License to Drive

License to Drive
By Dr. T. J. Tomasi, Keiser University College of Golf Senior Faculty and Director of Research

As an exercise, I sometimes ask my students to play a round of golf where, after they drive on the par 4s and 5s, they move their tee shot to the 150-yard marker in the center of the fairway. Almost without exception, they play the best round of the year. The reason I do this is to teach them the importance of the driver. The value of being a good driver of the ball is often depreciated when tour pros talk about nothing but putting in their after-round interviews. But as I’ve said many times, you can bet that the guy who said, “Drive for show, putt for dough,” was already a good driver of the ball. It doesn’t help much to knock in a 30-footer for an eight after hitting two balls in the water off the tee. So, let’s get down to the particulars of driving the golf ball while remembering that all of the general instruction must be adjusted by the user for body type.

At Address 

On all normal driver shots, tee your ball just outside the target-side of your chest, about even with your armpit. To make sure your ball location is correct, lay a club shaft on the ground perpendicular to your ball and touching your front heel. To make sure you’ve got it, do this while you play a practice round or two. If you want to hit your shot higher to take advantage of the wind at your back or to clear an obstacle, move your ball out to the tip of your shoulder. But be careful to also move the ball a little closer to you since your club head will be slightly inside the target line at impact as it follows the rounded path of your swing. Also, make sure to check that your shoulder alignment is slightly closed, and you are aiming a bit right because as your ball moves forward, your shoulders open. Note that just because a hole is long, you may not always need a driver off the tee. Tests show that a driver and a 2-iron of equal shaft length go about the same distance in the air, so downwind, you might use a 2-iron (driving iron) for more accuracy. 

Weight Transfer 

Start with a weight distribution at address of ~70 percent on your trailside and ~30 percent on your target side. Your driver swing requires a long, flowing motion with a big turn and a significant weight transfer – more so than your irons. By the time you arrive at the top of your swing, you’ll have 80 to 90 percent of your weight on your trailside. By the time you get to impact, the majority of your weight transfers to your front side (about 95 percent). At the finish, all your weight is on your left side. 

Best Driver Drill 

To learn to control your driver swing, tee up two balls side by side. Using your hip speed as the governor, hit the first one at full power and the second at three-quarter power.  When you gain control of your swing, you’ll be able to produce the two different distances almost every time. That will help you attack with your driver when you need a long drive and play safe when you ought to.

The rule of thumb is to tee your driver so that the top edge of your clubhead is level with the bottom of the ball, slightly higher if you have an extra deep clubface.

When you need your longest drive, take it back extra slow and smooth with feather light grip pressure.

If you’d like to study with Dr. Tomasi and other PGA Master Professionals, contact The College of Golf today.

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