Almost every beginning golfer wants to learn how to hit a driver before any other club in their bag. While wedges are called “scoring clubs” and you hit your putter more than twice as many times as any other club, the driver is definitely the most exciting.
Even just saying the phrase “grip it and rip it” (a phrase that we do not believe describes the most successful driving technique) makes me want to go launch a few at the range right now.
On top of that, there is nothing on the golf course that can psych you up and psych your opponent out like driving the ball 50 yards past their tee shot. If I’m being honest, there are times I would almost rather outdrive my friends than I would out play them.
Our goal is that after reading this tutorial and putting our advice and expertise on how to hit a driver to the test, you will get as much joy out of driving as we do. As fun as hitting a good drive is, there is not much on the golf course that is more annoying than not being able to get the ball in play off of the tee.
This tutorial will give you the building blocks you need to hit your driver long and in play as often as possible.
Step By Step Instructions
1. Check Your Equipment
The best thing that you can do before you even step out onto the course is to make sure you have the right equipment. There are drivers that are made specifically for beginners with features such as an offset head, extra forgiveness, and higher loft. There are golf balls that spin less and go farther. The bottom line is to find the right equipment to help your game. Here are 2 articles about drivers and balls for beginners:
2. Find Your Target
One mistake a lot of beginners make from the tee box is that they just hit the ball without a specific target. They “hope” the ball ends up on or near the fairway and a long way away from where they hit it. To get more consistent drives, pick a spot on the fairway and try to hit it. Remember the saying, “aim small, miss small” and do not make the entire fairway your target. Pick something reasonable and attainable and aim for it.
3. Pick a Spot in The Tee Box
In case you didn’t know, you don’t have to tee your drive up in the center of the tee box. Decide not only where you want the ball to end up, but also how you want it to get there. If you want to end up on the right side of the fairway, tee up on the left side of the tee box and try to fade the ball there. A couple of yards left or right in the tee box can make a huge difference in how you shape your shot and reach your destination.
The way you setup to take your shot has a lot to do with how well you hit the ball. Here are some things to take into consideration:
- Tee the ball high.
- Set your feet slightly more than shoulder width apart with both feet slightly open.
- Put the ball in the front of your stance off of your front foot.
- Set your hands back so that your club face is pointing up at the ball.
- Tilt your shoulders back to help you hit up at the ball.
Your first instinct will be to put a death grip on the club and swing as hard as you can. The trick is to have a firm grip for control and stability but not a death grip that adds tension to your forearms. Relax and let the grip be natural and athletic.
Think “Low and Away” when it comes to your takeaway. Keep the club head low as you pull it back and remember that you are going to want to come from the inside out most of the time.
Here’s a great video from the guys over at Athletic Motion Golf breaking down the takeaway with Gears technology:
7. Make a Full Turn
The term “shoulder turn” refers to the movement of the shoulders and upper body throughout the entire swing. Your club should be perpendicular at the top of your backswing so that you get the most distance with the best control.
8. Smooth Downswing
We all make the mistake of trying to “kill” the ball by swinging the club as hard as we can. The key is to neither rush or over swing your club through contact. Take your time and swing at a rate that you can control enough to make solid and consistent contact. Remember at setup your hands are back and your shoulders are tilted, so that when you get to your downswing you can swing up at the ball.
Check out this video from Chris Ryan Golf for a great beginner’s tutorial called “How To Hit A Driver”:
4 Keys To Becoming a Good Driver of The Golf Ball
1. Take Lessons
Taking lessons can do a lot of things for your golf game. It is really difficult for a PGA teaching pro to critique and fix their own swing, and it is even more difficult for a beginner to do that. Take a couple of lessons to start with so that you know you are not doing anything detrimental to your game and so you can mimic the lessons and instructions given in your own life.
2. Practice, Practice, Practice
You do not get better at golf by practicing basketball. You get better by playing and practicing as much as you can. You will never be perfect, but doing the right drills and practicing the right swing can improve your game immensely.
3. Limit Yourself to 1 or 2 Swing Thoughts
When I first started playing, it was really difficult for me to shut off my brain to all of the advice I had ever been given in golf.
Swing “inside/out,” look at the ball, don’t over swing, get your club perpendicular to your spine, etc. are all pieces of advice that could be running through your game on every drive.
The truth is that you cannot fix everything about your golf game all at once. Work on 1 thought or piece of advice that you were recently given about your swing, and forget about everything else.
If you start thinking about all the advice you had ever been given about how to hit a driver, you will never hit your driver well.
4. Be Smooth
First and foremost, your golf swing is an athletic move. You can definitely see the difference between an athletic/natural swing and a golf swing that was manufactured by training, videos, or a coach.
Be smooth with your game and your swing and let it be natural and athletic, kinda like this guy:
Final Thoughts On How To Hit A Driver
In his Little Red Book, Harvey Penick wrote that the 3 most important clubs, in order, are putter, driver, and wedge. Your driver is what gets the majority of your holes started, and how you start a hole has a lot to do with how you finish it.
Do not practice hitting your driver at the expense of every other club in your bag, but your driver is not only one of the most important clubs in your bag, it is also the most fun if you know how to hit it.
It can also be the most frustrating if you do not learn how to hit it, and hopefully you learned a little more about How To Hit a Driver by reading along with this tutorial.
If you enjoyed this article and if you learned something that you are going to take with you on the course soon, share what you learned in the comment section. Also post some pictures of you with your driver and let us know how far and how straight you have been hitting them!