Why Can’t I Hit My Driver? Best Golf Driver Tips For Seniors

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When I was at the height of my golf teaching career, the majority of lessons I taught in a day were to senior golfers. 

Can you guess what the number one complaint was?

The driver. 

Drivers can cause problems for amateur players; unfortunately, the driver becomes more challenging to hit as we age. If you are tired of not being about to hit your driver and ready to fix it once and for all, you are in the right place. 

Over the age of 50, golfers face specific challenges when hitting a driver straight and long. So, if you are asking yourself, “Why can’t I hit my driver?” let’s get started. 

Beginner Mistakes & Common Misconceptions

Ernie Els show practicing on the driving range

If you are new to the game, you probably have already put too much pressure on yourself about hitting a driver shot. The driver takes a little while to master, don’t give up, and use these tips to get you to your goal faster. 

Gripping the Driver 

The driver grip should be the same as an iron grip, mostly neutral with the club in your fingers. However, as a beginner, if you notice that you are continually slicing the ball, it’s ok to make the grip a little stronger. 

Do this by slightly turning the lead hand (usually the left) to the right and then putting the right hand on. With the lead hand turned a little right, the right hand will sit further beneath the club, making it easier to square up the clubface. 

Beginners Driver Swing Setup

The driver swing setup is just slightly different than the iron setup. The biggest mistake I see beginners make is to exaggerate this setup.

Here is what driver swing set up should look like: 

  • Feet are slightly wider than shoulder-width 
  • Weight is balanced (or slightly on the right side-right handed player)
  • Shoulders have a slight tilt to them, with the right just a little lower than the left. 
  • Feet are set up parallel to the target, with the lead foot turning out a corner turn. 

Driver Swing vs Iron Swing

The biggest difference between the driver and the iron swing is how you strike the golf ball. With the driver swing, you can hit the ball when the club is moving up; on the iron swing, you make contact when the club is moving down. 

The good news here is that most of this happens naturally with the right setup and ball position. However, it’s good to have this mental image of hitting up on your driver instead of hitting down. 

Ball Position

Golf driver and golf ball on a tee.

The ball position is SO important for beginner golfers to narrow down. The golf ball should be positioned on the left heel. This is forward of center and forward of any other club in the bag. 

Positioning the ball in this location allows for the proper swing path and golf ball flight. My favorite way to find the perfect ball position is to stand with your feet completely together, get the ball just inside the left heel, and then drop the right foot back to just about shoulder width. 

Swing Tempo

All of your friends will tell you, “Swing it nice and easy.” Please don’t do this. 

The most common issue that senior golfers face is lack of clubhead speed. The last thing you want to do is start swinging slower intentionally! 

Instead, learn to even out your tempo. The best concept is to count to two, and then three is your downswing. Slightly slower backswings allow you to get the club in the right position; from there, you can be aggressive. 

Golf Driver Launch Angle

The driver has very little loft, usually between 9 and 12 degrees. If you struggle to get the proper launch, it’s probably one of two issues. 

  • You are closing the driver head down at setup instead of letting it sit square. 
  • Or your ball position is too far back, making you hit the driver as part of the downswing as opposed to the upswing. 

Hitting Driver Tips & Strategies for Most Amateur Golfers 

Photo taken by Senior Golf Source of Nelly Korda hitting her driver off the tee box.

Have you ever purchased a new driver, hoping it would fix your game off the tee forever? 

Did it work? 

I’m all for new golf technology, but needing a new driver is just one of the MANY reasons golfers cannot hit their drivers well. In fact, if you have a purely equipment-based issue, consider yourself lucky! 

Here are some of the problems and issues senior amateur golfers face and how you can become more confident and capable off the tee. 

Increase Driver Distance

If you want to learn how to hit the driver farther, you need to focus on speed and consistency of contact. Striking the golf ball in the center of the driver gets you more yards. You get even more yards if you can strike the ball with more speed. 

As we age, swing speed can become a problem, so senior golfers have to work a little harder at it. I would recommend the following tips for increasing your driver distance. 

  • Use a weighted golf club trainer or speed training device; you might even invest in a launch monitor to help you measure your speed and increase total distance. 
  • Focus on a slightly more shallow backswing; it’s hard to get a lot of distance from an upright position with a driver in the hands. 
  • Stay very stable at impact, watch what the professionals look like, weight shift to the left, straight left arm, head tucked in and right over the ball; think about this stability to increase distance. 
  • Transfer your weight from center to right to left; there is a lot of power in this movement, and players that swing with just their arms will lose distance. 

Practice Hitting the Driver (The Right Way!)

Beautiful sunny day on the tee with a older golfer teeing off with his driver. Taken by Senior Golf Source.

Yes, practice can be both right and wrong. 

I love that you want to head to the range and work on your driver, but you must be careful how you do this. Think to yourself, how many drivers in a row do you hit on the golf course? 

The answer is one. 

We don’t get to hit driver after driver after driver. Therefore, when on the driving range, avoid this as well. 

Hit one driver (where you line up and do your entire pre-shot routine). Analyze the positives and negatives of this driver, maybe even take a practice swing or two, and then hit another one. I would keep it to two in a row, maximum. 

Then hit a few iron shots or even a fairway wood shot. 

Anything you can do to avoid rapid firing driver after driver helps you translate your practice to the golf course. 

