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Driver and setup
The driver, as we have talked other times, is the club you are going to hit your ball longest. A poor setup can affect distance and accuracy. We see more often than what you think people swinging great from the tee but missing the fairway due to a bad set up position. The setup is really important for every shot, but especially when we hit the driver.
On the next lines, I will talk about a setup routine to make sure we have a great setup position. To be 100% effective you must follow this routine for every shot while practicing and playing.
1st step: grip and club down.
This is the first thing we must do before every single shot, not only with the driver. As I talked on basics to alignment, we must aim the club at our target first. While doing this, keep your feet together, will be easier to focus on aiming the target.
2nd step: move your left foot.
Move your left foot a few inches to the left. The ball should be on line with your left hill. The longer the club is, the wider our stand will be. As you know, the driver is the longest club of your bag, which therefore will create the longest swing. You will need a wider stance to have more balance so you can create more power.
3rd step: move your right foot.
Now it's time to move the right foot. How wide? As we said we will need a bit wider stance than normal, so we will move the right foot so the instep is lined with the outside edge of your right shoulder.
4th step: weight distribution.
It favors the back leg, approximately 60%) and the spine is tilted so that the right shoulder sits lower than the left, about the same distance as the right hand rest below the left on the grip. Small trick for doing this naturally is look at the ball from the right side of it; you can place the logo of the ball to that side so you focus on looking that logo.
All of these setup elements promote the desired sweeping motion (unlike your irons, which demand more of a downward strike on the golf ball). Remember, the ball is teed, so the angle of approach should be shallow or ascending in order to direct an appropriate strike and launch the ball high. You'll notice that relatively few pros ground the driver at address; most hover the clubhead above the ground to relieve tension and promote a wide takeaway, both of which facilitate a sweeping or ascending path through impact.
More than once, I have seen people doing exactly the opposite when addressing a golf ball with the driver.
- Head in front of the ball.
- Most of the weight over the front leg.
- Hand forward-pressed.
- Shoulders are level.
These mistakes will make really difficult to impact the ball on an upward arc, and you will have a lot of chances to sky your beautiful new driving machine. Having the weight forward will open your shoulders (aiming left) getting yourself ready to hit an outside-in swing path and probably a slice.
The main reasons for these mistakes might be a poor alignment. A lot of people tend to aim their bodies directly at the target instead of the correct way, which is parallel to, but left of, the target line. In essence, when you align your body to the target, you're aiming too far to the right, which you'll eventually sense as you settle into address, and correct by twisting your shoulders back to the left, or open. Open shoulders dictate a slice. A by-product of this compensation is a leveling of the shoulders and a shifting of weight to the forward leg. This places you on top of the ball instead of behind the ball.
So, to avoid slicing a ball again, let's remember:
- Ball positioned opposite the left heel.
- A wide stance.
- The head is behind the ball (focus on the logo)
- The left shoulder is higher than your right.
- Sixty percent of your weight over your back leg.
Remember this points, keep your tempo, and you will improve your fairways in regulation statistics.
I will come back with some driving long and straight drills, until then, start practicing these important points.