Whether you’re new to golf, haven’t played in a while, or just looking to straighten your game out a bit, there are several steps to take in order to drive a golf ball well. Putting your tee shot in play is a combination of knowing your equipment, how to stand, mastering your swing, and keeping a clear head. These tactics will help you learn how to drive a golf ball properly and improve your game. And with some practice on the course and the range, you can turn those bogies into holes in one.
Part 1. Getting the Proper Equipment
Choose a driver with the proper loft.
Since the science of the sport and the equipment have progressed, opt for a driver with 9 or 10 degrees of loft rather than an older 7 or 8 degree driver. Amateur players can optimize the carry of the ball by selecting a driver with 1-3 more degrees of loft than tour-pros. A higher lofted driver will give you more carry which can help you stay more consistent in your shots.
The launch-angle (determined by the loft on the club-head striking the ball), the speed that the ball comes off the club-face (determined by club-head speed as it strikes the golf-ball), and the spin of the golf-ball (determined by the prior 2 factors as well as some other factors including the grooves on the club-face, whether any grass got in between the club-face and the ball at impact, etc.) allow the ball to remain in the air (carry).
Pick the right club.
While you mostly use a driver off the tee for a par 4 or par 5, you have options of another wood or iron. You won’t always use a driver when driving a golf ball. Some holes will be set up so that you have to use a 3, 5, or even 7 wood, or one of your irons, say if you are on a par 3.
Account for the design of hole you are playing as well as your own game when choosing a club. For instance, if you hit your 3-wood farther than your driver and think you could use an 8-iron to the green after hitting the ball with the 3-wood, you may want to select the 3-wood to take your first shot if you do well with the 8-iron.
You can use your swing speed to help determine which club you need off a tee shot. Say you hit your 7 iron 150 yards, your swing speed is most likely around 95-104 mph. An 8 or 9 iron will be around 105-115 mph.
Irons have a higher loft than woods and in the case of a par 3 hole, you’ll be aiming directly for the green, which means you want more carry and less roll. If the green is less than 200 yards (183 m) away, you’re going to want to use an iron.
Know what kind of ball you’re using.
Picking the right golf ball for your game can be a bit of a headache. You have to factor spin, hardness, distance, and most importantly, feel. Unfortunately, there’s no “golden ball” that has all the answers for you.
The best way to determine the right ball for you is to go to your local golf shop and talk to a professional about what you want in your shot. They can work with you to determine your club-head speed and help you choose golf balls with the correct thickness of the cover and density of the core for your golfing style. Hit a few balls and rely on how they feel. Golf is one the most mental games out there and feeling comfortable in what you’re hitting can greatly affect your shot.
Note that professional rules prohibit you from using different types of balls during the same round. However, if you are playing with friends, bring several types of balls and experiment to find which works the best for you.
Pick the right tee.
Nowadays everything in golf has multiple options to choose from, including the tee you use. With a lot of modern drivers having large heads, the need to make taller tees arose, resulting in tees of varying lengths. When you take a shot, the golf ball should be teed up high enough that the top of the driver club-face dissects the ‘equator’ of the golf ball.
To avoid hitting the ground before hitting a teed up golf ball, use a taller tee. Similarly, if you’re on a long par 4 or par 5 and need to crush the ball to hit the green within par, a taller tee for your driver is usually the way to go.
However, a taller tee isn’t always the best option when using an iron as you could tee the ball too high and cut under the ball. When using an iron, tee up the ball so it appears to be resting on top of the grass. Only the bottom 1⁄4 to 1⁄10 inch (0.64 to 0.25 cm) of the ball needs to be above the ground.
Part 2. Getting into Position – Golf Instructions For Beginners 2022
Align your body with a vertical marker in the distance.
Pick a vertical marker like a tree or a standing person directly past the horizontal point where you want the ball the land. It’s better to use a vertical marker than a horizontal one. Once you find your marker, align your body to set up to that target. You can draw an invisible line from the marker to a spot a few yards in front of the golf ball to help you align yourself.
If you have a tendency to bend your left arm early, that will hinder distance; keep your “V” as long as possible before it bends at the finish of your swing and you will find yourself getting much more distance.
For a lot of golfers, it’s easy to pick some sort of marker that’s inline with where you want the place the ball on the fairway. You’ll know roughly how far you’re going to hit the ball, so pick a spot and then look for a tree or something past your target to aim for, as an object is easier to aim for than a spot on the ground.
