Have you ever stepped up to the tee and realised you weren’t sure what to do next?
Maybe you’re at the beginning of your golf career and you want to approach the tee box holding your head high with the knowledge of how to drive a golf ball in your back pocket.
Using your driver, while one of the most important and iconic golf shots, can be incredibly difficult to get right for some.
That being said, there are plenty of things you can do to set yourself up for success in the tee box. Just like driving a car, driving in golf shouldn’t be too hard as long as you know what you’re doing!
So, keep reading as we get into how to drive a ball in golf.
Lets get started!
How to Drive a golf ball – the fundamentals
1. the Golf tee
If you’re already a golfer, chances are you’ll have hundreds of these scattered around your house.
While the golf tee has many uses other than its primary, for example, you can stick it between your teeth when making a shot to help reduce tension in your swing, it is fairly simple to use and get right.
To use your tee, just poke the pointy end into in the ground and balance your ball on top of it.
Most golfers agree that your tee height, meaning the distance between where the ball sits and the ground, should be around 1-1 1/2 inches high.
This is so that you can hit up on the ball and get it into the air, rather than hitting a thin shot, which will send it flying low over the fairway, or topping the ball, which is a huge swing error that can really ruin your scorecard.
2. Ball position
For most golf shots, you want to have the golf ball positioned in the middle of your swing plane.
Diving your ball is quite different. When approaching a ball on a tee with a driver, you actually want the ball positioned forward in your swing.
A good rule of thumb is that you want the ball to be positioned just inside the heel of your front foot, meaning the foot closest to your target.
Positioning your ball forward in your stance will also help you hit up on the ball and make sure it flies through the air, rather than running along the fairway.
Your golf stance is one of the most important fundamentals to get right for any shot.
Since hitting a drive is one of the more powerful shots you will make on the course, that means it’s even more important to get right, otherwise you can risk several huge swing errors.
If you want to know how to drive a golf ball, you’ve got to get your stance right first.
Going into all the steps you need to take to perfect your golf stance is beyond the scope of this guide, but in short, you want to have a slight bend in your knees, a short flex in your hips, and a straight spine angle with your shoulders back and your chest out.
Since your club will be slightly longer than your irons, you’ll also want to stand slightly further away from the ball.
Don’t step back too far though!
A good way to get into position is to rest your club head behind the ball at setup, let your arms relax and hang down, and then step back until you have around 6 inches of distance between the butt of your club shaft and your waist.
You might find that once you’re in position, it feels more natural to stand up slightly more than normal in your swing. That’s fine!
Golfers’ swings are mostly unique to them and them alone. To put yourself in the best position, follow this guide, but if it feels totally wrong and you find that you play better doing something slightly different, go with that!
Your grip is another facet of your swing that can be unique to you.
There are a number of different golf swings you can try, but lets run through the main three that golfers tend to like for driving.
a) Ten-Finger/Baseball Grip
This is the most common golf grip you can try. You can find golfers of every level of ability using this reliable grip as for many golfers, this is just the most comfortable and reliable golf grip.
- Close your fingers around your golf grip, with your rear hand lower down the grip and your front hand behind it.
- Point both of your thumbs down the club, toward the club head.
- In this position, you can choose to tuck the thumb of your front hand, the hand on the side of your target, underneath the palm of your rear hand if that is comfortable for you.
b) Overlap Grip
This grip is great for more stability and strength in your grip. Some people may find this grip slightly more uncomfortable than the others on offer, but it’s best to try it out first to see if it works for you.
- Set up your grip the same way as the Ten-Finger/Baseball Grip
- Once in position, rather than resting your pinky finger on your rear hand next to your index finger on your front hand, overlap your pinky on top of your index finger.
c) Interlocking grip
This grip is most useful if you are a golfer with smaller hands, or if you know yourself to have a weaker grip strength than most.
While having a soft grip strength can be really useful with other shots, like putting, you want your grip strength when driving to be strong.
- Set up your grip the same way as the Ten-Finger/Baseball Grip
- Instead of wrapping your pinky finger from your rear hand on top of the index finger of your other hand, interlock it between the index and middle finger of your rear hand.
How to Drive a golf ball – The swing
1. the Backswing
While many beginners may disregard the importance of the backswing, since it doesn’t immediately connect your club with the ball, a good backswing is essential for a good downswing, and therefore a good shot.
Once you’re set up in front of the golf ball, with it forward in your stance and sat on a tee 1-1.5 inches high, you can begin your backswing by rotating your shoulder, torso, and hips away from your target as you bring your arms and club up and behind you.
You want to keep your front arm straight as you complete your backswing and set your wrists so that your thumbs point towards the sky once your backswing has reached the 90-degree mark, or in other words, once your arms are in line with your shoulders.
Make sure you keep your arms connected to your torso throughout your swing. Some golfers like to keep a piece of paper underneath their armpits to practice this.
2. the downswing
Your downswing is where the majority of swing errors become apparent.
It can be the hardest thing to get right since there are so many things that can go wrong but making sure you know the fundamentals of a good downswing can set you up for success.
It can help to think of your downswing as the unwinding, or un-coiling, of your backswing.
While completing your downswing, try to maintain your straight spine angle. Your spine angle changing through your swing can affect your swing plane which can lead to things like the golf whiff, a pushed or pulled shot, or any number of common mistakes.
As you begin your downswing, you want to rotate your hips back to face towards your target as you bring your club down and through the golf ball.
Just like your backswing, you want to make sure that you are keeping your arms straight. This will help create lag in your swing, which is where your hands move ahead of your club head during your swing.
3. the Follow-Through/Takeaway
The momentum of your swing should carry your club out in front of you. As your club swings in front of you, pivot with your back foot so that your toes are facing towards your target.
Pivoting your back foot will help you keep the majority of your weight in your front foot, which can help with stability.
As your club continues on its’ swing plane, you can now bend your arms to bring your club up by moving your arms to rest behind your lead shoulder.
To get this movement right, it can help to visualize a laserbeam coming out of the butt of your club shaft (the side of the club that faces you when you set up in front of the golf ball).
If you’re aiming correctly, you want that laserbeam to point at your target, or where you expect the ball to land.
So, that’s our guide to how to drive a golf ball!
Nobody said golf was easy, and getting your driver technique down can be one of the most tricky things you attempt with golf.
If you find yourself struggling, just remember the three most important words in golf: practice, practice, practice!