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Driver Help - "Right Way" ?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hi All,

 

I've been playing golf "seriously" for about a year, and I have always struggled with my driver.  Its the worst part of my game.  I've always been pretty good with my 3 wood off the deck.  Today, I popped my driver up on hole 6 about 140 yards and right, then hit a 3 wood about 215 off the deck to the rough on the right side of the green (i love my 3 wood).  I was so frustrated, I decided to try hitting my driver like my off the deck 3 wood.

 

I tee'd up low (a small sliver of the ball was sticking up above the driverhead)

Moved the ball very forward in my stance - probably middle of my left foot

Exaggerated my forward hip slide to make sure I hit the ball first

Took a few practice swings with a very small, brushed divot about 3 inches in front of the ball

Extremely loose hands on the grip - just like my 3 wood off the deck

No weight shift backwards like my 3 wood off the deck.

 

Then swung, hit down on the ball, and hit two of the best drives I have ever hit in my life (hole 8, a 365 yard par 4 I was around the 100 yard marker, and hole 9 a par 5 I hit it past a bunker I've never hit it past, maybe 240) and both were straight.  My friends were like "oh my god dude".  After the 9, I went to the range, and was just killing the ball.  I felt free to swing really hard and didn't feel like I would slice at all.  There were a ones where the ball moved right to left out to the left side (overdraw), but nothing horrible, and I picked up 20 yards probably, maybe more.

 

So, a few questions:

 

Every lesson I've ever had I've been taught to sweep with the driver.  Is this correct?  Everyone says you want to hit up on it.  Considering that, is it "Better" for me to do it the "right way" - which I've struggled with - or to maybe game this for a while? Whenever I try to focus on "sweeping" I either slice or pop up.

 

I took my 3 wood stance, with my toes out to the sides a bit on both feet.  I've always been taught with driver to have your front foot flared out and your back foot straight ot the target line.  Is there a "correct" way?

 

I've always been taught that "getting my weight behind" my driver is how to get more distance than the distanceI usually hit it.  Am I losing potential distance this way (by losing the weight shift and making it more like a 3 wood)?  I know I am gaining it, but I am concerned stopping to work on my weight shift will hurt me long term.

 

Are there any pros or anyone who hits driver like this I could maybe watch to get some tips?  Low and forward tee, downward strike?

 

I'm really excited about what this might be able to do for my game, but I'm worried that I am hurting my improvement by doing something that works well now but might not be sound fundamentals.

post #2 of 13

Several people (Foley and Clampett spring to mind) suggest hitting down on the driver like an iron. The theory is that you are more accurate. Trackman stats suggest you are giving up ~20 or so yards by hitting down instead of sweeping up.

 

 

post #3 of 13

What you are describing -  ball forward and tee'd low, no weight shift, and downward strike - is a pretty standard Stack and Tilt driver setup. Absolutely nothing wrong with hitting the ball this way and it sounds like you already do this with other clubs like the three wood. 

 

 

Take a look at Troy Matteson, a Stack and Tilt guy that hits it about 300 yards.

- Ball forward

- Tee'd low

- Very little weight shift back - centered pivot

- Downward strike.

 

post #4 of 13

Trackman PGA Tour Average AoA for a driver is -1.3 degrees.  So that does means on "average" the PGA Tour is hitting down with there driver.

 

Something to note though, the LPGA Tour Average AoA for a driver is +3.0 degrees.  So that means on "average" the LPGA Tour is hitting up with there driver. 

 

Average PGA Tour Driver Club head speed is 112 mph

Average LPGA Tour Driver Club head speed is 94 mph

 

 

Now with all that said, considering you are hitting your 3 wood 215 yards I am going to assume your club head swing speed is not 112 mph. 

 

So I would probably recommend you learn to hit your driver somewhere AoA range of 0.0 to +3.0 degrees to get optimal performance. 

post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by sk golf View Post

Trackman PGA Tour Average AoA for a driver is -1.3 degrees.  So that does means on "average" the PGA Tour is hitting down with there driver.

 

Something to note though, the LPGA Tour Average AoA for a driver is +3.0 degrees.  So that means on "average" the LPGA Tour is hitting up with there driver. 

 

Average PGA Tour Driver Club head speed is 112 mph

Average LPGA Tour Driver Club head speed is 94 mph

 

 

Now with all that said, considering you are hitting your 3 wood 215 yards I am going to assume your club head swing speed is not 112 mph. 

 

So I would probably recommend you learn to hit your driver somewhere AoA range of 0.0 to +3.0 degrees to get optimal performance. 



