How many times have you said to yourself, “All I need is a good tee shot.” Hitting a great tee shot is a goal of every golfer, but unfortunately, more goes into how to drive a golf ball than you may think. Luckily, I love hitting my driver and would prefer it over a mid-iron any day.
I’ll share how to drive a golf ball, tips for making your drives more consistent, and how equipment plays into this equation. If you are new to the game or have been playing your entire life, there is always something you can learn about how to drive a golf ball.
How to drive a golf ball
To drive a golf ball well, you must focus on five key components: equipment, setup, weight distribution, movement, impact, and speed. Hitting a great drive includes hitting the ball far but also hitting it straight. Some golf swings are naturally built to have a better driver swing path, and others are better for irons; there are simple adjustments you can make to drive a ball well.
The driver and the golf ball you play impact your golf shots with the driver. Before you spend a lot of time working on your lower and upper body movements, your grip, and even your ball position, let’s ensure you have the right equipment in play. If you are in need of a new driver, here are the best golf drivers on the market.
Driver shaft selection
First, take a look at your swing speed and the flex of the shaft. The faster you swing the club, the stiffer the golf shaft should be. A professional golfer with more than 110 mph in swing speed needs an extra stiff driver shaft. Here are some Signs you need a stiffer shaft.
Amateur players with average swing mechanics and average ball speed probably swing around 80-90 mph, which is best for a regular flex golf shaft. See the difference between stiff vs regular flex shafts here.
Next, the degrees of loft that your driver is set to is important. The better you are at golf, and the faster your swing speed is, the lower the loft. This is why we see PGA Tour players with 8 degrees of loft. Amateur golfers do well with about 10.5 degrees of loft.
If you are struggling to make a smooth swing and square the clubface, go with a 12-degree driver, and you may see more forgiveness and a higher ball flight. See our post on Lofts of golf clubs.
Golf ball testing can tell you a lot. Your club head speed may not change all that much from one swing to the next, but if you are playing with the right golf ball, you can instantly pick up about ten yards of distance.
Golfers that want a pure distance golf ball often look for a two-piece ball with a soft core and a mid to low-compression rating. I won’t tell you this is the best ball for your entire golf game, as it won’t spin much around the green, but it helps off the tee.
Setup and positioning
Of all the important steps for how to drive a golf ball, I find the setup and positioning to be the most important. To get into the correct Golf driver stance and the right setup for hitting a drive, follow these specific steps.
- Place the ball on the inside of your left foot (for a right-handed golfer), be sure the ball position is not forward of the lead foot.
- Your feet should be just wider than shoulder-width apart, and your weight should be balanced between your feet.
- Lean a little on the trail side to initiate a turn back onto that side.
- Always set up with a square clubface that directly faces the target.
- Spine tilt will be just a little angled, with the right shoulder closer to the ground than the left shoulder.
- Keep your chin up; it will improve your balance.
- Stand far enough away that your arms have to reach just a little, and they are not as close to your thigh as they would be when hitting an iron shot.
- Swing with a smooth Tempo and be sure to follow through the swing.
Your setup and positioning should be the same each time you take a driver swing.
Weight distribution and movement
When you study How to swing a golf club with power, it’s easy to see that it comes from the core and even the lower body pushing off the ground. To improve driving distance, weight has to transfer from your relatively square and even set up to your right side and then back to the left.
The more efficient you are with your movement and weight shift, the easier it is to gain swing speed. Here are the steps to follow to ensure you have proper weight movement and pivot in your golf swing.
- As your swing starts back, feel like you are pushing some of your weight to your right side. Do this by incorporating the lower body from the start.
- At the top of your swing, you should feel loaded up with lots of weight on the right side, and the left side is just there for some balance and stability.
- When you start to swing down from the top, the weight starts to transfer to the left side.
- At impact, more weight is on the left side than the right side, and you should be pushing off the ground with the right side.
- The weight then continues to transfer forward. Do you finish on your left foot, in balance, and facing the target?
Amateur players looking to hit a straight drive often end up with almost all of their weight on the right side as they come through impact. This will not be a power swing, and for the most part, the ball flight will be left to ride.
Driver impact position
One of the biggest mistakes amateur golfers make when learning how to drive a golf ball is not understanding the impact position. Take some slow-motion swings and be aware of what you look like at impact. Here are a few of the most important checkpoints to prevent Topping a golf ball.
- Head stays BEHIND the ball!
- Weight is mostly transferred to the left side; the right foot can start to come up off the ground.
- The clubface is square.
- Arms are rotating or releasing to help square the clubface up.
- Arms are extended out and away from you to help encourage a wider swing arc and more total distance.
