As a beginner in golf, there are fewer things more daunting than trying to hit a driver. It’s the first shot you approach and the desire to have a good first outing can cause players to overthink things, get too nervous, and forget all the basics they’ve learned at the driving range.
Driving is a fundamental part of golf, so the sooner you learn the basics of hitting a driver the better your overall game becomes – just imagine the advantage you get from being able to hit a rocket of a driver down the fairway on each hole!
Of course, with so many things to remember and lots of mistakes to avoid, trying to properly hit a driver can be very difficult!
How to Hit a Driver – Useful Tips for Beginners
If you are struggling to hit a driver then be sure to check out some of these handy tips for beginners!
Setting Body Stance and Ball Position
Any good shot starts with the stance, so for a driver, you want a stance with feet slightly wider than the shoulders, as more width means a longer swing is possible for the drive.
The position of the ball is important too. It should be aligned with your target, so it helps to visualize a straight line between the ball and the desired target.
Many make the mistake of setting the ball in the middle of their stance, instead, you should place it inside the heel of your stronger foot. This is because a driver requires the ball to be further forward in the stance so that longer club meets it flush.
It’s All About the Balance
One of the most important basics for how to hit a driver is your balance. Players have a tendency to try and hit the driver with the maximum power they can generate, hoping that hitting the ball hard enough will result in more distance.
However, this causes most players to lose their balance, especially on the backswing, so you want to try and maintain the right balance throughout the shot. Proper balance always results in more distance compared to hitting it at maximum strength!
So, try to maintain a center of gravity towards the middle of your stance as you make your backswing to keep your balance.
Once one the downswing, you can turn up the aggression! Don’t make the mistake of placing all your weight on the rear foot during the backswing though, as this will lower your accuracy and power.
Try to keep all weight focused on the center throughout the backswing, avoiding swaying to the right or left.
Don’t Rush Your Swing
Another common mistake players make is rushing the driver swing. There should be the slightest of pauses at the top of the swing, which helps gather the body and guide the club in the desired direction on the downswing.
Rushing the backswing means less power is generated, so its something you want to avoid, and pausing at the top of the swing helps with this.
Also, you’re more likely to slice the shot with a rushed swing, so always take your time and don’t feel rushed. Most people find it easier to swing after a swinging the club back and forth a few times, as this helps to loosen up and avoid locking up when hitting the ball.
The goal here is to feel loose and comfortable so that you hit a better swing.
Use a Sweeping Motion
Always use a sweeping motion when hitting a driver shot and avoid using a downward angle like with an iron.
Drivers that are hit with a downward angle generate too much backspin, causing the ball to go higher into the air rather than achieving maximum distance.
Using a sweeping motion should help to avoid generating too much backspin, ensuring your drive shot isn’t too lofted and generates lots of distance.
Clearing the Hips
This is the process of using a hip turn during a downswing to help generate more speed and further distance on the ball. You want to clear the hips rather than trying to furiously swing your arms at the ball.
To do this, try moving the hips towards the intended target just after the pause at the top of the backswing. During the movement, your weight remains on the back foot throughout the backswing, transferring to the front foot after striking the ball on the downswing.
Try to feel the weight move from one foot to the other as you swing and strike the ball, as this means the hips are properly rotating and generating additional power. Moreover, it helps to perform more consistent strikes, so it’s well worth practicing.
Don’t Forget to Pick a Target
It’s important to focus on a target, as aimlessly swinging without a purpose isn’t going to improve your driver, especially when hitting off the tee.
The idea is to have a specific target to help you focus. With this in mind, you can work on getting the right stance and swing relative to your target, letting you see how effective or ineffective your technique is.
For example, if you want to reach a certain distance on the fairway, consider focusing on a specific tree and trying to reach it with a driver.
You now have a single target to focus on, so use this to visualize a straight line between the target and the ball, which should hopefully result in more attention to your stance and swing, helping to improve technique over time.
How to Hit a Driver Straight
It’s worth noting that as a beginner, you should always focus on improving your form and technique before worrying about how straight the ball travels. Once your driver becomes more consistent and you are hitting good distances, you can start to think about how to hit a driver straight.
Moreover, if you work on your technique and balance, you’ll find that straight shots are much easier to achieve, so it helps to work on the fundamentals before focusing too much on hitting it straight.
When trying to hit a driver straight always focus on the position of the clubface when it strikes the ball. You want the ball to impact the square clubface!
With an open clubface, you’ll probably slice the ball, while an open clubface typically results in a hook, so always aim for square on the clubface to try and hit a driver straight.
How to Draw with a Driver
The draw is one of the most desired shots in all of golf. It looks awesome, travels further, and moves the ball from left to right, making it an invaluable technique that will significantly improve your game.
Of course, being such a useful technique means that learning to hit a draw with a driver isn’t the easiest!
That said, it’s not impossible to learn how to draw with a driver, with the process being much easier once you understand the basics of the shot.
With a draw, you need to align yourself properly, which is to the right of the intended target. This may sound strange but you’re going to create sidespin that moves the ball from right to left, which is why you aim to the right of the target.
Keep shoulders, feet, club all aligned to the right!
Next, you want to adjust the direction of the clubface so that it now closed.
At this point the left hand is going to be behind the club, so move this back round so that you see three knuckles on the grip.
Now, swing along the line of your body, following through on the downswing. Don’t overexert though, as a smooth motion helps to avoid overhitting the shot, which opens the clubface and slices the shot.
If your club direction remained aligned with your body (to the right of the intended target) and you closed the clubface, then you should create sidespin and see the ball move from right to left as it travels through the air.
You may find it is easier to practice a draw using a five iron, as this gives more control over the ball and the technique is the same as hitting with a driver.