Exactly, well said.  But so everyone understands, we don't want to hit up by swinging up, this leads to having the weight too far back and "flipping" at the ball, and low point moves too far back.  We want to get + AoA's from having the weight forward and the hands forward at impact.  You may FEEl like you hitting down, but unless you get on a Trackman who don't know what the exact measurements are.  But I like what you are trying to do with your swing

 

This thread will puts it all together and very much what your doing with your swing

http://thesandtrap.com/t/44307/hitting-up-or-down-with-the-driver-in-an-inline-pattern

 

post #6 of 13

This is a case where average might not be the number you care about. You really want the mode is (most frequent number) as 50 guys hitting down 3 degrees and 50 hitting up 3 degrees gives you an average of zero. Or even better a graph of distance versus AOA to see if it is the short hitters hitting down and losing accuracy or the long guys who don't care about distance hitting down for accuracy. Plotting LPGA accuracy versus PGA accuracy would also be nifty but I am not sure how (other than measuring fairways) to tell how bad the average miss is.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sk golf View Post

Trackman PGA Tour Average AoA for a driver is -1.3 degrees.  So that does means on "average" the PGA Tour is hitting down with there driver.

 

Something to note though, the LPGA Tour Average AoA for a driver is +3.0 degrees.  So that means on "average" the LPGA Tour is hitting up with there driver. 

 

Average PGA Tour Driver Club head speed is 112 mph

Average LPGA Tour Driver Club head speed is 94 mph

 

 

Now with all that said, considering you are hitting your 3 wood 215 yards I am going to assume your club head swing speed is not 112 mph. 

 

So I would probably recommend you learn to hit your driver somewhere AoA range of 0.0 to +3.0 degrees to get optimal performance. 



 

post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by sk golf View Post

Trackman PGA Tour Average AoA for a driver is -1.3 degrees.  So that does means on "average" the PGA Tour is hitting down with there driver.

 

Something to note though, the LPGA Tour Average AoA for a driver is +3.0 degrees.  So that means on "average" the LPGA Tour is hitting up with there driver. 

 

Average PGA Tour Driver Club head speed is 112 mph

Average LPGA Tour Driver Club head speed is 94 mph

 

 

Now with all that said, considering you are hitting your 3 wood 215 yards I am going to assume your club head swing speed is not 112 mph. 

 

So I would probably recommend you learn to hit your driver somewhere AoA range of 0.0 to +3.0 degrees to get optimal performance.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvmac View Post



Exactly, well said.  But so everyone understands, we don't want to hit up by swinging up, this leads to having the weight too far back and "flipping" at the ball, and low point moves too far back.  We want to get + AoA's from having the weight forward and the hands forward at impact.  You may FEEl like you hitting down, but unless you get on a Trackman who don't know what the exact measurements are.  But I like what you are trying to do with your swing

 

This thread will puts it all together and very much what your doing with your swing

http://thesandtrap.com/t/44307/hitting-up-or-down-with-the-driver-in-an-inline-pattern

 



Remember low point is opposite your left shoulder because that is the center of club head orbit (arc). So with that said, just like Mike said, weight forward and hands forward at impact, you can still hit with + AoA by putting ball position further forward. 

 

AngleApproach.jpg

 

So long story short, hands forward, weight forward, (just like every other shot), but add ball position forward.

 

post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thank you to everyone for the replies, and that great link to the other thread.  After a morning at the range trying this out, I am really excited about this and what it might do for my game.  I just had a breakthrough on the range.  I bought some smaller castle tees (about 1/3rd of ball above my driver), took my normal iron stance (not the "driver stance" I've been working on) and made a 3 wood swing (no weight shift, exaggerate hips forward).  Playing around with ball position it seems the further forward, the higher, the further back, the lower - but the real key here is not having a "driver swing" that, for me, is a disaster 3-4 times per round, but rather just my usual swing.  It is so much easier to go at the ball hard with no weight shift, low tee, and big hip drive.  

 

I put away my 10.5* driver and took out my old Lucky 13* SQ Sumo from when I started playing.  I was just ripping the ball with the 13* of loft, low tee, hitting down.  The 10.5* didn't get it off the ground enough, probably 180 carry.  The 13* just hit a penetrating line drive.  It was awesome.  I'm not long, and I'm still not, but I hit one over the 240 green (I think its actually more like 230) at the range on the fly with the 13* and a big hip push forward.  I've never done that before (and I've only come close a handful of times).  I cannot wait to play a round on Wend.  As soon as I felt driving the hips hard with really loose hands, I've never felt that before.  It hits it so much harder - its a hit and not guiding it.  Sorry if this is a rant - I am just pumped about it.

