Setting up to a driver compared to setting up with your irons is quite a lot different.
Here are a few keys to address the golf ball with the driver that will allow you to swing with confidence.
Getting into a proper set up position will allow you to maximize distance and control your golf ball direction.
Let’s take a look at how to improve your set up position to maximize distance!
How To Address A Golf Ball With A Driver
Ensure Proper Driver Loft…
One That Complements Your Golf Swing And Trajectory
It’s very important your driver loft complements your swing in order to optimize trajectory. If your driver has insufficient loft you may find you have swing extremely hard to get the ball to fly at a good height. I often see amateur players with too little loft in the drivers.
It’s important for men, women and juniors to start with a driver that has a generous loft. You should be able to swing your driver at a fairly relaxed and easy speed. The golf ball should fly naturally at a good height with fairly little effort. If you can swing easy and the ball gets up in the air quickly and easily then your driver likely has sufficient loft.
You should not have to swing the club at max speed to get the ball to fly at an acceptable trajectory.
Club head speed Guide
Follow these basic guidelines to determine a driver loft that will compliment you.
Swing speed 85 MPH or less ---------------------- 12 to 16 degrees of loft
Speed 86-100 MPH ------------------------- 10 to 11 degrees of Loft
Swing speed 101 MPH or more ------------------- 7 to 9 degrees of loft
On average a good starting point once the ball is teed up is for half the ball to remain within the club face and half the ball to be above the club face.
It’s a very good practice to experiment with your tee height. Teeing the ball low should allow you to have a low driving flight which is a great shot when you’re playing into the wind. Conversely teeing the ball slightly higher than normal may allow you to carry the ball higher.
Tee height varies from player to player if you hit the ball fairly high you can tee the ball down some.
If you hit the ball fairly low then you can tee the ball somewhat higher.
Golf Ball Position Within The Club Face
It’s very important for you to position the golf ball in the exact same portion of the club face at address position every time. The most beneficial ball position within your club face is typically slightly off centre favoring the toe of the club. If you can determine the exact centre of your club face from toe to heel have the ball slightly off centre more towards the toe.
Reason being, when you’re swinging the driver at high speeds to create distance the club heads centrifugal force is working away from you. The club head when swung correctly with good speed should be working slightly away from you at the point of impact.
If you start with the ball slightly towards the toe and the club head is working ever so slightly away from you at the point of impact. The golf ball should find the club head’s sweet spot at the impact position.
Getting Into Golf Posture
There are several key areas where you can position yourself within your driver set up to maximize distance and maintain control of direction.
- Feet about shoulders with apart.
- Only the slightest bend in your knees.
- Tilt forward from the hip with the nice straight back.
- Back should be straight from hip to top of head.
- Arms should be hung from shoulders with slight reach forward.
- No slack or bend at your elbow joints, arms straight but relaxed.
Look At Several Of Your Favorite PGA and LPGA Tour Players on You Tube.
Notice the slight bend with their knees and the nice straight line their back forms from the low hip to top of head.
It’s real important to notice their arm hang. You’ll see how their arms are nice and straight but slightly reaching forward.
Take a look at their arm position from down the line and also from a face on view. The arm and the hand position he is highly important so make several key observations.
Take note of how their arms hang down and are slightly reached forward.
Notice the gap from hands to the thighs and try to duplicate this for yourself.
If you can create these nice posture lines, being, slight knee bend, straight back and straight relaxed arms.
Then most importantly, get the hands to thigh gap correct, you’ll be well on your way to success.
All The Rage These Days…
Create Maximum Radius With Your Club Head
All the rage these days is to create maximum width or radius with your club head and that starts within your setup.
In order to create maximum width with the club head it’s very important to be set up to the golf ball at maximum height.
To achieve maximum height within your set up there are several key areas where you can gain or lose height.
- Feet, shoulders width apart slightly wider is okay. Too wide you loose height.
- Only slightly bend in knees. Too much bend you lose height and radius.
- Have a long straight spine feel tall through each vertebra.
- Arms straight and slightly reached forward towards the ball.
- The gap from your hands to your thigh is a larger gap than with your irons.
Create a good mental picture of the golf set up position from your analysis of the PGA and LPGA stars in stills or on youtube.
Analyze their set up position closely.
Pay particular attention to the straight spine, arm hang and the gap created between the hands and the thighs. If you can create the nice straight lines within your set up and get the gap from hands to thigh correct you’re well on your way.
I like to think of the set up position as being structured up. When you get structured up, really notice what the set up position feels like. It’s this feeling you want to learn to repeat.