Also, if you have a practice session where you hit 15 drives, but you do it as I described above, it’s more effective than standing there like a golf ball hitting machine and hitting 50 drives. 

Your Golf Ball Selection Matters

Bucket of golf balls with Pro V1 golf balls and Pro V1 Alternatives

Some golf balls fly further than others. In fact, I recently did a test for my own game and played nine holes using three golf balls. Of course, not all of my swings are exactly the same, but seeing how some golf balls consistently have 10 to 15 yards less off the tee, made me realize the importance of the golf ball selection. 

Choose a golf ball based on your golf swing speed. 

The more speed you have, the more layers you should invest in. Golf balls with four or five layers are harder to compress and more helpful for faster swing speed golfers.  If you have a slower swing speed, then you’ll want to consider that, too, before investing in a box of Titleist ProV1.

Increasing Speed Using Ground Forces 

Ground forces are something you are going to hear a lot more about in the near future. The concept here is to use the ground as your friend. When coming into the impact position, push off the ground with your right leg to get the weight transferred to your left. 

Use the ground and the resistance you feel to help generate more power. 

Balance Work 

Golf Training Equipment - showing the Eye Line Balance Rod

Have you noticed your balance and agility decline a bit as you age? This is incredibly common, but you can make up for it with some extra work in the gym. 

Senior golfers need to work on weighted training while focusing on balance. A medicine ball is a great investment, as well as leverage discs. Try to add balance work to a daily routine instead of just working on it before you run out onto the course. 

Another great product to try out for improving your balance is the Eye Line Balance Rod.

Mental Images and Plan 

Are you visualizing the shot you want to hit with your driver? 

If you are not, do yourself a favor and don’t even swing the club back. Visualization and creating a mental plan are so important for all golfers, but especially senior players. 

When you stand on the tee box, pick a specific spot you want the golf ball to land, not just center. Make sure you are lined up with something, and visualize what your tee shots look like. 

Just before you swing the golf club back, allow yourself one more look at the target, just to make sure your brain and body are working together. 

Clubface At Setup 

My stepdad is a 23 handicap senior golfer, and every time I play with him, he sets the driver on the ground a different way. Some days it’s closed (or delofted); other days, it’s squared up. However, he never just trusts the club and lets it sit as it is supposed to sit naturally. 

The designers of your golf equipment knew what they were doing; trust them and let the club sit on the ground naturally with the face square to the target. Don’t manipulate the clubface at setup. 

Golf Driving Tips on How to Fix a Slice

senior golfer hitting his driver at the driving range.

A slice is the most common miss with a driver, but it can be fixed; here are a few tips to fix your slice. 

  1. Make sure your feet and your shoulders are on the same line at setup; sometimes, your shoulders are open to the target, and it can cause a slice. 
  2. As you swing the club back, make sure to initiate a body turn; the arms-only swing gets the club too upright, causing a slice. 
  3. A draw bias driver can help close the clubface up at impact. 
  4. Start thinking about the release (or turning over of the golf driver, right from the top of the swing); most seniors struggle with releasing the club too late. 

Tips to Keep You From Hooking Your Driver

The hook is a less common miss for seniors than the slice, but it is still a problem; here are some checkpoints to ensure you can eliminate the hook. 

Golf Driver Drills to Improve Your Game 

Working on golf swing mechanics is something older golfers should frequently do. Here are some of my favorite driver drills to help take your game to the next level. 

Golf Driver Drills

Golf Driver Tips to Increase Distance

Golf Driver Tips for Seniors

Final Thoughts on Why Can’t I Hit My Driver

Whether in a golf slump or simply looking to become better off the tee, I hope this article clarifies why you can’t hit your driver. Don’t give up on this club; senior golfers need a trustworthy driver, or the golf course just gets too long. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why can’t I hit my new driver?

Your new driver may not be set up properly to accommodate your game, and you might have an issue with the driver shaft. Play around with the adjustability on the driver head to see if it can help. 

Are some drivers easier to hit?

Some golf drivers are considered very forgiving. For instance, if you compare something like the Cleveland Launcher XL to the Paradym Triple Diamond Driver, one is meant for average golfers seeking forgiveness, and the TD is for low handicap golfers. 

Do I need a Draw Bias Driver?

If you consistently slice the ball and have not been able to learn the proper timing of a release, the draw bias golfer is a good solution.

Should I swing my driver as hard as I can?

Swinging a driver hard helps create extra distance and sometimes gets straighter shots. The key is to make sure your fundamentals are perfect and that you still have stability. 

How long does it take to learn to hit a driver?

Some golfers learn to hit a driver in a few weeks; others take a year or two to feel fully confident. 

Why do I hit my driver too high?

Many golfers hit their driver too high because they have it teed too high. Try to get about half of the ball above the top of the driver’s head to ensure it’s the proper height for a solid impact. 

Do you change your swing for a driver?

Change your ball position and your setup for the driver, and the rest of the swing mechanics could fall into place naturally. 

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Brittany Olizarowicz is a Class A PGA Professional Golfer with nearly 30 years of experience. Many of her teaching years were spent training senior golfers. In recent years, Britt's career has moved to golf writing, where she shares her knowledge with a global audience. Britt is still a scratch golfer and enjoys playing golf with her husband and two young children several times a week.

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