance.
A slow start
Undoubtedly, the moment before hitting a tee shot with the driver is accompanied by a certain tension. And that pressure is especially felt in the hands. What is the tip to avoid jerking the club on the backswing? Very simple: have a swing trigger. Several preliminary movements will help you reduce anxiety. For example, you can move the club in the direction of the ball over and over again, like a trigger. Also, you can do the same with your feet until you feel that you are in a comfortable position before igniting the backswing. The important thing is that all these movements are in harmony. It also helps to focus on two or three things to accomplish before beginning the swing and keep your mind as straightforward as possible.
The driver’s distance and power arise from a correct rotation in the backswing. Know that you have to turn your shoulders at least 90 degrees. A good drill is to have your left shoulder touch your chin at the start of the backswing. It also helps in the rotation to slightly lift the heel of the left foot (right one in the case of lefties). And remember: always pulling the club back slowly.
It is essential to feel yourself moving sideways as you rotate your hips. When the downswing begins, you have to take all the weight to the left leg. Beware: in this process, you can lose balance and have disastrous results. That is why it is imperative to be well planted with your feet in the stance. Wear golf shoes that allow you to have a comfortable and athletic position in front of the ball.
Hit the ball up
In golf, the visualization of each shot is key. In the case of the shot with your driver, you have to think that it hits past the ball’s location and upwards. A good drill is to put a club sleeve past the ball’s place on the same line of the downswing. In this way, the follow-through will be more consistent and allow you to hit the ball more solidly (and upwards).
Today’s technology makes many things in golf more manageable. There are even drivers that can be adapted to the physical structure of each golfer and their swing. With certain adjustments and weight distribution on a clubhead, anything is possible. What is certain is that the results will always be limited without a good swing.
In any case, the one who is working a lot on these technology inquiries is DeChambeau. Nicknamed “The Scientist”, he has made innovations in his golf clubs and swing for several years. The results are obvious and have alerted the world golf authorities. Perhaps in the coming months, we will have news about it. For now, follow our tips and put them into practice. You can buy everything in a pro shop except a good swing.