There are countless online videos and magazine articles about how to swing correctly but not many about how to address the ball on the tee with your driver. So, we’ll cover some of the basics here.
You’re on the tee, maybe the first hole, your playing partners are watching, the group behind are watching. Despite all the attention, it is essential that you’re relaxed when you address the ball. This can only come from practice and confidence, your state of mind. Remember you’re among friends, your buddies don’t want you to mess up your drive – they are right behind you. Goodness, they are next up! So, get rid of all those negative thoughts, put them out of your mind, focus on the ball and relax.
Ball position, not too far forward, inside left heel, shaft position, not forward, not back. The position of the ball will vary depending on which club you are using but for the driver the accepted ball position is inside the left heel (for right handers). The general rule is, the longer the club, the further forward you place the ball.
Coupled with this is the position of the shaft. If the club shaft is leaning forward, you will effectively lower the loft of the club. Not good. If the club shaft is leaning back, you will increase the loft. Not what you want. Keep the club shaft in a neutral upright position in relation to the ball position. Maintain the loft of the club you are using.
A good tip is, address the ball as normal with your driver, then let go of the club. It should make contact with the inside of your left thigh (again, for right handers). In fact, this tip applies to all the clubs in your bag.
Distance from the ball
Standing too far from the ball or too near, will affect your golf swing. It is important to be standing the correct distance from the ball. Since club lengths differ, your distance from the ball will depend on which club you are using.
Every club is designed with a lie angle. Rest the club on the ground so that the bottom of the club is lying evenly, not tilting forward or back. This action will determine the distance you should be standing from the ball.
Don’t change the loft
All drivers are designed with a loft which can vary roughly between 9 and 12 degrees. When you rest the driver on the ground, you will see the loft of your driver. If you swivel the club in your hands, you see that you can easily change the loft. Don’t, use the loft of the club.
These days some drivers come with adjustable loft, a lower or higher loft may help your game. But use the current loft of the club, don’t twist the shaft to change the loft. And remember you are not allowed to adjust the loft of your driver during a round.
It is generally accepted that the correct tee height positions the half of the ball above the top of the driver. Bear in mind that driver clubheads are getting bigger and bigger these days. Teeing the ball high will help you to sweep the ball away on the upswing, that is, just after the lowest point of the downswing. So, grip the club, square the clubface to the target. Tee the ball up so that the center of the ball is level with the crown of your driver.
Check out the video below from Rick Shiels on the perfect driver set up routine, well worth a watch (it helped me loads)!
Your swing success depends heavily on your body position at address. At address, your body, feet, hips, knees, shoulders, should be positioned parallel to the target line. Your weight should be balanced on the balls of your feet, not your toes or heels. For the driver, a bit more weight will be on your back foot, say, 60%. Your knees should be slightly flexed, and you should be slightly bent at the hips, not the waist… and relaxed. Your spine, which is the axis of rotation for the swing, should be in a straight line. Try sticking your backside out to get this position.
The golf swing for the driver requires a wide stance for stability and balance. Extra stability is needed for a full swing because the clubhead and the point of impact are furthest from your body. The inside of your feet should be aligned with the outside of your shoulders.
We never stand or walk with our feet exactly parallel to each other – it almost feels uncomfortable. It’s the same with a golf shot. The feet naturally flare out a little. Flaring the forward foot especially creates more room for the follow through, allowing a full turn on impact. Keeping your back foot square or slightly flared to the target line will help you rotate your hips correctly on the backswing.
This is a fairly simply one. The arms, of course, should ideally be relaxed and free of tension. They should be hanging straight down, not in a straight line with the club shaft.
Keep your head still
Yes, it’s important to keep your head still at address but note that the best position of the head at address is tilted or turned slightly away from the target. This slight adjustment allows better spine rotation during the backswing. To allow your body to complete a full backswing, turn your head slightly away from the target.
Your head should be behind the ball to encourage ascending contact at impact.
At address, you should be relaxed as mentioned but also your weight should be nicely balanced between both feet. Also, your weight should be on your feet arches, not on your toes or heels. This gives you a solid and stable platform for your tee shot with your driver.
To assist, stability and balance when using the driver, widen your stance a little. Again, a general rule is, the longer the club, the wider the stance.
So, to summarize
- Relax your body
- Ball position in line with forward heel
- Get the right distance from the ball
- Clubface square to the target, don’t change the loft
- Correct tee height
- Correct body position
- Correct feet position
- Correct arms position
- Head slightly turned away from the target, head behind the ball
- Balanced, relaxed stance
Over time, all these techniques will become second nature once you’ve learned how to drive the golf ball correctly and you won’t need to think about them, it’ll be easy!
Good luck and Happy Golfing!