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Some days can be challenging on the golf course. You may be asking yourself, “Why can’t I hit my driver?” Class A PGA Professional Golfer, Brittany Olizarowicz shares her best golf driving tips.
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 with these senior players?
Drivers cause problems for amateur players; unfortunately, as we age, the driver becomes more difficult to hit. 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.
Senior 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.
How to Hit a Golf Driver Better | Beginner Mistakes & Common Misconceptions
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.
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.
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
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 the Driver (The Right Way!)
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.
Golf Ball Selection
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.
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.
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
A slice is the most common miss with a driver, but it can be fixed; here are a few tips to fix your slice.
- 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.
- 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.
- A draw bias driver can help close the clubface up at impact.
- 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.
- Don’t deloft the clubface at setup, chances are you will hit it left.
- Make sure the ball position is not too far forward in your stance; you may get to the impact position after the club has released completely.
- Check to make sure the grip is not overly strong.
- Always look for extension in your golf swing; the driver is a long club, keep your swing arc wider, long and slow takeaways will help with this.
- Tempo issues can cause a hook; even out your tempo and go back to the concept of two counts to get the club to the top and one count to get it down.
Golf Driver Drills to Improve Your Game
Working on golf swing mechanics is something that senior golfers should frequently be doing. 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?
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.