Lastly, when learning how to drive a golf ball, you have to understand speed. In addition to getting the ball airborne, you want it to stay up there for quite some time. A great swing coach will tell you to get your fundamentals in place and then learn how to go after the ball. Speed with a driver in your hands is a good thing!
The closer you can get your club to the proper swing plane, the easier it is to gain speed. If the clubface is square, like a Single plane golf swing, you can go after the ball with all the speed you have. The angle of attack with a driver should be a bit shallower than it is with an iron.
In addition, to gain more club speed, you will want to work on both balance and physical fitness. Gaining just a little bit of strength in the upper body and core will help improve the club’s path and increase overall speed.
Learn How to increase clubhead speed here.
The bottom line here is that to hit a great drive; you have to go after the ball. Once your setup, weight distribution, turn, and ball position are all in place, swing at the ball at full speed.
How to drive a golf ball (step by step)
I gave you a lot of information about the specifics of how to hit a great drive. Here is a 10-step process of how to drive a golf ball where we condense everything into this simple and easier to digest group of motions.
1. Tee the ball high and ensure the ball position is just on the inside of your left heel (right-handed golfer)
2. Stand far enough from the ball that you have some extension in your swing, but you still maintain a more upright spine angle. Have a slightly wider stance than normal.
3. Take a neutral grip and do not push the hands forward of the club head like you would with a wedge in the hands.
4. Take a balanced stance with weight distributed a little heavier on the right side.
5. Ensure the club’s path is a little shallower on the takeaway to improve the overall Angle of attack golf swing.
6. At the top of the backswing, when the driver is parallel to the ground, start to pivot and transition weight to the left side.
7. At impact, ensure that most of your weight is on the left side and the head is behind the golf ball.
8. Clubface angle will determine which way the ball travels after impact; ensure your club’s path is just a little Shallow golf swing, and you have a square clubface to hit a straight shot.
9. Allow the arms to swing out towards the target.
10. Get to a balanced finish position with all of your weight transferred to your left side, where you can stand and watch the ball hit your target.
What is the proper ball position to drive a golf ball?
The ball positioning for a driver is one of the most important parts of the setup position. Keep the ball off the left heel for right-handed players and off the right heel for left-handed players. Pushing the ball too far back in the stance is a distance killer that will decrease your golf club distances.
When teeing the ball up further in the stance, you hit the ball on the upswing and improve the club’s path with a slightly positive angle of attack. To make consistent contact, you have to get the ball into the right position (and tee it at the right height each time).
Why am I struggling to hit my driver?
Here are the top ten reasons why golfers struggle to hit their drivers. Regardless of skill level, the low loft of the driver and the longer club length make it difficult to square the clubface at impact.
- Don’t put a death grip on the driver, have enough control over the club that you are in control, but don’t squeeze it so hard that you can’t even release your arms.
- Check to make sure you don’t have a narrow stance; proper setup will improve the smash factor and have you hitting straight drives.
- Your head may be moving ahead of the golf ball at impact. Look at swing videos and pictures of golfers like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Bryson DeChambeau; they are behind the ball to hit these solid shots.
- Modern drivers are adjustable; add a bit of loft if you need extra forgiveness.
- Adding a bit of swing speed can help you to get the club into a proper position at impact with a square clubface.
- An incorrect swing path does not matter quite as much as an incorrect clubface angle; it’s easier for amateur players to understand clubface and ball direction and take slow-motion swings to see why your club is not in the proper swing position.
- Use video to record a swing and compare it to what you know about a proper driver swing; you can learn a lot.
- When practicing on the range setup with alignment sticks, your idea of what square is may be much different than what square really is.
- If your ball flight is too high, check the shaft to make sure it is stiff and heavy enough for your golf game; equipment setup plays a big part in learning how to drive a golf ball.
- Visualize your golf shot and your golf swing. After you have learned how to achieve the perfect setup and you know how to square a clubface, work on the Mental golf game until the driver is your favorite club!
How do you hold a golf club to hit straight?
Most amateur golfers struggle with a slice, making a Strong golf grip a better selection. A neutral grip is an ideal option to improve o
verall consistency and driver distance.
However, if you slice or hook, one of the biggest factors could be the grip. A weak grip can help you fix a Driver slice.
Grip changes are difficult, but the efforts that golfers put in on setup are well worth the results. Spend some time working on the range with the new grip until you are comfortable enough to take it to the course.
You now have plenty of information to take to the golf course with you and learn how to drive a golf ball.
I see so many amateur players taking the driver out of the bag because they can’t get consistent distance, or a straight tee shot.
Don’t do this!
You miss out on too much distance by putting the driver away. You can easily learn how to drive a golf ball and work on one step at a time until you feel confident and ready to attack the fairway.