Want to learn how to use a golf driver correctly to improve your swing? Combine swing plane, footwork and your backswing to develop your technique and lower your score.

Here is some background on how to use a golf driver and other things you should know about this type of golf club.

What is a Driver Golf Club?

A driver golf club has a sizable metal club head and is the longest in the golf bag. It adds weight when you drive a ball a long distance. Most golfers use drivers for 4 and 5-par holes.

In contrast, woods are used to make shots from the fairway and may have lower accuracy than other golf club types. Fairway woods have shorter shafts and smaller club heads, although they have metal heads like drivers. Hybrids, or rescue clubs, are a cross between drivers and fairway woods.

Tips for How to Use a Driver in Golf

Use a wide stance. Position the ball in line with your front heel. This stance sets up the shot. Position your hands just above the driver’s head.  Place slightly more weight on your back leg. You want your left shoulder to be higher than your right shoulder if you’re a right-handed golfer. The right shoulder should be higher than the left shoulder if you if you’re left-handed. (Tilt your body back slightly to keep your shoulders in the position that’s correct for you.)

Hold the club so that you form a V-shape with your hands as you address the ball. The displacement of your weight and your hands in front of the ball position your shoulders parallel to the target line.

Rotate your entire upper body starting with your shoulders to make the backswing. Pull the driver to the spot where your head is positioned over your shoulders as it faces the target. Your arms should be away from your body to prevent an inside-out swing.

Extend your arms to finish the shot. Arms should be extended far from the body. Keep your head down and bring the club through the ball to follow through. The club head should be extended, so it finishes over your head.  For a right-handed golfer, your shoulders should point left of the target after you complete your swing.

Using Your Driver off the Tee

The driver will send your ball farther than other clubs. Due to its far-reaching, a driver will be less forgiving overall than other clubs and cause more slices and hooks. When you make a mistake swinging the driver, the hooks or other errors will be greater.

Exercise caution when driving the ball off the tee. You don’t need to hit the driver off the tee every time. Your decision-making abilities about teeing off will get better the more you play. Some situations call for a different method of getting the ball off the tee. You can use the driver on more forgiving holes. In situations where there will be more trouble, use a safer method.

Improve Your Driver Grip

Work on your driver grip for a better swing and a more targeted shot. To grip your driver for maximum impact, follow these instructions:

Hold the driver in your left hand if you’re right-handed. Hold the driver about an inch below the top of the grip.  Put the club deep in the palm of your left hand. Wrap your fingers around the club, so your fingertips hit the palm of your hand or at least come close to it. Your left thumb should go down the club shaft. You should be able to pull the club back and imitate a backswing if you are holding the club firmly enough.

Now put the small finger of your right hand in the space between the middle finger and forefinger of your left hand. Wrap the remaining fingers on the right hand around the club shaft. Your right thumb should be arranged in a line down the club shaft.

Check to see that you have a tight grasp on the club as you prepare the shot. Hold the club at a five on a scale of one to ten. Your grip should be similar to that of a firm handshake.  A tighter grip will make it hard to get a full swing and proper hip rotation. A grip that’s looser than a firm handshake will cause you to drop the club.

Always work on your grip when you practice on the driving range. Work on perfecting your grip. It is the first step to a successful swing.

Types of Golf Club Drivers

Today’s drivers benefit from modern technology to give you more choices for your game. You don’t need to use a generic driver anymore. You can find one that’s perfect for your playing style. How to use a driver golf club to your advantage depends, in part, on the loft, shaft, and clubhead of your golf club.

Weighted Drivers

Weighted drivers are new to the golfing market and changing how to use a driver golf club for many people.

These drivers have removable weights to help you control the flight of any ball you hit. You’ll be able to engineer the flight path of the ball by adding or removing weights. You’ll still need to master your swing to make a weighted driver give you the results you want.

Clubheads for Drivers

Most drivers have larger heads and a bigger sweet spot, but you’ll still need to decide if the club heads should be titanium, steel or composite. Steel driver heads are less expensive and consistent, but they have a smaller sweet spot and are harder to hit.

Titanium driver heads are larger and more forgiving. These club heads have big sweet spots but are more expensive than steel.  Composite driver heads are similar to titanium driver heads with a moderate price tag.

The Loft

The loft determines how high the ball travels. Most lofts range from 11 to 18 degrees. To optimize drive lengths you need to find the right driver. You also need to find a driver with a loft that maximizes ground roll and flight.

If you’re a low-handicap golfer, you can go lower than 11-degree loft. The higher the degree of the loft, the less side spin you’ll get. Reduced side spin may cause hooks and slices.  Expert golfers can handle a lower-degreed loft because they have better swings and can handle harsher clubface angles.

Driver Shafts

Driver shafts are another key to how to use a driver golf club. The driver shaft helps to cultivate club head position when it comes in contact with the ball. Traditional steel shafts flex less and weigh more. You can control a steel shaft better than other types, but they reduce swing speed and provide less power on impact.

Graphite shafts are used on most drivers today. Clubs with lightweight shafts increase the speed of the clubhead and let you make longer shots when compared with steel shafts. These new shafts allow several flexing choices. The amount of flex depends on the way you swing the club. A steel shaft may be better than graphite for a low-handicap golfer with a more natural swing.

Shafts come in many lengths, allowing you to experiment with how to use a driver golf club. Buy (or borrow) clubs of various lengths to find the one that fits your height and swing style. You’ll get more clubhead speed with a longer shaft, but consequently, have less control. Whatever club you choose, using these tips can help improve your use of your driver. 

Featured image: CC by CC A-SA 3.0 Unported, by Joe Miller, via Wikimedia Commons

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