Improve Your Golf: The Drive

Posted on: 11 April 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Hit better drive shots with our step-by-step technique.

The drive is a big shot in more ways than one.

The driver is, of course, the longest club in the bag and the club that we hit the furthest.

It sets the tone for a hole, even for an entire round. A good drive puts you in the perfect position to attack a green and boosts your confidence. A good drive off the tee makes you believe you can shoot your best score… today!

For all of these reasons, good driving is as much about position as it is about power. Although, of course, it is far better to have both.

The Foundations Of A Good Swing

Don't be in a hurry to get to the top: Just keep your rhythm and tempo nice and smooth.

The driver swing generates the most power, so the need for good foundations is paramount.

Balance and posture need to be perfect. Think “shoulders over toes, hands under chin”. That should help get your posture in great shape every time you set-up to hit a drive.

Also, parallel alignment should be achieved; the feet, hips and shoulders all parallel to the target line. Good alignment promotes an on-line swing path.

Give Yourself Time

Stay In Control

Many golfers feel that they should try to hit their drive shots as hard as they can. However, position, not power, is the most important factor off the tee. A shot of 250 yards (230 metres) that finds the middle of the fairway is always preferable to a shot of 300 yards (275 metres) that ends up in heavy rough.

Most professional players hit their drives at 70-80 per cent capacity. Less is often more when it comes to the golf swing; smooth rhythm is preferable to brute force. By employing this technique, you will discover that not only does your rhythm improve, but your distances are likely to be greater, too.

For even greater control off the tee try gripping the club down the shaft a little and then make your normal swing. By “choking down” on the grip your swing will automatically become abbreviated - and a shorter swing results in greater control.

Don’t be in a hurry to get to the top; just keep your rhythm and tempo nice and smooth.

Give yourself time to make a good shoulder turn and, more importantly, time to complete your backswing.

For the perfect combination of arm swing and body turn, think “turn your back on the target and point the club straight at the target”.

Let Your Weight Flow

Poor weight shift drains the power out of your swing like nothing else. The key thing to remember is that you should let the weight move in the direction of the swinging clubhead.

So, as you swing the club back the weight moves on to your right foot; then as you swing the club down, the weight moves on to your left foot. Now you can punch your weight off the tee.

Sweep Through And Hold Your Finish

Let the club swing through. Keep your head down until the right shoulder comes through and raises it naturally.

The intention to complete the swing with a well-balanced finish has knock-on benefits for your entire swing. It instills in your mind the need to keep your balance, a key requirement of solid ball-striking.

Also, in doing that, you are less inclined to lose control or hit at the ball too aggressively. The swing stays smooth, which helps promote a pure and solid hit.

The Magic Move

There is no single part in the golf swing that could be said to be the key to great driving - golf isn’t that simple. But if there is such a thing as a “magic move” then it is the split second transition from the completion of the backswing to starting the downswing.

The weight shifts on to the left side, the hips start to unwind, the right elbow drops down to the right side and the shoulders stay back. The player is primed for the impact position.

Swing Secrets

Fully rotate the left shoulder under the chin.

Keep the head down through impact.

Ensure a smooth one-piece takeaway.

Align the ball with the left heel at address.

Tee it high to maximise the driver’s sweet spota.


You should feel that the club is almost free-wheeling as it approaches the “hitting zone”. It has little to do with brute force.

Wrist Angle

Retain the angle in your wrists into your downswing, as this helps store the power in the swing.

Left Shoulder

As you start the downswing feel that you pull the left shoulder away from the chin.

Weight Forward

Keep your weight moving to the left as you swing into and through impact; do not under any circumstances allow yourself to fall backwards away from the shot.

Ball Position

With the ball correctly positioned opposite the left heel it is easier to achieve the desired sweeping angle of attack, promoting dead-solid contact.

Practice Makes Perfect

Rehearse the “magic move” in slow motion and practise it in front of a mirror.

Try to ingrain it into your practice swings, until it starts to feel comfortable and you feel you can replicate it in your actual swing.

Repetition is a wonderful thing. Practise this move to train good driving habits.

The Golf BookThis extract is taken from DK's The Golf Book, available at all good bookshops or online from Amazon.

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