How To Drive A Golf Ball Better
The driver is one club that can make a round of golf feel easy and effortless or hellishly tricky if it isn’t working well.
According to the USGA and R&A, the average driving distance for amateur golfers is only 216 yards, but that doesn’t mean you can’t boost those numbers substantially if you know what to work on.
Are you ready to learn how to hit your driver straighter, further, and more consistently?
Our guide today will tell golfers of all skillsets our 7 favorite tips and tricks we’ve learned over the years that help us hit straight, nuclear drives and put a little fright into our playing partners.
How to Hit a Driver: 7 Tips for More Successful Bombs
Perfect Ball Position is Between Inside Lead Heel and Splitting Lead Heel
Find YOUR Ideal Tee Height
Width of Stance is Very Personal (Experimentation Required)
Add Shoulder Tilt for Additional Height (Adjusting Launch Angle)
Check Where Shoulders Are Pointing
Turn Feet Marginally Outwards
Slow Takeaway & Tempo During Backswing
Before we get started, we think amateur players should know exactly why it’s so difficult for most golfers to have the same accuracy and consistency with the driver as they have with other clubs in their golf bag.
Be sure to stick around after our tips and tricks for a few bonus bits of advice and the answers to our reader’s most frequently asked questions regarding how to hit the driver!
What Makes a Driver Harder to Hit Than Other Clubs?
Most golfers think, “The driver has the largest club head; shouldn’t it be the easiest to hit?”
Nothing could be farther from the truth!
In actuality, a few factors make it much more difficult to hit than other clubs:
Drivers have minimal loft compared to every other club in your bag.
Drivers are much longer clubs than your irons.
Think about this, the standard length for a sand wedge is 35.25 inches, while the standard length for a driver is roughly 45.5 inches, over 10 inches of difference!
When you combine the enormous length of a driver shaft with the fact it has very little loft, it’s easy to see why a driver is naturally harder to control, tougher to swing with good mechanics and the same swing path as your shorter irons, and difficult not to swing faster or with a quicker tempo than your other clubs.
Now let’s get onto our favorite tips for hitting your driver better than ever!
1. Perfect Ball Position is Between Inside Leading Heel and Splitting Leading Heel
One of the first things that leads to a perfect setup when hitting the driver is teeing the ball at the appropriate position in your stance.
Even though our demonstrator to the right is using a hybrid, where his ball rests – all the way to the right end of the grey tool behind his ball is the ideal position for a driver in the stance.
When golfers have the ball teed too far back in their stance (in the middle or closer to the back foot), they have a much harder time squaring the club face at impact, resulting in open club face shots that spin a lot and lose a ton of their distance.
This takes a lot of experimenting on the driving range to find what works best for you, but it should not be overlooked!
2. Find YOUR Ideal Tee Height
While golf tees have been around since the late 1800s, they didn’t start getting longer than 3 inches until roughly 100 years later, and golfers struggling with their driver should be very thankful for this.
Tiger Woods often talks about how when he was growing up, tees were much shorter than they are today, making his experience of learning how to hit a driver high and low much more challenging than today.
A quick fix for golfers struggling with weak fades and a lower ball flight is to experiment with teeing the ball up about half a ball higher each swing until you see the results you want.
So many golfers don’t take how they tee the ball up seriously and have different heights every time they try to hit their driver, adding extra variables to the already hard-to-hit club!
We suggest purchasing tees with painted height indicators like those shown above or in our guide of the Best Golf Tees.
3. Width of Stance is Very Personal (Experimentation Required)
A “wide stance” with the driver is usually seen as one where the golfer’s feet are wider than their shoulders by a large margin.
A “narrow stance” with the driver is one where the golfer’s feet are a similar width to their shoulders.
As you can see from one of the best drivers of the ball in history (Rory McIlroy), he has a very wide stance to hit the driver.
Note from Author: I used to struggle with the driver when my stance got too wide compared to the other clubs in my bag. I thought the extra broad and stable base would allow me to make a greater shoulder turn when in reality, it hindered my mobility in my hips!
Experimentation with stance width is very important!
4. Add Shoulder Tilt for Additional Height (Adjusting Launch Angle)
Adding “shoulder tilt” or “spine tilt” is one of the most unique things about swinging the driver compared to every other golf club in the bag.
Other clubs have exponentially more loft than your driver (excluding your putter), meaning they need no help getting high in the air on their own with your normal swing and posture.
Golfers struggling with maintaining height on their drives should apply a SLIGHT amount of shoulder tilt, as demonstrated by the right side of our above graphic.
A slight amount of tilt naturally moves a golfer’s swing arc with the driver to connect with the ball on the “upswing,” which naturally adds loft and bumps up the launch angle for more height and carry distance.
Too much shoulder tilt will hinder a golfer’s ability to keep their club head on the path and lead to a two-way miss (both right and left), so don’t overdo it!
