Players who can consistently drive their shot in the fairway have a large advantage over golfers who don’t. The thrill of smashing a perfect drive down the fairway is one of the most satisfying experiences in golf. It’s that elusive moment when everything aligns – your swing, your technique, and your mindset.
I’ll explore the key elements and techniques that can help you consistently keep your drive in the fairway. From patience at takeaway to letting the clubhead catch up to your hands, we’ll break down the process step by step.
1. Be Patient at Takeaway
The journey to a successful drive starts with the takeaway – that crucial first movement that sets the tone for your entire swing. Patience at this stage is vital. Rushing the takeaway in your swing can lead to poor alignment and swing flaws.
- Square the Clubface: Ensure that your clubface remains square to your target line during the takeaway. You will feel your upper body take over that takeaway. Square shoulders and a square clubface sets the stage for a straighter drive.
- Delay Wrist Hinge: Instead of purposely hinging your wrist after a sound takeaway, keep your grip loose to release the club more around than picking up the club. This will help more of a shallow plane than a steep plane for the rest of your swing.
2. Feel Weight on Trail Leg
Balancing your weight correctly throughout your swing is essential for consistency and accuracy. During your backswing, you should feel a significant portion of your weight on your trail leg (right leg for right-handed golfers, left for left-handed).
- Feel the Clubhead create speed: Loosen your grip pressure so you can feel the weight of the clubhead lead your backswing.
- Let your body Follow: The momentum of the clubhead will allow your body to react to load on your trail side. This should also create rhythm and allow you to transition into the downswing easier.
3. Let the Body Start Downswing
As your takeaway progresses, focus on control with your lower body. Just like when you load up to throw a ball, the weight in your lower body wants to move first. If you start it correctly on the way down, you will create a shallower angle between the club and the ground. Shallowing the shaft promotes a more desirable swing path and better contact with the ball.
- Lead with the Hips: Initiate the shallowing of the shaft by rotating your hips by feeling you are pushing off the ground. It will feel you are initially going up but your lower body will turn and end up on your forward heel.
- Maintain Wrist Angle: To do this is not to purposely try and maintain the angle but just keep your grip loose. This maintains the lag in your swing, which can lead to more power and control.
4. Let Clubhead Catch Up to Your Hands
One of the most common errors in golf is releasing the clubhead too early in the downswing, resulting in slices and erratic drives. This usually means that you are pulling the club down to hit the ball which is close to the ground. To promote a straighter drive, focus on letting the clubhead catch up to your hands before impact.
- Be Patient: If you focus on the clubhead catching up to your hands, you have to slow down your transition down which will create a more speed at impact.
- Feel the Lag: Feeling your downswing slower will create “lag” which doesn’t seem powerful on the way down but you will create the most clubhead speed when it matters the most, at impact!
5. Load Into Your Front Leg Before Impact
As your swing transitions into the downswing, it’s crucial to transfer your weight smoothly from your trail leg to your front leg. This weight shift helps ensure that you make solid contact with the ball and deliver maximum power and control.
- Hear your Swing after Impact: A way to make it seem smoother but powerful, you should hear the sound of your club “whoosh” at and after impact of where you would make impact. Unfortunately, many hear this sound before impact.
- Feel your hips Snap Through: Besides hearing the “whoosh” more after impact, you will feel your hips lead and snap around right before impact. If you do this correctly, you should finish your swing completely balanced with a beautiful follow-through.