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Newbie Driver Problems

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 

I just took up golf for the 1st time 4 months ago. I worked with an instructor for a couple months, spent many hours so far at the range and have managed to play around 15 rounds (Chicago winter has halted that for now). While I have seen steady improvement with all aspects of my game (putting, irons, hybrids, 3-wood), I am still not able to hit my driver properly. In fact I don’t pull it out of the bag when playing. I tee off with the 3-wood.

 

When I hit my 3-wood properly (which is increasingly more often than not), the ball trajectory is a beautiful airplane like ascent with decent distance (175-200). My main swing thoughts are stopping at the top of my backswing, turning my hips/body first as I start the downswing, and almost letting go of the club (or throwing it) as I swing through the ball. When I get off the good shots, the club feels light and the swing feels easy…Now the driver, on the other hand, is a much different story. Despite trying to mimic the above, I cannot get that smooth contact or shot off. Right now I am focused on the bigger clubhead with a hard to find sweet spot as the culprit, but I really am at a loss. I know the driver has less loft and longer shaft as well.

 

Any wisdom out for a newbie like myself? I know that this is supposed to be the hardest club to master, but all the players that I get teamed up with at the course can all hit the club properly (give or take). It just seems like I am missing something very fundamental that alludes me.

 

Thanks for any feedback!

 

More info:

---------------

* 3-wood: Ping G20/ Regular flex shaft/15 loft

* Driver: Ping G20/Regular flex shaft/10.5 loft

* 44 years old

* 5’7”

* 175ibs

* Very good physical shape

post #2 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by baw1 View Post

I just took up golf for the 1st time 4 months ago. I worked with an instructor for a couple months, spent many hours so far at the range and have managed to play around 15 rounds (Chicago winter has halted that for now). While I have seen steady improvement with all aspects of my game (putting, irons, hybrids, 3-wood), I am still not able to hit my driver properly. In fact I don’t pull it out of the bag when playing. I tee off with the 3-wood.



Despite trying to mimic the above, I cannot get that smooth contact or shot off. Right now I am focused on the bigger clubhead with a hard to find sweet spot as the culprit, but I really am at a loss. I know the driver has less loft and longer shaft as well.

 



Try choking down on the driver and see if you handle the shorter length better. The drivers being sold are longer than what most of the pros use...And they're pros.

Sorry. This computer just went nuts!

Edited by MS256 - 12/22/13 at 8:57pm
post #3 of 36
Thread Starter 
I didn't know that the pros use shorter drivers. Very Interesting. I did experiment a couple times with choking down, but probably didn't give it enough time. I will try a full session at the range this way and see what happens . Thanks for the tip.
post #4 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by baw1 View Post

I didn't know that the pros use shorter drivers. Very Interesting. I did experiment a couple times with choking down, but probably didn't give it enough time. I will try a full session at the range this way and see what happens . Thanks for the tip.

Be careful with just choking down. That would be a totally different feel then getting a club made at the shorter length due to modifying the swing weight correctly. I cut my ping driver down. It was a different feel than just choking down.
post #5 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post

Be careful with just choking down. That would be a totally different feel then getting a club made at the shorter length due to modifying the swing weight correctly. I cut my ping driver down. It was a different feel than just choking down.
Thanks for your feedback. May I ask how far down you cut yours too? My driver is 45.75. 3-wood is 43. Also, if I walk into my local GolfSmith, will they cut down my current driver or would they want me to buy a brand new one(and cut that one)? Just not sure how this retrofitting is supposed to work.
post #6 of 36

A few basic things. Ball position is more forward, so remember not to have your shoulders too open at address when you setup to the ball. Make sure they're square and feeling a bit closed. For the high draw, you can also close your stance line a bit if that helps. 

 

Keeping the structure of the backswing is important too as you really don't need an overly long swing. You want to maintain some semblance of control here. 

 

And on the downswing, since the ball is more forward, you need a more pronounced weight shift. That means the hips have to slide a bit more (as they rotate) as opposed to say when you're swinging a wedge. You'd be feeling more pressure in the ball of front foot as well. 

 

Practice.

 

Swing smoothly with good rhythm and tempo.

 

Flaring out both feet 10-20 degrees can help with balance as well as setting up good things to happen in your actual swing (like how your knees and hips work).

 

There's lots of fun threads here to study up on, so good luck with browsing the community. 

post #7 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by baw1 View Post



Thanks for your feedback. May I ask how far down you cut yours too? My driver is 45.75. 3-wood is 43. Also, if I walk into my local GolfSmith, will they cut down my current driver or would they want me to buy a brand new one(and cut that one)? Just not sure how this retrofitting is supposed to work.

 



I know you didn't ask me but mine is 44 1/2 inches. To keep the same swingweight you are supposed to add 6 grams to the head for every 1/2 inch you cut off. That didn't work very well for me and I ended up adding about half that.

Of course many people (including me) don't know for a fact that the original swingweight was right for them anyway.

No difference in having your driver cut down and having a new one cut down, but letting a good club fitter do it is better than getting out the hack saw and guessing on the weight until you get it right.

I still say to choke down and hit some balls and see what happens. If it doesn't help it didn't cost you anything. The effective swing weight will change by choking down but it may or may not make much difference. You can always have it cut down later if that's what you need to do.
post #8 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MS256 View Post


I know you didn't ask me but mine is 44 1/2 inches. To keep the same swingweight you are supposed to add 6 grams to the head for every 1/2 inch you cut off. That didn't work very well for me and I ended up adding about half that.

Of course many people (including me) don't know for a fact that the original swingweight was right for them anyway.

