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The Best Way to Hit Your Driver

by Sharon Penn

    To hit your driver well, first make sure you are using one fitted to your measurements. Remember to go back to basics and execute a strong, rhythmic swing. Once you have conquered the basics, step it up a notch by learning how to hit a fade and a draw.

    Check Your Equipment

    Having the right equipment means first being fitted for a driver by getting your swing speed, launch angle, hand size and stature measured. A teaching pro can use a launch monitor to get your vital statistics and make recommendations. In general, high handicappers with slower swing speeds will benefit from a large clubface with a large sweet spot to accommodate mishits. They also may benefit from a driver with a flexible, graphite shaft that can provide more distance off the tee. Finally, high handicappers should consider a driver that can correct a slice or a hook by providing a higher moment of inertia, or MOI. Golfers who have trouble launching the ball into the air off the tee also may want to go with a driver that has more loft.

    Basic Swing

    Adopt a pre-shot routine to focus your mind on the tee shot, stance, ball position and grip. Position your feet shoulder distance apart and make sure the ball is aligned with the inside of your left heel. Bend your knees and lean forward so your knees are over your feet, and your shoulders are over your knees. Grip the club with your fingers, using medium pressure. Sweep the club back with a shoulder turn as your weight shifts to the back foot. When your arms are at the top of the swing, your wrists should be cocked at a 90-degree angle. Keep your wrists in this position during the downswing, and release the wrists on impact. Shift your weight to the front foot, and finish the shot with a strong follow-through.

    Hitting a Fade

    A fade off the tee will have your ball curving to the right, but not as much as a slice. The fade shot is useful when the fairway curves right. To produce a fade shot with your driver, use a firmer grip and a slightly open stance. Tee the ball a little lower, with your left wrist firm and the clubhead low as you strike the ball.

    Hitting a Draw

    When the fairway curves left, you may want to use a draw off the tee. Use a stance that is slightly closed, and tee the ball higher. Grip the club with a lighter touch to aid in releasing the club on impact and closing the face. Give the club time to drop at the top of the backswing, and allow a full rotation of your hands on impact and follow through.

    Hitting for Distance

    Execute a proper shoulder turn and weight shift to achieve the swing speed and distance you want off the tee. Relax your arms as the clubhead makes contact with the ball, so you will get the benefit of centrifugal force as you make impact. Hold your wrists in a cocked position as long as possible on the downswing.

    About the Author

    Sharon Penn is a writer based in South Florida. A professional writer since 1981, she has created numerous materials for a Princeton advertising agency. Her articles have appeared in "Golf Journal" and on industry blogs. Penn has traveled extensively, is an avid golfer and is eager to share her interests with her readers. She holds a Master of Science in Education.

    Photo Credits

    • Richard Heathcote/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images