If you’re not hitting the driver well, you’re losing a bunch of strokes in golf. Getting better at consistently hitting your driver is a big deal for improving your golf game.
I’m a scratch golfer who wants to stay that way, and for me, it’s more important that my driver lands in the fairway than it being super long just for show.
Behind the game for years, I can tell you that the biggest mistake amateurs make when learning to hit a driver is making it more complicated than it needs to be.
If you’re ready to stop doing that and actually learn how to hit a driver straight and far, then follow me. This is just how I teach my students.
So, why is the driver so tough to handle?
First, the length of the club is a challenge. Next time you clean your golf clubs (you do clean them, right?), line them up and check their lengths. New drivers are usually around 45.75 inches long, much longer than your wedges. Longer clubs make it harder to hit the sweet spot, and swinging longer clubs can magnify swing flaws.
The bigger swing arc is another factor. A longer club needs a wider swing motion, which means more room for mistakes.
Then there’s the lower loft. Even with game-improvement drivers that have 12 degrees of loft, they’re still lower than a pitching wedge with 44 or 46 degrees of loft. Less loft means less forgiveness. Why? Low loft means less backspin and more sidespin, which makes slices and hooks easier to hit.
Now, let’s talk about the tendency to go all out when hitting the ball with a driver. Haven’t you tried to crush the ball with a driver at some point? It’s natural to want to hit it far. But that extra speed often leads to issues like excessive sidespin and inconsistency.
Here are some simple steps to improve your driver game:
Step 1: Get a Solid Stance
Since the driver gives you more swing speed and a larger arc, you need a stable stance to stay balanced while swinging. A good stance width for a driver swing is a bit wider than shoulder-width. Going too wide will mess up your weight transfer. Also, make sure your weight is balanced from left to right and from heel to toe. Having a little extra weight on the right side at setup can help you load up for a big drive, but don’t overdo it.
Step 2: Use a Neutral Grip (Unless You Slice)
Aim for a neutral grip most of the time. If you tend to slice the ball, a slightly stronger left hand is okay. But a neutral grip lets you go after the ball with full speed and consistency. For a neutral grip, your left hand should be on top of the club with your thumb down the center or slightly to the right. The right hand (for right-handed golfers) should be almost directly on top of the club. If your right hand starts moving to the back of the club, it’s too strong.
Step 3: Place the Ball Forward
Position the ball off your front foot to catch the driver on the upswing. Put it off your left heel, so you can hit the driver with a square clubface and plenty of speed. But be careful not to place the ball on the other side of your foot; you might end up hooking it.
Step 4: Tee It High
Don’t be afraid to tee the driver high. Forget the idea that hitting a low line drive goes further than a high-flying drive. That’s not true anymore. The driver’s head is 460cc, the largest in the game’s history, so use high tees. As a general rule, let about half of the golf ball be above the top of the driver when you tee it up. You’ll see more consistency and distance that way.
5 Extend The Takeaway
Because drivers these days are really long (new drivers straight out of the box are around 45.5 inches in length), you want to make sure you pull back the club smoothly to widen your swing path. For your driver, a slow and low takeaway will give you the chance to stretch it out and add some extra power. Just keep the club close to the ground as you take it back, and things will naturally fall into place.
6 Full Rotation On The Backswing
If you’re trying to smash your driver with just your hands and arms, you’re not going to get the results you want. Drivers need a complete rotation that involves turning your shoulders and hips fully. When you reach the head of your backswing, your left shoulder should be beneath your chin, and your rear should be facing away from the golf ball, Hit belt buckle pointing down the fairway. Some players get caught up in trying to hit the ball, but the key is to let your arms swing through naturally and let the ball get in the way of your swing.
7 Weight Shift At The Top
When you reach the top of your driver swing, there’s a shift that needs to happen. This shift transfers the weight from your right side (if you’re a right-handed player) and starts moving it to the left. As you move towards impact, the weight should shift to your left side. Look at any pro golfer at the point of impact, and you’ll see that they’ve pretty much shifted all their weight to the left side when they make contact. Here’s a tip: Imagine you’re stepping on your left foot right as you start your downswing. In fact, you can even practice by lifting your left foot off the ground and then stepping on it as you swing down. It’s all about getting that feeling down.
