Increase Your Odds Of Being Less Terrible With A Driver With These Five Easy Steps

Nicholas Carlson wins the Water Jug

Photo: Jay Yarow (whom I beat, but only because of my huge handicap)

If like me you play golf, you are probably, like me, terrible at hitting the driver.I mean this respectively speaking, of course.

You and I stink in comparison to pros and low-handicappers, the show-offs.

Despite this frailty, I remain addicted to the game, and through much trial and error, reading of golf magazines, and lessons, I have discovered five simple things I can do in the teebox to, if not insure the accuracy and length of my drives, at least modestly improve the odds that the ball is going to go a ways out and remain playable on the second shot.

Here are those five tips:

Stand close enough to the ball. Lots of high-handicappers like me tend to stand too far away from the teed-up ball. Stand close enough that your arms are going straight down from your shoulders when you are holding the handle.

Choke down on the club. Drivers are hard to hit because the shafts are too long. Make them shorter by choking down. This will shorten your distance, but was I going to hit it 280 yards anyway? Maybe, but into the trees.

Ground the club after lining up the sweet spot. Before taking your backswing, rehearse the last few inches of your swing before impact, lining up the ball with the middle of your club face, aka the “sweet spot.” Hold the face right behind the ball and then put the club head on the ground. This is a kind of calibration that helps me hit the middle of the club face – or at least, the club face – when I swing. 

Hold your posture on backswing and swing. The more moving parts my swing has, the more likely I am to screw one of them up. So I try to keep my head and hips still on my backswing, and rotate on my spinal axis. I move my hips on my swing/follow-through, but not my head. I swear I have hit the ground behind my ball fewer times since I started doing this!

Swing with tempo. When I swing, I swing with a “one and two” count, reaching the full height of my backswing just at “and.” I have no idea why this works, but it does. (When I say “works” I mean “makes my drives less consistently awful.”)

Sources: I’ve read about all this stuff before, in Golf Digest, Golf, and Golf World.

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