Golf Drills and Tips for Driving
Knowing how to drive the golf ball consistently solid is imperative for golfers who want to take their long game to the next level and lower their scores.
Shots with the driver are very volatile in the sense that any small error, whether it be a slightly open or closed clubface at impact or a strike near the bottom or top of the face, can be amplified into a disastrous result — a sky ball, a wild slice or hook, or a runner that doesn’t get more than 10 feet off the ground.
With that said, here are some (hopefully) useful tips as well as an excellent drill that will hopefully help you improve your driving.
The “5-Point-Parallel” Drill
Who this drill will help: Golfers who are struggling with overall driver consistency.
What this drill is: With driver in hand, take the proper grip and posture and align parallel to the target line. Rehearse in sequential order the five positions in which the driver shaft should be parallel to the target line: at the halfway point in the backswing, at the top of the backswing, halfway to the ball in the downswing, halfway past the ball in the downswing, and at the end of the downswing. Make a full, natural swing while trying as best as possible to hit these five positions. It can be argued that point 3 (halfway to the ball) is the most important position to be in, as a solid strike will often tend to follow.
What this drill tries to accomplish: What this drill does is help you stay on plane throughout the swing and produce a solid, straight shot (or any other desired shot shape). Rehearse the drill enough and you will start to hit the correct swing positions subconsciously.
Watch this drill in action in the video below, featuring PGA Instructors Piers Ward and Peter Finch:
Some tips for a better driving game…
Use the right driver: It’s more important than people might think to have a driver that can compliment your swing and your ball flight tendencies.
For example, if you have a slower swing with a low trajectory and spin rate, a driver with center of gravity (CG) that is positioned low and back will help you get more height on your shots and thus will likely help to improve your distance. Similarly, if you have a strong swing with trajectories and spin rates that are too high, a driver with a higher and more forward CG can improve your distance by producing lower shots with less spin.
There’s also the matter of flight shapes — drivers with draw (CG towards the heel) or fade (CG towards the toe) biases can help counteract any undesirable slice or hooks that hurt both distance and accuracy.
While lie angle is less important when it comes to drivers, shaft flex is also something to consider. A shaft that is too flexible or too stiff for your swing speed can adversely affect spin rates, trajectories and overall ball flights.
Beyond assessing your own situation and looking into drivers that help satisfy your needs, you always have the option of getting a custom driver fitting at a local golf retail location or a manufacturer fitting center. Some businesses offer fittings free of charge. A suggestion for those who are serious about their golf game and are looking for the best deal is the following:
- Get a free driver fitting.
- Read reviews of your fitted driver online.
- Look for the driver with the desired specifications (standard loft, shaft flex, etc.) online on sites like eBay, Amazon or the official manufacturer’s website and compare the best online prices with your local price.
Note that you can also have your existing clubs fit to better suit your game, although there are some specs that can only be accounted for in a from-scratch build. For comprehensive reviews of various drivers with different characteristics, I recommend checking out Golfstead’s driver reviews page.
Get your grip, posture and alignment right: I’d venture to say that this is essential, for even with the right driver you will rarely, if ever, hit the shot you want if at least one of these things is not correct. Moreover, if you play with an incorrect grip, posture or alignment long enough, you’ll start to make compensations that can further screw up your swing.
Sometimes a simple adjustment in your grip, posture or alignment can do wonders for your long game. I cover all three of these swing elements in fair detail in my popular 5 swing tips article, which you should check out if you’re interested in the solutions. In a nutshell:
- There are three effective (and common) types of grips: the weak grip, the neutral grip and the strong grip.
- You should feel like you’re in an athletic position over the ball, with a straight back and slightly flexed knees.
- Your shoulder line and your foot line should be parallel to the intended target line.
Make a smooth and controlled swing: As with the setup case above, I would recommend visiting my 5 swing tips article where I go into more detail about the backswing and downswing. In a nutshell:
- Swing in a way that works for you.
- The general idea is to rotate away from the target (ideally until your left shoulder for a right-handed golfer is just about under your chin) and swing back through the ball, all the while keeping your head level and your eye on the ball.
Heed this advice, try the drill and hopefully you’ll be able to see some positive results! Remember to check out the product review section of Golfstead for information on drivers and golf balls that will help you get the most out of your driving game.