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Driving the golf ball can be a beautiful, but intimidating, thing.
Many coaches, me included, focus on the short game, as it probably has the most direct impact on your score- especially the putting.
But I get it; a good number of you like the feeling of a good drive. There’s something to be said for striping one onto the fairway; a good drive sets up an easier to manage second shot.
So, I’ve come up with my 5 golf driving tips, all designed to help you start a hole on the right foot!
One: Lose the “Hulk Smash” attitude.
I’ve seen my fair share of golfers step up to the tee and think they need to crush the ball with everything they’ve got.
That’s the wrong mentality to have.
Now, we all have our own tendencies with swing tempo, but there’s a difference between “aggressive” and “MUST KILL”.
For the love of Pete, stop. Swing within yourself. Golf magazine tips suggest swinging with 80% of your total efficiency. I actually agree with that.
The reason is, people think swinging 100% means “swing out of your shoes”. If you throttle it back to 80%, you’ll “swing within yourself”. The swing will unfold smoothly and impact will be more on the “sweet spot”. Those are both ingredients for drives that land on the fairway.
Two: Play Your Tendency
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t swing the same every time. No one does, not even the pros.
You have to play with what you brought that day. Don’t believe me? Here’s a quote from Golf Tip Reviews:
“You are not trying to invent new swing techniques, just trying to find what works for you today”
If you’re playing a fade (or slice), use it. If you’re using a draw, use it. There’s no point fighting it- all you’re gonna do is have a bad day if you try.
The course isn’t the place to try new swing theories or figure out how to fix your slice. That’s why they invented driving ranges! Play your game the best you can, then go to the range to figure stuff out if you need to afterward.
Three: Choose the Correct Club
No, the driver isn’t always the correct answer on every tee of a par four or five.
There’s a course near me that, because of its layout, makes me leave the driver in the bag for the first three of the first four holes. Why is that? Well, the second hole is a par 3, and the fourth is a short par 4. But the first one has a “blind” drive.
What’s that? A “blind” shot is one where you can’t see the outcome. On the tee box on one, there’s a hill that’s so high you can’t see where the ball lands. For me, the safest play is a hybrid off the tee; it’s long enough to still leave me a manageable distance to the green, but I can control it enough that I’m not worried about losing it on the first friggin’ hole.
Maybe you’ll face something similar. Or, maybe you find yourself with a lot of trees lining the fairway. In these situations, you need more control- and sometimes the driver isn’t the answer.
That means that you shouldn’t be afraid to hit a fairway wood, hybrid, or even a longer iron. The driver may be the “sexy” option, but there’s just as viable “unsexy” options to help you shoot a good score.
Four: Focus on Your Fundamentals
I call it the PGA Method:
The best thing you can do for yourself is to start off in the right position. Nail the PGA, and that becomes a reality.
Five: Work on Your Tempo
There’s no magic here- everyone’s got their own swing tempo.
Personally, I like to think “Ernie Els” during my swing. It’s timed out:
I say “er-nee” on the takeaway. I should be at the top by the time I get done saying “nee”.
The word “els” is said on the downswing.
Some prefer a 3:1 ratio, where you count “1,2,3” as you take the club back, then some other word (like “go!”) to start the downswing. But that’s the beauty of golf: there’s more than one way to skin a cat.
The thing you need to do is find what works for you. Just remember to be consistent with it!
You should be well on your way to getting off the tee box in a good position now. While I highly recommend getting your driver (well all your clubs, really) fitted, there’s more than one way to skin the proverbial cat.