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Four Tips to Help Control Your Drives and Improve Your Golf Score
Since nearly every first shot at the green on a golf course involves some type of drive, it’s critical to have control over these vital shots. Errant drives put you in hazards, or immediately add a stroke to your scorecard when they fly harmlessly out-of-bounds.
When you don’t have control of your drives, you also reduce the chances of putting yourself in a good position for your second shot. Drives that fly out of control will quickly add strokes to your scorecard. Here are four tips to help you control your drive and improve your golf scores.
If you’ve ever watched the best golfers in the world perform, they approach their ball on the tee with an air of confidence. They know they’ve hit literally thousands of practice drives, so they are confident they are prepared. You should take that same mental outlook every time you prepare to drive the ball off the tee.
Mental confidence is built on the practice tee. However, even if you’ve been having trouble with some aspect of your tee shots, you will still benefit from wiping the slate clean in your mind. Every drive is a new opportunity to implement hours of practice.
When you approach your ball with any sense of doubt, you’re already at a disadvantage. Mental confidence doesn’t always mean mental toughness, but it does help you relax. An apprehensive mindset as you prepare to drive a golf ball will cause your muscles to be more tense than normal.
Your grip may be tighter than normal, or your body movements stiffer than if you were relaxed. That level of calm exuded from mental confidence may not add yards to your driving distance, but it can dramatically help you better control your drives off the tee.
Establish a Target
When you’re out on the fairway or approaching the green, you’ll invariably use the flagstick as a target. Too often, novice golfers do not establish a target when hitting the ball off the tee. This can create a fundamental flaw in your drive, one that invariably reduces the control you have.
Know in advance, where you would hope to have a perfect drive land. Most of the time, you will want to maximize the distance off the tee, but that’s not always the case. This is one aspect of controlling your drive that involves proper club selection, but you still should establish a target.
However, other than par 3 holes where you can see the flagstick, you should find a remote target in the fairway. If you’re playing a course for the first time, this may be a little challenging, but it can still be done.
Use the scorecard and any course measurements that are included. For courses that you play more frequently, you’ll be able to find fixed items such as bunkers or trees to gauge distance. Find a target before you even approach your ball, and work to drive the ball at that target.
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Build from the Ground Up
The perfect golf swing is developed by hours of practice on the driving range. There are a number of tips and mechanical strategies to swing the club properly to make accurate contact with the ball. However, many golfers fail to address the foundation of every swing; your base.
A fundamental tip to establishing a good base begins with balance. You build the best swing starting with the positioning of your feet, and building your swing from the ground up. The best instructors should have you working through leg and core movements without even holding a club.
Foot placement is where you begin, but that is something that takes only minimal practice to figure out. The next key to improving drive control is to develop a strong, but flexible lower body. You don’t need massive muscles in your legs, but working some moderate strength exercises into your fitness program will help boost your driving distance.
Once you have a good stance underneath you, plus a little boost from your legs, you’ll address your core. The center of your body is almost as important as club control in your hands. When you open your hips too soon, for instance, you’ll tend to pull off the ball and slice.
If you force your hips to remain too rigid, it can cause you to pull the club through too quickly. This problem can cause you to hook, or make it very difficult to get any trajectory out of your drive. When you use proper foot positioning and have established a solid foundation, you’ll be able to add distance to your drive without sacrificing control.
Frequently, errant drives are caused by an attempt to over-control your swing. The slightest degree of change in the speed prior to and immediately following impact will alter the tilt and angle of your driver.
Even if this shift is minimal, one-degree of shift can push drive yards off your intended path. Maintain arm speed throughout your entire drive. When you attempt to alter your arm speed during contact or follow through, you will not improve control, but lose.
Changing arm speed in an attempt to improve control will have the opposite effect. Focusing on a consistent swing speed throughout your drive and following through, will help you better control your drives off the tee.
These are four tips to help you better control your tee shots. Getting the ball to the best spot for your second shot is always the objective. When your drives are inconsistent and lack control, you won’t be able to ensure that you’ve put yourself in a good position for that next stroke.
Apply these four tips to help you gain a better sense of control over your drives. Using these tips will not only begin to add distance to your tee shots, but you’ll also begin to eliminate wasted strokes. Grab your driver with confidence, focus on a target, establish a firm base and follow through. Use these tips for hitting your drives, and watch your scores improve.
About the Author
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.