8 Stay Behind It At Impact
In that same snapshot where you see a golfer has shifted their weight to the left at impact, you’ll also notice their head is still behind the ball. This move is a game-changer. If your upper body starts moving towards the target too early, you’re likely to mess up your shot direction. Top tip: When you set up to hit, feel like there’s a wall on the left side of your forehead. As you swing through impact, avoid letting your head hit that wall. Some golfers even have a buddy hold the butt of the club against their head to practice this, but sometimes just thinking about it does the trick.
9 Follow Through and Finish High
If you can’t follow through and end up in a balanced position, risk are there are issues throughout your whole swing. Make sure you can watch your drive sail straight down the fairway while being steady on your left leg. This extended follow-through and high finish help you generate maximum clubhead speed, and it’s way more consistent than leaning back and trying to muscle the ball.
Tips For Hitting The Driver Farther Now that you’ve got the basics of driving down, let’s dive into some tips to consistently add more distance to your shots. Ensure your driver matches your swing: If your club doesn’t fit your style, you’re not getting the most out of it. Make sure you’ve got the right shaft. Tee the ball up high enough: Next time you’re at the range, hit 10 drives from a low tee (ball level with the bottom of the driver face) and 10 from a high tee (ball halfway above the driver head). You’ll likely notice the high tee shots go farther. Choose the right golf ball: Your choice of ball can make a 10-yard difference. It’s not just about premium vs. budget balls; it’s also about finding a ball that suits your distance and feel preferences. Utilize ground forces for more power: Golf experts are focusing more on how the ground affects shots. The more you engage the ground, the easier it is to generate torque and power. As you swing, feel like you’re pushing against the ground with your feet.
Don’t hold back: Forget about taking it easy on the ball. To drive well, you need to give it your all. Complete your shoulder rotation: Remember, it’s not just your arms; your shoulders and hips play a huge role in generating power. Make sure your left shoulder turns and tucks under your chin.
Work with weighted training tools
Whether you prefer using a heavy club or hitting the gym, getting stronger will lead to longer drives.
Tips For Hitting The Driver Straighter Do you ever feel like you’re stuck between hitting the driver straight or hitting it far? Well, you don’t have to choose. Follow these tips to make your long drives even more accurate. Check ball position: Set your driver up off your left heel (if you’re right-handed). Anything too forward or backward might mess with your accuracy.
Experiment with adjustability
If your driver has adjustable settings, use them. Sometimes a quick tweak can straighten out your shots.
Watch the clubface at setup
Make sure your club is square and pointed directly at your target when you address the ball. Even if you struggle with slicing, resist the urge to close the clubface too much.
Analyse your swing plane
There are lots of cool gadgets out there that help you analyse your swing. Take advantage of these tools to improve your swing plane.
Find the right driver for your swing
Trying different drivers or getting custom-fitted can help you figure out which equipment suits your swing best.
How Far Should You Drive?
Now that you’ve got the hang of driving, let’s be realistic about how far you can hit the ball. Your swing speed and where you make contact on the clubface are the big factors for distance. High-swing speed golfers who strike the center of the clubface get the most yardage. Beginner – New golfers can usually hit a driver around 200-230 yards. For women, it might be around 150-180 yards.
High Handicap – Those with higher handicaps struggle with consistency, so expect drives in the 200-230 yard range.
Mid Handicap – Mid-level players who are open with themselves hit drives around 220-240 yards. Some forgiving drivers can help with overall roll and carry.
Low Handicap – To comfortably reach low-handicap status, you’ll want to drive about 250-270 yards. These players know how to drive, but they’re fine-tuning their techniques for a few extra yards.
Professional – Pro golfers drive around 300 yards, but it depends on the player and their swing speed. Accuracy matters most at this level; they’ve all got the distance down.