Six Driver Tips for Beginners & High Handicap Golfers
We all want to hit the driver longer and straighter so, when trying to lower your handicap, you'll want to dedicate a reasonable amount of practice to develop a decent driver swing.
If you can start to drive the golf ball a solid distance and with a degree of control, you'll be hitting your approach shots from closer to the green and should see your scores start to tumble.
Whether you're a beginner or high handicapper, or perhaps even if you're a more accomplished golfer looking to tighten up your game from the tee box, check out this collection of helpful driver golf tips.
Once you have devoured the below and you head to the course, make sure you equip yourself with an accurate GPS yardage and scoring app. Hole19 is used by over 2.8M golfers worldwide and all the features you need as a beginner are completely free. Download here.
On with the tips...
Get your setup right
When trying to hit the driver, we aim to have a positive attack angle - i.e. hit up on the ball after the club passes the bottom of its swing arc. The set-up is vitally important to achieve this.
- tee the golf ball up high with half of it poking out above the top of the driver.
- take a stance that's just wider than the width of your shoulders.
- position the golf ball just off your lead (left, for right-handed golfers) heel.
- slightly tilt your upper body away from the target. This might be naturally achieved due to the ball position; just be mindful of having your shoulders too flat.
Another possible consideration: You could pin your trail shoulder back a little - so that your shoulders point slightly out to the right. It's a great way of ensuring that optimal in-to-out swing path.
Golf coach Alex Elliott fleshes it out a little below.
Understand the driver's swing arc
It's very common for beginners and high handicap golfers (some resident here at Hole19 HQ) to consciously take the driver back in a straight line. They may even severely manipulate the clubface in the first few feet of the swing to keep it pointed at the golf ball.
The golf swing should be a flowing motion with the golf club travelling around the body on an arc, and the clubface should open and close naturally as you swing.
This is still very much the case when you're swinging the big stick, so there's no need to make things more complicated by having a driver-specific takeaway or follow-through.
Chris Ryan explains it better than we can in the video below.
Identify your miss (and its cause)
When you've worked on finding some sort of solid contact, you'll quickly gain an understanding of your own frequent miss. The most common miss with the driver for beginners and high handicappers tends to be the dreaded slice.
Quite often this will be due to an over-the-top downswing where the club travels on an out-to-in path meaning you'll likely come into the side of the ball, imparting side spin.
And there you have it. A big, nasty slice.
Golfers who come over the top need to learn to come more from the inside in the downswing.
A possible fix: by moving your hips more towards the target in the downswing you'll create more of that wonderful sidebend and a sweeping, inside-out driver swing.
Adam Bazalgette helps you cure your slice below.
Spend time at the range
In between rounds, try to find the time to get to your local driving range and dedicate a portion of the session towards working on the driver miss you're currently battling.
Fiddling with the swing during your round is rarely going to end well. You want to arrive at the first tee knowing that you have a driver swing thought which will get you around 18 holes relatively unscathed.
Use Hole19 to track your progress
As you work on developing a solid driver swing, there are a number of ways you can use the Premium functions of your Hole19 app to measure your improvement in this area.
One obvious way is to use our Shot Tracker function and get a feel for how much distance you're gaining.
Simply tap 'Track Shot' before you send your tee shot soaring down the fairway, and then walk to your ball. When you find it, tap 'Stop' and add the club you used and the shot's result. You can even share it with your buddies on the app's social feed.
Also, you can use your Overall Statistics to check your overall driving accuracy and Advanced Statistics to get a trendline graph showing your 'Fairways Hit %' over recent rounds.
You'll find more information on the game-enhancing benefits of Hole19 Premium here.
Consult your local pro
We know that it may not be affordable for every golfer, but if you're struggling to find the root cause for your miss - or if you simply can't seem to fix the issue at the range - it may be worthwhile checking in with your local pro for a lesson.
A good session with a golf coach will help you identify any problems with your driver swing. They will also provide you with the perfect drills and feels to help you iron out those imperfections.
Having a knowledgeable pro can be helpful when it comes to discussing your own thoughts on your swing. Often, it can stop you from wasting time going down the proverbial 'rabbit hole' with a wholly incorrect 'fix' for your miss.