 

A few more questions (I really want to learn more about this because I think it could make a huge difference in my game.  I have always hated the driver.):

 

How "long" does it take to go from -5 degrees to +2 degrees?  Depends on swing speed, sure, but probably not very long.  Its almost like you should feel like you are hitting down, but tee the ball up in such a way that you actually catch it up (but it doesn't feel like you catch it up)?

 

Do you think a human can feel the difference between -5 degrees and +2 degrees?  That is, can a conscious desire to "hit up" do anything *but* mess you up?  If you asked a tour pro (or anyone very sensitive to a swing) to watch someone drive, could they tell the difference between -5 and +5 with the naked eye?  I'm not sure.  I was trying to do it today, and its hard.

 

If the difference is something our senses can't measure, why have all the instructors I've ever had told me to "hit up" ?

 

Is there data kept anywhere on PGA Tour Pro tee height and AoA? (like, by player, not just on average.  Looking for more swings to watch.  I watched a ton of Matteson's and they helped alot. He *really* drives his hips with his hands loose.  On one of the youtube videos, he grabs the driver, lets go, shakes out his hands, and grabs it again.  I added that to my preshot routine and it really helped).

 

Alot of instructors (and books) tell me to tee it up really high - like 3 1/4" or something.  If a +5 AoA is required, why do you double the tee height?  In other words, mathematics would seem taht there would be a relationship between AoA and tee height and it seems wrong that you would need a almost tripling of tee height to achieve 6 degrees difference in AoA.  Is this wrong?

 

My 3 wood is lofted about 15.5*.  When i hit it off the deck, and really catch it, I can hit it 210-220 carry plus roll, and probably average 190-200.  I had a few drives today that were 250 carry plus roll (laser shot), and averaged about 230 (which is huge for me, just huge).  How can 2.5* of loft produce those huge differences in yardages?  Does the tee make that much difference?  (My 3 wood is cut down 1", but it seems still like too big a difference for only 2.5* or loft difference).

 

I've had two instructors tell me to get distance by "getting my weight behind" my drives.  Once I get a little better at this, should I add a weight shift?  Is this true?

 

Thanks again for the replies, especially the Matteson video.

post #9 of 13


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnclayton1982 View Post

 

 

I put away my 10.5* driver and took out my old Lucky 13* SQ Sumo from when I started playing.  I was just ripping the ball with the 13* of loft, low tee, hitting down.  The 10.5* didn't get it off the ground enough, probably 180 carry.  The 13* just hit a penetrating line drive. 

 

If you hit down on your driver, you need more loft. If you deloft a 10.5 (or any low lofted club) degree face by hitting down on it too much, it makes it very difficult to get the ball up. So many players out there let their egos rule the loft of the driver they have. I think if my memory serves me, the average loft on tour is 10.5 because most players hit with that slightly descending blow as the figures posted suggest. For me, 10.5 is too much. I have tried it. I hit just on the up with the driver. Well done to you for recognizing that your loft was too low. 

 

 

post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnclayton1982 View Post

My 3 wood is lofted about 15.5*.  When i hit it off the deck, and really catch it, I can hit it 210-220 carry plus roll, and probably average 190-200.  I had a few drives today that were 250 carry plus roll (laser shot), and averaged about 230 (which is huge for me, just huge).  How can 2.5* of loft produce those huge differences in yardages?  Does the tee make that much difference?  (My 3 wood is cut down 1", but it seems still like too big a difference for only 2.5* or loft difference).

 

I've had two instructors tell me to get distance by "getting my weight behind" my drives.  Once I get a little better at this, should I add a weight shift?  Is this true?

 

Thanks again for the replies, especially the Matteson video.


Glad to hear you are hitting the driver better. You are definitely on the right track.

 

Part of the difference in distance between your driver and 3w is the 2.5° difference in loft. Also remember that your 3w is probably 42"-43" long and your driver is 45"-46" long. Those extra couple of inches make a big difference in swing speed. 

 

Teeing up the ball to the correct height for your swing is important. Remember, your objective is to hit the ball with the sweet spot of the driver (somewhere between dead center on the face and center on the face but a bit higher than center on the face). Teeing the ball a little higher may help you AoA a bit but it is not going to change it by 5°. To hit the ball more on the upswing you can experiment with moving the ball more forward in your stance - if you have the ball even with your left heel in your swing trying moving it 1-2" toward the target. Your swing will bottom out behind the ball and should hit it on the upswing giving you a positive AoA.

