Hitting ‘Em Straight: 5 Golf Driving Tips That Also Cut Strokes
Driving them long saves strokes. So, does hitting them straight. Finding the fairway keeps you out of rough and the woods. Plus, it sets you up for easier and better approach shots. That can generate more birdies and pars.
But hitting them straight is easier said than done. Even the best of golfers can push or pull tee shots during a round. Mistakes like that can pack strokes onto your scores. The key to hitting them straight, however, is returning the club shaft to its original shaft line at address.
That’s the imaginary line created between a golfer’s hands and the grounded clubface at address. If the swing is too far above this line, you’ll pull the shot. If the swing is too far below the line, you’ll push it. To hit drives straight, you need to return the club shaft as much as possible on that line.
Below are five golf driving tips that keep you on the straight and narrow. Ingrain all of them or some of them, whichever approach helps your game. They’ll help shrink your scores and your golf handicap:
1. Balance is Critical
Balance is critical when hitting driver. It ensures you make solid contact. To maintain proper balance, keep your center of gravity centered, throughout your backswing. Then, move it aggressively forward toward the target. Whatever you do, don’t let your weight shift to your back foot. Here’s a drill to keep you centered:
Take your normal stance. Then brace your golf bag against your back leg. Now make some practice swings without pushing into the bag on your backswing. If you brush against it, you’ve swayed. This swing flaw can cost you strokes.
Now move the bag to your front foot. Brace the bag so it’s even with your front shoe. But leave a little extra space between your shoe and the bag. That way your front leg can move slightly toward the target and become perpendicular to the ground. Take some practice swings without touching the bag.
2. Keep your swing width wide
Swing width is critical to keeping your club shaft on plane. Lose width in your backswing and you’ll struggle to bring the club back to its original plane. Weekend golfers often take the club outside the shaft line. That results in slice and pulls. Here’s a drill that teaches you to maintain swing width:
Using a 7-iron, assume your usual address position. Now swing the club back with just your trail arm. Try to maintain a 90-degree angle between your forearm and upper arm. Look back when the club is at the top. Make the changes need to achieve at least a 90-degree angle if it’s not there when you look.
3. Stop at the top
Taking the time to stop at the top of your backswing is crucial. It gives your body time to get back in the perfect hitting position. Don’t stop too long, though. It should only be a brief pause, not a long drawn out stoppage.
A brief pause lets your body gather power and the club to switch directions. It also lets you fall into the perfect slot position for the downswing. Here’s an exercise that can help you:
Next time you’re at the practice tee, take some practice swings. Pause for a second when you reach the top before swinging down. Count to yourself “One. Two.” Then come forward.
Increase swing speed on the downswing, with the fastest part coming at the swing’s bottom. Now hit five balls using the same sequence of words. If it’s earlier than what it should be, you may be trying to muscle the shot. Keep practicing this golf drill until you’ve ingrained the move
4. Use a sweeping motion
Spin rate is critical when hitting a ball off the tee. A high spin rate is the enemy of good shots. Sure, some spin rate keeps the ball on line and in the air. But too much spin rate generates weak shots that float high and come up short.
Hit your driver with a sweeping motion instead of a downward angle lowers spin rate, which ensures a better, more penetrating ball flight.
5. Keep back shoulder passive
Your back shoulder is critical to a good swing. It must remain somewhat passive during the swing to hit the ball straight. It also must work downward as you start down on the shot. Keeping your shoulder passive ensures that the club returns to its original shaft line at impact.
To feel the role your back shoulder plays as you start down, grab a club with your right hand (left hand for left-handers) only. Take the club back to the top. Then place your opposite hand on your back shoulder.
Swing down. As you do, try to prevent the back shoulder from rotating out toward the target. Instead, drop it down toward the ball and swing one-handed. Repeat the process until the feel is ingrained.
Ingraining all or some of the golf driving tips in your swing helps you keep the club shaft on plane when coming down. That, in turn, helps you hit the ball with the right spin rate and on the club’s sweet spot.
More importantly, our golf driving tips help you return the club to its original shaft position at address. That produces a straighter shots that find the fairway and cut strokes off your scores and golf handicap. It will also help you break 80.
Use These Golf Driving Tips to Break 80 Consistently
Gaining distance off the tee is simple. So is hitting more fairways. To do both, you need first to master the basics of solid ballstriking. Then, you need to increase your clubhead speed. Golfers that do those two things start belting drives farther and straighter than ever.
But if you’re like many weekend golfers, your ballstriking frustrates you. You know you should be hitting the ball better and harder, but you’re just not getting it done. So instead of your driving game being an asset, it’s a weakness.
Below are ten often overlooked golf driving tips that can help turn your driving game into an asset. They’ll help you boost your ballstriking to pro levels:
- Widen your stance
- Tilt your shoulders back
- Use more loft on your club
- Set up with more weight on your trail foot
- Establish width early in your swing
- Hit the ball slightly above the ball’s equator
- Rotate and turnaround hips
- Raise your front heel
- Turn your head in your backswing
- Pre-set your hips so you can turn around them.
You should also train with a heavier club and a lighter club. The average swing speed for a weekend golfer with a 15 handicap is 93 mph. The average swing speed for a pro is 113 mph. Training first with a lighter club and then with a heavier club can help you cut the difference in swing speed down quite a bit. Below is a drill to help you do that:
Lighter/Heavier Club Golf Drill
Swing a lighter club (alignment stick) five times quickly as fast as you can. Use your regular golf stance. Focus on accelerating through your downswing and creating a loud “swoosh” after the alignment stick has passed the impact point.
Next, swing a heavier club five times quickly as fast as you can. Using two irons together is a lot heavier than swinging an alignment swing. Your 6- and 7-irons are good for this drill. Switch between the lighter club and the heavier club several times.
Do this drill as often as you can. It will increase swing speed. So, will incorporating all or some of the golf driving tips we’ve provided in your swing. That will boost your ballstriking and help you drive the ball farther and straighter. Doing that can shave strokes off your scores and help you break 80.
Ingrain these Golf Driving Tips to Maximize Distance off the Tee
You can read all the golf driving tips in the world. But if you don’t practice them, you won’t ingrain them. And if you don’t ingrain them, you won’t find them helpful. The best way to ingrain these golf tips is by practicing golf drills like the two below:
The first golf drill below ingrains the skills you need to drive the ball farther and straighter:
Line up four balls in a row about 4 inches apart. Now hit each one with your driver. After you hit the last shot, check your tees:
- If the tee is leaning forward, you hit too high on the ball. This type of swing leads to thin contact and worm-burners.
- If the tee is out of the ground, your downswing was too steep. This type of swing leads to pop-ups and fat shots.
- If the tee looks like it did when you first stuck it in the ground, you made a level swing—the key to consistent contact.
Repeat the drill until the tees never move.
The second golf drill teaches you how to hit the ball on the upswing when hitting from the tee box:
To hit the ball on the upswing, your center of gravity must be behind the ball. Place a headcover or golf towel about 12 inches to 18 inches in front of a ball on a tee. Now, take a swing. You should be able to hit the ball without hitting the headcover.
Once you’re proficient at this distance, you can move the headcover back a few inches toward the ball. Then, hit some more balls. You should be able to hit them without your driver touching the headcover.
If it hits it, you’re swinging down and through the ball, not up and around. As with the previous drill, repeat the exercise until you’ve ingrained the golf driving tips it teaches.
Learning these golf driving tips will help you hit the ball farther and straighter. That, in turn, can help you chop strokes off your golf scores and golf handicap.