Set your feet in the proper position.
Because a golf swing has both a horizontal and vertical feature, the center of your swing will be a couple inches on the target side of your sternum. Position the ball inline with the heel of your front foot, or where the pocket or logo is on your shirt (if you’re a righty).
Avoid positioning the ball toward the front of your stance, as this can make it more difficult to make good contact and hit the ball before the ground. Positioning the ball toward the front of your stance can also exacerbate problems with slicing or fading.
Position your feet about 1.5 ft (0.46 m) apart if you’re using an iron or 2 ft (0.61 m) apart for a driver.
If you’re a righty, you want to grip the club with your left hand where your fingers meet the palm of your hand. If you’re a lefty, do the same with your right hand.
Curl your fingers around the club and then without moving the grip, roll your hand over so your thumb is on the on the top of the grip.
Do the same with your other hand (right hand if you’re a righty, and left if you’re a lefty). Position the club between your fingers and palm, and place your pinky on the knuckle between your index and middle fingers. You can also interlock them if you prefer.
Roll your thumb over the thumb on your other hand.
Adjust your arms.
You want your arms to be straight and form a “V” shape when you set up your stance. For a drive, think of your body as making a reverse “K”. Grip the club so the front edge of it is flat on the ground. Put your hands 2.5-3 hand widths in front of the inside of your front thigh. With your arms in place for your swing you should stand about 8 inches (20 cm) from the butt of your grip at address.
Use the proper grip pressure.
Even though you may think that gripping harder and swinging harder produces better results, that is isn’t the case. A grip that’s too hard can hinder your ability to achieve consistent distance. Instructing legend, Phil Galvano first introduced the idea that you will find that the great players indicated that the grip pressure should resemble holding a bird without crushing it, but also not letting it go. The tighter you hold the club, the less it will release throughout the ball. Your hands should be free of tension.
Try different grip strengths at the range and watch for the results. Notice when your club doesn’t connect well because you grip too loose, or you skull the ball because you’re gripping too tightly.
Part 3. Executing a Proper Swing
Know what kind of swing you’re using.
You should have two swings, one for power and one for control. Not every hole is going to allow you to crush the ball as far as you can. Some holes may have a water hazard cutting through it or dogleg to the right or left, so you have to be able to control the distance of your shot as well.
For a power swing, you want to position your head and the shaft slightly back behind your ball with a slightly wider stance.
For a control shot, narrow your stance slightly, position the ball slightly further back in your stance, and choke down on the club a bit.
Start your backswing.
Your driver swing can be the difference between birdie and bogey.
When you go for your backswing, you should shift your weight backward. This will give your swing more power.
A lot of times your instinct might be to have a fast backswing thinking that it will give you more power to crush the ball. This is a trap as swinging too fast will take you out of alignment.
Stay flat. Your driving wood should stay along the ground, or just kissing the grass-you don’t want to drive it into the ground-for at least the first 20 to 25 percent of your swing. If your club is lifting up, you will pop the ball up and not get that long, smooth drive that you see the pros hit regularly.
Take a steady backswing and pause at the top to reset before begin your downswing. This doesn’t mean stopping as that will throw off your momentum. Think of it as hovering slightly before going down.
Keep the start of your downswing calm and unhurried.
This enables you to build up speed so that the golf club is still accelerating when it reaches the ball.
Your downswing should be one single movement that utilizes your entire body at the same time. But don’t rush here as you’ll go off plane if you do.
One very important factor on your downswing is to keep your head down and in place. This all happens very quickly and you may be excited to see how far you’ve hit the ball. But moving your head will move your whole body and ruin your shot.
You may be tempted to try and help the ball up by raising your arms. But keep your swing consistent and trust that your club will do the work.
Keep the angle on your leading hand.
Many amateurs tend to flip the hands forward in an effort to get the ball in the air, which defeats the purpose of having good equipment and a proper setup. The leading hand (left hand for most players, right hand for lefties) should be angled down towards the ball on the downswing.
Think of it like hitting the ball with the back of leading hand. If your hand is flipping down on the downswing, you may hit the ground before the ball or only hit the top of the ball. Keeping the angle starts the ball low and lets it climb on its own through your generated power.
Finish the golf swing by following through.
The club should swing over your left shoulder (for right-handed golfers) or your right shoulder (for left-handed golfers). Again, don’t be in a rush to look up and see where the ball went. If you did this correctly, the ball will travel where you want it to.