No difference in having your driver cut down and having a new one cut down, but letting a good club fitter do it is better than getting out the hack saw and guessing on the weight until you get it right.

I still say to choke down and hit some balls and see what happens. If it doesn't help it didn't cost you anything. The effective swing weight will change by choking down but it may or may not make much difference. You can always have it cut down later if that's what you need to do.
Yes, will do that first for sure. Thanks.
post #9 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JetFan1983 View Post

A few basic things. Ball position is more forward, so remember not to have your shoulders too open at address when you setup to the ball. Make sure they're square and feeling a bit closed. For the high draw, you can also close your stance line a bit if that helps. 

Keeping the structure of the backswing is important too as you really don't need an overly long swing. You want to maintain some semblance of control here. 

And on the downswing, since the ball is more forward, you need a more pronounced weight shift. That means the hips have to slide a bit more (as they rotate) as opposed to say when you're swinging a wedge. You'd be feeling more pressure in the ball of front foot as well. 

Practice.

Swing smoothly with good rhythm and tempo.

Flaring out both feet 10-20 degrees can help with balance as well as setting up good things to happen in your actual swing (like how your knees and hips work).

There's lots of fun threads here to study up on, so good luck with browsing the community. 
Thanks for the various suggestions. I have tried various permutations of all of the above, but still have not cracked the code and thus my frustration, confusion, and post on this forum. It certainly may in fact be my swing mechanics, but just trying to eliminate anything obvious such as shaft length (as was suggested by others).
post #10 of 36

Just a thought, are you swinging the driver the same as you swing the 3 wood..? Sometimes we all try to swing the driver harder for that little extra couple of yards. I would suggest to try and swing your driver the same as you do the 3 wood and see what happens.

 

As MS256 mentioned re: chocking down, if the 3 wood is 43" and driver is 45" then chock down 2" to simulate the 3 wood. Good luck.

post #11 of 36

Instead of just turning the hips on the downswing I would recommend adding this feel.  Most beginners don't have nearly enough weight forward at impact.

 

http://thesandtrap.com/t/61376/5sk-video-thread#post_791160

post #12 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammer 4 View Post
 

Just a thought, are you swinging the driver the same as you swing the 3 wood..? Sometimes we all try to swing the driver harder for that little extra couple of yards. I would suggest to try and swing your driver the same as you do the 3 wood and see what happens.

 

As MS256 mentioned re: chocking down, if the 3 wood is 43" and driver is 45" then chock down 2" to simulate the 3 wood. Good luck.

Right. I am probably swinging too hard at times trying to get that distance out of the driver. I have made many conscious attempts to swing slower as well though. When I do so it seems that I get a clunky shot off more often than not. Or very little distance at all (which sorta defeats the purpose of using the driver). It is certainly possible that my speed control is a factor here though.

post #13 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvmac View Post
 

Instead of just turning the hips on the downswing I would recommend adding this feel.  Most beginners don't have nearly enough weight forward at impact.

 

http://thesandtrap.com/t/61376/5sk-video-thread#post_791160


Thanks for the comment. I believe my weight transfer and body pivot is ok. Sometimes I do forget this important step, and suffer a bad shot on any one of my clubs. If I am following the essence of the video though, the recommendation is to focus a bit more on pressing down with the left leg (since I am a righty) off the ground .. as the transfer occurs?

post #14 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by baw1 View Post
 


Thanks for the comment. I believe my weight transfer and body pivot is ok. Sometimes I do forget this important step, and suffer a bad shot on any one of my clubs. If I am following the essence of the video though, the recommendation is to focus a bit more on pressing down with the left leg (since I am a righty) off the ground .. as the transfer occurs?

 

Yes correct, better players have between 80-95% of their pressure on his front foot at impact. The average amateur has 55%.  Having the weight back or not forward enough can cause a host of problems.

 

As a newbie I would also recommend checking out these threads, good foundation for someone trying to decipher between good and bad information.  Where you are right now in golf, it is very likely your focus should be on Keys 1 and 2.

 

 Introducing Five Simple Keys® 

 5SK Video Thread 

post #15 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvmac View Post
 

 

Yes correct, better players have between 80-95% of their pressure on his front foot at impact. The average amateur has 55%.  Having the weight back or not forward enough can cause a host of problems.

 

As a newbie I would also recommend checking out these threads, good foundation for someone trying to decipher between good and bad information.  Where you are right now in golf, it is very likely your focus should be on Keys 1 and 2.

 

 Introducing Five Simple Keys® 

 5SK Video Thread 


Thanks. I will indeed focus on the weight shift more. I think my head is pretty stable currently (it used to not be). I do understand the physics of the arc/circle and why that's important.

post #16 of 36
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the various responses. At my next dome hitting session (its 13 degrees here right now :( ), I will be trying the following:

- choke up on driver ~2 inches

- don't over-swing (easier said than done)

- focus hard on getting as much weight transferred to leftleg/foot and pressing off that foot during downswing.

post #17 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by baw1 View Post
 

 I do understand the physics of the arc/circle and why that's important.

 

When the weight doesn't get forward, the path (circle/arc) will rotate too far the left and this can also cause the wrist angles to release too early and arms will over bend (chicken wing).  So it not only leads to a power loss but also contact issues.

post #18 of 36

Maybe i am missing something but I don't see a description of your miss with driver. What are you trying to correct? Distance? A slice? A hook? Body shift is just one part but your upper body may be the issue to. Especially if your left shoulder is dipping. This would prevent you from being able to generate any power and getting the club face square with the ball.

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