When you step up onto the tee with your driver in hand, you probably only have one thought in mind – smashing the ball as far as possible down the middle of the fairway.
There is nothing quite like the feeling of launching a great drive, and it feels even better if you see your ball rolling past the others in your group. Sure, there is more to golf than just hitting long drives, but don’t let that stop you from having fun with this part of the game.
Of course, hitting the ball long distances doesn’t happen by accident. You can’t just close your eyes, swing hard, and hope for the best.
Rather, you need to make a quality golf swing that is built on solid fundamentals if you are going to consistently produce the combination of speed and control needed to max out your distance potential.
Most golfers understand that they need to swing hard (or more specially, swing fast) to hit the ball a long way, but fewer realize just how important it is to control the club head through the hitting area. You need to put the sweet spot of your driver onto the back of the ball if you want to hit truly impressive drives, and we’re here to help you do just that.
The swing that you need to make with your driver in order to produce great distance is a bit of a conundrum. On the one hand, you need to swing fast – really fast! The top players in the game often swing the driver at beyond 110 miles per hour, and some even move on beyond 120 MPH.
However, as the same time, there needs to be an element of control and consistency to your swing that would not usually be associated with that kind of speed. Watch your favorite professional golfer launching a big drive and you will see that they are nicely in control of the action even as the club whips around them. Players like Ernie Els or Fred Couples are great examples of how you can launch enormous drives while making controlled, rhythmic swings.
So how do you walk the line between control and chaos? It comes down to rotation.
When swinging the club down through the hitting area, you need to be rotating your body toward the target, rather than sliding to the left (for a right handed golfer). Countless amateur golfers slide toward the target while trying to accelerate the club, and that single mistake creates all kinds of trouble in the swing.
Rotating instead of sliding is one of the best changes you can make in an effort to hit the sweet spot more frequently.
Tee it High
Sometimes it is the simple things in golf that make all the difference. In this case, that ‘simple thing’ is going to be the tee height that you use at address.
When you tee the ball up high, you give yourself plenty of room to put the sweet spot in the perfect place at impact. Golfers who tee the ball up too low will not be able to make contact on the sweet spot, even with a great swing, simply because there isn’t enough room between the ball and the turf.
Modern drivers with 460cc heads have sweet spots with are rather high on the face, meaning you need to tee it high if you are going to let it fly.
We recently published an entire article on how high to tee your ball so if you haven’t read that yet be sure to check it out here.
Watch the Ball Through Impact
Another simple tip that can have a profound impact on your ability to strike the ball cleanly with the driver is making sure that you actually watch the club hit the ball.
It is always easier to hit something that you can see, so keep your eyes fixed on the ball as the club swings through the hitting area.
The advantage that golfers have other players in other sports is the fact that the ball isn’t moving – so take full advantage of that fact by watching impact on each swing you make. Keeping your head and eyes down on the ball doesn’t guarantee that you will find the sweet spot, but it certainly is a big step in the right direction.
Keep Your Left Heel Down
This is a tip that you aren’t going to hear commonly passed around on the driving range, but it is extremely important to your ability to hit the sweet spot.
As you swing the driver down toward impact, focus on keeping your left heel down flat on the ground (for a right handed player). It is tempting to push yourself up onto your left toe in order to maximize your swing speed, but that is a subtle move which will make it dramatically harder to hit the sweet spot. Keep your heel down, use rotation to build speed, and keep the sweet spot on track for a collision with the ball.
One of the best things about this tip is the fact that it doesn’t only apply to your driver. You will find it easier to hit the sweet spot on your driver when you keep your heel down – and you will also find it easier to hit the sweet spot on the rest of your clubs as well.
If you have trouble topping the golf ball with your irons, for instance, that issue should quickly clear itself up once you learn how to stay down on your heel through impact. Consistency is something that is hard to find in golf, but that is exactly what you will gain when you limit the footwork that takes place during your swinging action.
Hitting the sweet spot on your driver is always going to be a challenge, but the tips included in this article can help you take a step toward doing so with increased regularity. When you do hit the sweet spot, you will know it right away – both from the feeling that you get in your hands, and from the way the ball launches off the face and into the distance.
Hitting long drives will always be one of the great thrills in golf, and finding the sweet spot is essential if you hope to enjoy that experience.