 

When you say you have "no weight shift" what I think you are saying is that you do not shift your weight to your back foot. From your descriptions I'd say you do have a weight shift, it's just your weight stays centered during your backswing and then moves forward in your downswing when you slide your hips. If the majority of your weight ends up on your front foot at the end of your swing then you do have a weight shift through the ball. This is exactly what Stack and Tilt advocates. Many people, myself included, have a really hard time getting the timing correct when trying to shift their weight to the back foot to get behind the ball and then shift it to the front foot.

 

Keep on doing what you're doing. You've made huge strides in the right direction. Here's another video for you.

 

post #11 of 13

Great advice, and glad to hear your hitting it well!

 

  I believe that the reason why many teachers tell students to Hit up with driver is to compensate for the lack of loft in the club. Its why so many people like their 3 wood and hate the driver. The 3 wood has much more loft. Tour players on average hit down with a low lofted driver, if the average golfer tried to do this with the same lofted driver they would have terrible ballflight ( if they had a slower ss). I have tried that and mine goes knee high. So to compensate for the if you hit up on the ball your adding loft. Why not just get a more lofted driver, instead of changing a good swing? Trying to master one swing in golf is hard enough, let alone two! I still cant believe that most people play the same loft as tour players, then wonder why they are so inconsistent. 

 

  Maybe the reason why the LPGA on average hits up on the ball is because they have too strong of equipment? Growing up I bet many girls are given their dads or brothers old sticks, which were probably really strong....so they had to learn a way to hit them. If they didn't hit up on them they I bet got bad ball flight. I don't think that means that hitting up on it is a good thing, I think its a compensation.

 

 

 I could be totally wrong..lol 

post #12 of 13

I think your totally wronga1_smile.gif Well not really.  For a given club head speed there is a correct launch angle and spin rate to maximize distance. One of the easiest ways to reduce spin is to lower the loft of the club. The guys that hit the 3 wood farther are the  ones that need more spin (or can't hit the center of the driver) than the loft of their current driver. The guys hitting up are the ones that are happy with their spin but want a higher launch angle.

 

If I had to guess why the LPGA players hit up, it would be the same reason that they use longer drivers than PGA pros. They need the distance. A lot of PGA pros don't.  It really isn't that much of a different shot. You are moving the ball forward and inch or two and catching on a different part of the arc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by golfernc View Post

Great advice, and glad to hear your hitting it well!

 

  I believe that the reason why many teachers tell students to Hit up with driver is to compensate for the lack of loft in the club. Its why so many people like their 3 wood and hate the driver. The 3 wood has much more loft. Tour players on average hit down with a low lofted driver, if the average golfer tried to do this with the same lofted driver they would have terrible ballflight ( if they had a slower ss). I have tried that and mine goes knee high. So to compensate for the if you hit up on the ball your adding loft. Why not just get a more lofted driver, instead of changing a good swing? Trying to master one swing in golf is hard enough, let alone two! I still cant believe that most people play the same loft as tour players, then wonder why they are so inconsistent. 

 

  Maybe the reason why the LPGA on average hits up on the ball is because they have too strong of equipment? Growing up I bet many girls are given their dads or brothers old sticks, which were probably really strong....so they had to learn a way to hit them. If they didn't hit up on them they I bet got bad ball flight. I don't think that means that hitting up on it is a good thing, I think its a compensation.

 

 

 I could be totally wrong..lol 



 

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

 

 

Quote:
  I believe that the reason why many teachers tell students to Hit up with driver is to compensate for the lack of loft in the club.


I disagree.  I think they are just misguided.  In all my experimentation, I realized you cannot "hit up" as a conscious thought.  It leads to horrible mistakes.  You have to *feel* like you are hitting down, but use your ball position to catch it just on the upswing.

 

Ball position with the driver is pretty important.  It has drastically lowered my scores to be able to have two shots off the tee - a high ball that will go striaght or right and a low ball that will go left and low.   Tee it up low and back in my stance produces either straight or a line drive draw / hook that finishes left of the target 90% of the time, and teeing it up high and foward, with the same swing, is either straight or a slice, with a much higher trajectory, that will finish at or right of the target 90% of the time.

 

It is much easier to play golf when you can take away one half of the fairway and can hit the shot shape you want.  Its made a huge difference.  I can't hit a high draw or a low slice, though, but my consistency with the high slice / low hook is such that it has really helped my game.

 

I think the big problem is people tee it 4" off the ground and try to literally "hit up" and have all sorts of mishits.  "Hit up" I think really means feel like you are hitting down, and just have your ball position correct.

 

Also I went from 9* driver to 13* to 11.5*.  11.5* feels pretty good.  9* was the worst.

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