Keys to Better Driving: Find more fairways with this tip for straighter drives
GolfTEC has recently detailed some great tips and drills designed to help you generate more power from the tee. But what good is distance if you can’t split the fairway?
It’s time we coupled that newfound power with some killer accuracy, and a great place to start is diagnosing the pattern of your misses.
Diagnose your miss pattern for straighter drives
Virtually all golfers form a ball flight pattern. And regardless if you struggle with missing left or right, the golf ball flight laws always provide a fact-based explanation to diagnose the cause of your shot.
So, the first step to striping it straight is understanding the data. There are a few ways to do this.
At GolfTEC, we use Foresight launch monitors to determine the shot characteristics of the ball, which provide a bulletproof analysis of the shot you felt you hit vs. the one you actually did. But, since chances are you don’t carry around a launch monitor on the course with you, I’d suggest marking your scorecard with both the starting point (in relation to the target) and curvature of your tee shots.
Diagnosis: Path too far left of target
Otherwise known as the “over-the-top” move — a premature straightening of the trail arm in the downswing that causes those ugly, out-of-control banana balls — this is one of the biggest epidemics in the amateur game we see.
Combined with a path swinging too far left of the target, this move often also leads the golfer to strike the ball with the clubface closed to the target and open to the path. This is a complementary ingredient leading to that big slice and a loss of power and accuracy.
The over-the-top move often occurs from a few misconceptions golfers carry about what they should be doing to hit good shots in the first place. A common misplaced idea is when they attempt to “clear” their hips for more distance.
Clearing the hips, or trying to drive them open through impact, often creates more of an outward path and loss of distance instead of the other way around. So I commonly prescribe this type of golfer to feel less turn or “clear” of the hips in the downswing, and instead more lateral movement of the hips toward the target.
A great swing thought to aid this is to feel as if you’re shifting weight toward your front foot in the downswing. I usually recommend the Noodle Drill to help further.
Diagnosis: Path too far right of target
Struggling with too much draw or giant pushes to the right? Less common in our GolfTEC bays is the golfer who draws the ball too much, but this shot pattern can be an equally frustrating cause of frequent provisionals and re-tees.
Opposite to the puller and slicer that swings too much to the left, the over-drawing golfer swings too far to the right. Depending on the clubface’s relationship to this far too in-to-out path, the result is often inconsistent big benders to the left or wild blocks to the right.
If this is your pattern, I usually recommend the 90-90 drill. The goal of this drill is to turn your hips and shoulders to 90 degrees (or fully facing the target) by the time the arms are parallel to the ground in the follow-through.
The image below-left shows a typical follow-through path of the over-drawer, while the image below-right shows the shaft swinging lower and more left on my torso when doing the drill. This is an indication I’m creating a path less to the right, which will alleviate my over draw and push.