When we set up with the driver, we do so with the intention of hitting the ball not only a long distance, but accurately as well. The first thing to consider is the height of your tee. With today’s larger, taller, deep faced drivers, you’ll need to tee the ball a little higher to present the elevated sweet spot of the club to the ball most effectively. A good rule of thumb is for the equator of the golf ball to line up even with the top edge of your driver in the address position.
As we take our stance, it’s important to note that this is the longest club in our bag, creating the widest swing arc, and as a result delivering the highest swing speeds. Our stance should be slightly wider than shoulder width, athletic, with knees bent, and with body weight centered in good balance.
Our ball position is forward, off the inside of our left foot. To feel this, step to the ball with your feet together. From here, keep your left foot where it is, and slide your right foot away to a proper stance. Your body weight should move correspondingly to the right and you should feel well behind the ball. This stance accommodates our swing bottoming out slightly before impact, striking the ball as the club begins to move upward. This is one of the few shots in golf that we strike with an ascending blow.
Whenever we move the ball position so far to the left, there are a couple of tendencies you should consider. The first is that many players will lean to their left side as they address the ball, this defeats the purpose of moving the ball forward in our stance. Keep your weight centered regardless of where you position the ball. Secondly, with the ball positioned left, players often turn their upper body to face the ball, which results in opened shoulders at setup. It’s okay, in fact encouraged, to allow your right shoulder to sink a little bit lower than your left shoulder. Allow your shoulders to tilt, but do not allow them to open up. Our set up position must always be that our feet, knees, hips and shoulders are parallel to one another. Open shoulders at set up will lead to swing problems and inconsistency, often contributing to an outside-in or over the top swing path. Believe it or not, our swing with the driver is largely the same as with any other club, we just set up a little bit differently.
One point to remember is that the driver is the longest club in our bag. It’s important to swing in good rhythm and tempo, allowing the club to accelerate and decelerate smoothly. We turn our body away from the ball in one piece and load onto the inside of our right leg with our back facing the target. From here, starting from the ground up we shift targetward, approach impact from the inside, strike the ball just after our swing has bottomed out. We finish in good balance on our left side, with belt buckle facing the target and right heel completely off the ground.
In summary, it’s important to set yourself up in a wider, more athletic stance for your driver. We position the ball forward, a general rule of thumb is off the inside of your left foot. Be sure your weight is distributed equally between your right and left foot as many players tend to start too far to the left. Also be sure that your shoulders remain square to your target line, and do not open to the left at set up. It’s okay to allow your right shoulder to sink a little lower than your left, but keep your body line parallel. Swing the club smoothly with good rhythm, striking the ball just after the club has reached the bottom of its arc with an ascending angle of attack.