Improve Your Drive – the Most Basic Basics
Many golfers will tell you the drive is the most difficult part of the game to master. There are several reasons for this, and they land in both mental and physical aspects of the game. On the physical side, the main reason is that the driver is the least forgiving of the clubs. Because of the greater distance that the ball will (hopefully) travel, small mistakes are amplified. From a mental standpoint, the driver is the most intimidating and most frustrating of the clubs, and the drive is the most public of swings. For the golfer who wants to focus on his or her drive, it appears to be a tough, uphill battle. However, if you take everything one step at a time, resist frustration, and stay calm, it’s a challenge that can be overcome.
The Mental Game
Golf is supposed to be fun, remember? Then again, isn’t it the challenge that makes it fun? Golf is an extremely mental sport. It’s important to get your head in the right place so that you don’t allow small mistakes to ruin your game or push your frustration into the red zone. Your mind will play tricks, so here are a few tricks that you can play in return.
- Be Patient – If you know that you can hit the ball 200 yards right down the middle of the fairway, that may be the better option than trying to belt it 300 yards every time. The long ball is going to end up in the woods much more often, and is likely to cost you strokes in the end.
- Play Here, Now – It’s easy to dwell on the bad shot you made on the last hole, or to think about the dreaded par 5 ahead. You’re much better off focusing on the present and concentrating on the fundamentals of this drive, right now.
- Control Your Emotions – Rather than dwelling on a bad drive and carrying that frustration to the fairway (or into the woods), try to let go of that frustration. A simple distraction is often effective — try talking with one of your playing partners about a non-golf topic, for example.
The Physical Game
As important as the mental aspect of the game is (some say golf is 90% mental), the physical aspect is critical, as well. Of course, you’ll want to try to stay as fit as possible. Also, you’ll need to teach your body what your brain may already know — how to play golf.
- Stretch – As with any sport, stretching is important to prepare your muscles for the workout ahead. Stretching before each drive, or at least before your first drive, will limber up your muscles and add flexibility. It will also help you relax, which is key to a good drive.
- Practice, Practice, Practice – The more time you spend teaching your muscles what they’re supposed to be doing on the golf course, the better you’ll be. Get one of those putting greens for your office. Head to the driving range as much as possible. If the weather keeps you from the links, find a golf simulator nearby where you can practice your swing and even tap into the software’s analytics.
- Focus on the fundamentals of your swing – You’ve heard this a thousand times, and it was sound advice every time you heard it. As you step up to the tee, take a deep breath and slow down. Forget about the last hole. Forget about the dreaded par 5. Now go over the fundamentals as you set up your drive. Alignment. Grip. Posture. Stance. Ball Position. Take your time. Take your swing. THWACK!
Matt is an avid golf enthusiast and part of the TruGolf.com team. When he’s not working on his fairway shot, you will find Matt writing about his passion for the process of the game.