You’ll want to feel tall in your legs with only a slight bend at the knees. Then feel tall throughout your back and spine, feeling like you couldn’t possibly stretch any taller through out your back.
Feel like your arms are at maximum reach as you grip the handle of the club.
Another point to be made is to allow the club head to touch the surface of the grass behind the ball with feather light touch. If you allow the club head to rest behind the ball only gently on the grass you will also gain radius or height. Pushing the club head firmly in to the ground surface means you’re compromising your height.
Every milli-meter matters, you need to maximize height at every possible point.
These are areas to maximize height and radius in your setup.
- Width of feet
- Knee bend
- Straight spine
- Straight Arm hang
- Gap from hands to thighs
- Ball position within club face slightly towards toe
- Feather light touch of club head on grass surface
Look at any or all of these areas to ensure you maximize your height within your set up. If you can gain height in any of these areas take the opportunity to do so.
Ball Position Between Your Feet
The ideal ball position when addressing your golf ball is for the ball to be just inside your left heel. Your hands positioned directly over the club head.
The swing dynamics for the driver is much different than that of the irons.
With the irons you’re trying to make a descending blow into the golf ball. Impacting the golf ball first followed by the club head entering the ground for a small divot after impact.
With the driver the lowest portion of the arc takes place ever so slightly before the club head impacts the golf ball. Upon impact the driver club head starts to sweep up into the golf ball in an ascending fashion rather than descending as with the iron.
Having a ball positioned more towards your front foot allows for this ascending of the club head to be natural. This ascending of the club head with the proper loft driver allows for the golf ball to easily find a nice trajectory.
Weight Distribution With Your Driver
The desired weight distribution with your driver should remain a 50/50 balance.
You should feel that you’re equally balanced on both feet from front to back and side to side.
You certainly don’t want to feel like you’re tipping forward towards your toes nor do you want to feel rocked back on your heels.
The same goes for right to left, you don’t want to feel your weight overly loaded on your right foot or more weight towards your left foot, an equal balance is best.
Having said that you can play around with your golf ball trajectory by loading more weight on your front foot at address to flight your ball down or hit it lower.
You can also load more weight on your back foot and keep it there through the swing motion to a degree, this will flight your ball much higher.
There are times when you can use weight distribution to flight the ball up or down if need be.
In general terms however for standard trajectory it’s best to employ a 50/50 weight distribution.
Grip Pressure With Your Driver
Having the correct grip pressure with your driver is likely the most essential and beneficial skill you can acquire to gain control of your ball and increase your power.
If you can combine the maximum height at set up position with a …highly focused relaxation technique… you’ll achieve amazing results with your driver.
Employing proper grip pressure and relaxation throughout your body with the driver will greatly increase your club head speed and increase your distance.
If you grip the club a little too tight your club head speed will most certainly slowdown.
If you’re gripping the club way too tight, your club head speed has been greatly reduced crippling your distance potential.
Relaxed grip pressure translates to MORE club head speed and much MORE distance.
Tight grip pressure translates to LESS club head speed and much LESS distance.
Golf Driver Set Up Position
Analyze the PGA stars for some of the finer points of the golf driver set up position.
Make yourself a bullet point list so when you go to the practice tee you can implement some of the strategies in a step-by-step fashion.
Take a look at your sample PGA stars set up and notice the following:
Face On View Of The PGA Stars Set Up
- The hands are positioned directly over the club head and not the golf ball.
- Shaft of the driver is not pressed forward.
- Right shoulder is pitched lower than the target side shoulder.
- The head is positioned in behind the golf ball and the club head.
- There is a slight spine tilt towards the back foot.
- They are well balanced on their feet from right to left.
Down The Line View Of PGA Stars Set Up Position
- Well balanced on the feet from toe to heel.
- Slight bend in the knees.
- Nice straight spine from hip to top of head.
- They have straight-arm positioning reached slightly forward.
- Notice the gap created from hands to thighs.
- Emulate if you can the good lines created and gap from hands to thighs.
Create An Efficient And Tall Set Up
There are many nuances that go into and efficient set up position with the driver. Make a note of several key points by putting pen to paper then practice them at home and on the practice tee.
At first it may seem to take some time to get fit into proper set up positions but in time you’ll move through them quickly and easily.
What’s important in the end is to understand the key positions to be in and then feeling and knowing you can repeat them time and time again.
A consistent and well-structured set up position with your driver will lead to much more fun on the golf course. You’ll have more opportunity to hit wedges into greens and lower scores as a result.
Happy Golfing Friends!
by Don Toth