Driving for Accuracy - Better Control With Your Driver
Which is more important to you: a longer drive, or a more accurate drive?
If you answered the more accurate drive then you are already on your way to becoming a better golfer. The reasons accuracy are important over distance are obvious, the more accurate you are..the more of a chance you have to land on the fairway...and we all know the fairway is the place to be! In addition, if you learn to drive the ball with more accuracy using your driver or wood, you are showing control over the biggest club in your bag, which should lead to even better accuracy with your irons.
There are several keys to consistent, accurate drives off the tee. The first and most important (to not only driving but all types of shots) is to make sure your clubface and bottom palm are facing your target at impact. This is such a huge key in gaining better control over your drives and is often over-looked. Why shouldn't it? The moment of contact between the clubface and golf ball in your swing is far towards the end of the swing timeline, and it's difficult to focus on every step of your swing while it is happening. More often than not we focus on our grip and position and set up BEFORE the swing. Then, even if we get that far, we concentrate on our backswing and plane (more on that later) and the next thing we know the ball has been struck. It is paramount though to reserve some time, on every single swing, to ensuring your clubface and bottom palm are facing your target at impact.
The second key to accurate drives is your swing plane. This is especially important if you believe you are keeping your clubface and bottom palm towards the target at impact, but are hitting a hook or slice. Most likely this is due to an incorrect swing path. A golf swing path is much like a baseball swing path, only on an angle. If you are swinging too "horizontally" (much like a baseball swing), you may hit with more of a slice. If you swing to "vertically" (your swing plane goes straight up-and-down), you may hit with more of a hook. If you are looking at someone taking a golf swing from behind the ball, and you imagine the face of a clock with the ball at the "6", their hands should be at the "10" at the top of their backswing. This is the optimal plane.
Finally, your rhythm is also key in accurate golf drives. We touched on this in an earlier article on putting, but your tee shot should be no different. You need to have smooth rhythm with no hesitations or pauses. Doing so will cause you to speed up parts of your swing that should not be performed faster. The worst thing you can do is try to speed up your downswing. This will more often than not result in a total mis-hit of the ball. Instead you should have a smooth downswing that naturally speeds up as you "snap" your hands through the ball.
Pracitce is key, and each of the areas above need ample time to set in to your mind as you strive for better driving accuracy. If all else fails try taking half of a backswing. This will equate to less distance your club has to travel and less chance for something going wrong. Start by ensuring your clubface is pointing in the right direction at impact, then work on your swing plane, then get your timing down.