5. Check Where Shoulders Are Pointing
A problem many golfers have is aiming correctly. If you haven’t checked out our guide on the best alignment sticks of 2023, we’ll tell you again something many don’t want to hear:
YOU NEED TO CHECK ALIGNMENT ALL THE TIME!
It’s very easy to worry about your swing path and swing mechanics but forget the basics, like paying attention to where your feet, hips, and shoulders are pointing.
Many beginners and recreational golfers get told repeatedly: “Make sure your feet are parallel to your target line.”
This is undoubtedly true, but making sure your shoulders are pointing parallel toward your intended target line is even more important.
Where your shoulders point will dictate how much your ball will curve in the air as well as its final resting position.
For right-handed golfers, if you point your shoulders left of the target (like our demonstrator on the left), you naturally add slice spin to the ball by limiting your ability to make a full turn and forcing your club path over the top.
If you point your shoulders to the right of your target, you have a greater chance of doing the opposite and adding draw spin to your ball.
Take an alignment stick and place it across both your right shoulder and left shoulder. Does the stick point parallel to your target?
6. Turn Feet Marginally Outwards
Turning your feet slightly outwards while creating your stance during your initial setup to hit a driver allows both your hips to make bigger turns during the backswing and follow through for more power.
If you think about it, it makes sense that it’s much easier to turn when your feet are angled in the directions you want to go!
7. Slow Takeaway & Tempo During Backswing
As we discussed earlier, your driver is by far the longest club in everyone’s bag.
With this longer profile comes a longer swing that many golfers naturally make faster than their swings with other clubs. (We’re unsure if this comes from anxiety on tee boxes or just the club’s design.)
If you’re struggling with making consistent contact, work on slowing your backswing down and making your follow-through has all the speed and force! Most golfers with a “smooth swing” really have a perfect tempo!
This was a lifesaver tip I got from my local head pro, an 86-year-old former Touring professional that’s seen and experimented with every piece of advice!
Bonus Advice and Driving Tips:
1. Alternate Between Favorite Club and Driver on the Range
Feeling unsteady with your driver swing but loving another club? We hate that feeling but love that we learned how to fix it.
If one club is feeling great and you want to transfer those feelings to your driver swing, hit a few balls with your club that feels good and then switch and hit a driver.
Keep repeating this motion, and we can promise the good feelings from your favorite club will eventually transfer to your driver swing. If you don’t believe us, try it for yourself!
2. Want to Hit Your Drives Straighter? Try This:
When we’re struggling to hit the driver straight, one of our favorite things to try is swinging as slowly as possible and gradually adding a bit of swing speed every swing moving forward.
This forces us to focus on trying to make center contact, as a poor club-face connection with a slow swing will result in a horrible-looking ball flight that isn’t straight.
If you can hit a straight drive with half your swing speed, you know your swing path is straight, and you’re well on your way to hitting the driver straight at your full swing speed.
3. Feeling Nervous on the First Tee? Try Tiger Woods Favorite Trick:
Tiger Woods is a creature of routine and habit. He has roughly followed the same pre-round warm-up routine since he was a child and credits a lot of his success to staying regimented and structured with his practice.
If you’re like many golfers and struggle with the “first tee jitters,” don’t feel ashamed!
Tiger developed this secret tip to help him when he was a junior player struggling with the same feeling!
Before you get to the driving range, know what club you will hit off the first tee. If you’ve never played the course before, look at your scorecard or a map online and determine the club you will hit with 100% certainty.
As your final 3-5 swings at the range when you’re warming up, tee up the ball and go through your routine as if you’re on the first tee. Envision your target, and make sure to end your warm-up on a solid shot that you’d accept on the first tee.
This way, when you arrive at the first tee box, you’ve already performed your routine and should feel much less anxiety about the potential outcome.
Most Frequently Asked Questions About the Driver:
How Far Do PGA Tour Players Hit a Driver?
As of the conclusion of the 2022 PGA Tour season, the average driving distance across all professionals on tour is 299.8 yards.
Longest PGA Tour Pro: Cameron Champ – Average Driver Distance 321.4 yards
Shortest PGA Tour Pro: Brian Stuard – Average Driver Distance 277.4 yards
How Do I Stop Slicing When Hitting Driver?
A consistent slice is devastating to tons of golfers. They are unpredictable, lose tons of distance, and can add anxiety and stress to the tee box.
For the convenience of our readers, we’ve created a guide on How to Fix a Slice that should stop it dead in its tracks!
If you’ve already tried everything we suggested in that breakdown, consider checking out our list of the Best Drivers for Slice 2023!
About The Author
Writers of Independent Golf Reviews
Independent Golf Reviews has tested and reviewed 1000+ golf products over the past 10 years. We use our experience and expertise to give golfers an unbiased insight on the market.