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Three Tips for Better Golf Drives

Golf drives are one of the most intimidating and yet most rewarding shots in golf. Your first tee shot is a stressful and exciting shot, and the excitement is multiplied when there a lot of people watching! Your tee shot and drives can signal how well your round is going to go, or how well the next hole is going to be played out. Your tee shots are also a chance to turn around a previous bad hole and set yourself for success. Golf drives are so important we call most practicing facilities "driving ranges"!

That is why successful tee shots and drives imperative for any golfer. There is no arguing the impact of a perfectly struck ball that goes 300 yards and lands in the middle of the fairway. A good drive is pretty much required for a chance at birdie and makes par a whole lot easier.

Following are three tips to help improve your drives. Practice these at the range and see which ones work for you to be carried over to the course during actual play:

Tee the ball higher
I've seen people use the rule that the bottom of the ball (top of the tee) should be level with the top of your driver clubface when placed at rest on the ground. Considering the size of modern-day driver clubfaces, this can seem quite high. But teeing the ball higher reduces the distance the clubface will be from your body when striking the ball, reducing the error of a mis-hit. A half inch or so may not seem like a big deal, but considering how off your shot can be when your clubface is off even a fraction of an inch at impact, every bit helps.

Don't play the ball on your front heel
Everyone always learns the rule to play your drive off the inside of your front foot's heel. While this is good general advice, it is really just positioning the ball so that it is hit on the upswing, rather than downswing like an iron. The reason is that woods have a very low angle to the clubface (as opposed to irons), and need a "lift" at impact to create the optimal trajectory. I would have someone watch your swing while facing you and try to pinpoint where your swing bottoms out. Position the ball just after that point.

Position the clubface so the toe of the club is aligned with the ball
Your driver is the longest club in your bag. That means you have that much more distance between your hands and the ball at impact. Playing into the tip above about teeing the ball higher, you want to make sure that when you address the ball before your swing, that you are allowing your arms to stretch enough at impact. What I mean is that as you swing, and you continue through your downswing, your arms "stretch". It's like that "trick" you learn when you're younger where you stand by a wall and extend your arms and fingertips so that they just barely touch the wall. Put your arms down to rest and then reach up again and you should be able to easily touch the wall. The same concept applies. As you swing, your arms will naturally stretch a bit due to speed and gravity. So if you set up the ball in the middle of the clubface at rest, on your swing you may be apt to hit the ball on the heel of the club. Setting up the ball more towards the toe of the clubface should allow you to hit the ball more on the sweet-spot.

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