Distance versus accuracy with the driver is much like a chicken and the egg dilemma. Which is more important? Which should we focus on first? The short answer is yes to both. However, reality dictates that depending on the results required, producing that specific drive can be a challenge. Interestingly, a minor change to our setup can produce a drive that meets the situation. It is very simple to accomplish and does not require a swing change. It is all in the setup!
I have experimented with my driver setup for years. I have tried different tee heights, ball position, and weight distribution. After years of trial and error, I have come to the conclusion that there is no one right answer. Well, actually there is a right answer, but it is unique to each player. There are some norms to follow when developing a consistent playable tee shot; a point of note: you will need to put in a bit of range time to make this happen. As a place to start, here is a good video that explains how ball position and tee height will help you on your way for a better game off the tee.
The basics of driving the ball are in the video. My observations produced a slightly minor variation to what is espoused in the video. The written recap, taken from the video, is as follows:
“How to Hit Driver for Distance – In your golf setup, golf ball position for driver should be off the inside of the lead heel and the golf ball height should be teed so half the ball is above the crown of the driver at address.”
“How to Hit Driver for Accuracy – golf ball position should be slightly back in the stance, but still forward of center. Driver tee height should be at a point where the ball should only be slightly higher than the crown of the golf club. The tee height driver tip helps more than the average amateur would think.”
When working on distance, I found that if my ball is tee up too high, I push the ball to the right. For some reason, I do not shift my hips enough to keep the club face square. The ball does travel about 10 yards farther, however my accuracy is not to my standard. By moving the ball back slightly than shown in the video, I fix that issue but still experience some accuracy challenges.
Working on accuracy is slightly different. I have a tendency to tee my ball up lower because I feel that accuracy tops distance 90% of the time. At one time, the ball was so low, it never peaked over the top of my driver head. Even when the fairway is wide open, I did sacrifice some distance. Fortunately, increasing my accuracy allowed for more playable second shots albeit longer than hoped.
Over the past few years, I decided to try for the extra distance with some accuracy. A hybrid model would accurately describe my driver setup. I have found the proper ball height and position with my driver. I am comfortable with my distance off the tee (about 240 yard average) with the odd poke a little farther. My hybrid setup works best for my game and has resulted in fairly accurate shots off the tee. My approach incorporates the fundamentals in the video and adjusted to fit my game.
There is always a time to increase distance or accuracy when playing golf. Neither provides a 100% solution on its own. Understanding the mechanics to producing a long or very accurate tee shot should help lower your golf scores. Personally, the hybrid approach is best. Finding what works best for you will take some time on the range, but the results will be worth the effort.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!
4 thoughts on “Driving The Ball With Success”
Lost a bunch of distance on a tee shot yesterday because I toed it so bad on a 488 yard par 5 yesterday. But I centered the 3 wood I hit from the fairways right edge. Driver distance 230. 3 wood distance 256.
For most of us the absolute best thing we can do to increase distance is hit the ball with the right area of the face of the club.
Best practice for that costs nothing. Make a gate around the ball with two tees when you practice. Hit the ball and not the gate and you’re finding center. With irons you’ll also be able to tell where your divot is starting. After the gate means ball first and before means you lost speed hitting the ground before the ball.
I don’t think there’s any better way to practice.
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Thanks for the tip. I will give it a try.
Teeing the ball even a bit lower does not work for me. My best(long and straight) drives come from contact slightly above centre which requires a high tee.
For me a Low tee = low strike and poor performance.
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Every player is different. You have a smooth swing and I can see how teeing the ball up higher would work for your game. Mine not so much.