My Golf Instructor

Positioning For Driving Success
Tee It High and Let It Fly - The Set Up

Develop a good posture and set up to maximize your driversDevelop a Good Posture and Set Up

Should you set up differently when you are hitting a driver than when you are swinging an iron? You'd better believe it! The driver is a whole different animal. It is the longest and lightest club in the bag making it more difficult to feel and control the club head. It also has the least amount of loft making errors magnified and demanding square contact to achieve success. I believe if you interviewed all the games greats, they would tell you that they swing very hard with their driver. This makes good positioning to maintain optimum balance a must. As important as square contact is, getting a good launch angle is equally as important to achieve optimum distance and spin (enough spin to launch it high, but not too much that it will affect distance).

As with any swing in golf, if you are not positioned correctly to start, you will not be able to make the desired motion. The set up with the driver is far too often overlooked by most amateurs. Tour pros are notoriously knit picky about their set ups and positioning. Ironically, though, most amateurs are far more concerned with their swings, even though they don't put themselves in position to make a good one.

Being a longer, flatter club by design, you will naturally stand further from the ball (this doesn't mean you reach your arms away from your body, only that the ball is farther away), and your swing plane will automatically flatten. These things happen without you having to make changes. Let's now take a look at some of the things we do need to adjust.

The Situation:

You are trying to position yourself with the driver to hit the ball long and straight.

The Solution:

With modern day 460cc driver heads you need to tee the ball with at least half of the ball above the top edge of the face. It is best if you have a proper swing to tee it even higher. Place the ball at your front armpit or further forward. There is no definitive answer here because your swing plane and angle of attack will determine what is best for you. In most cases opposite your front armpit or the instep of your front foot is ideal. Set your stance square to your target line and the width should be slightly outside your shoulders. I'm not sure if research has been done to prove this is best, but for most who are swinging hard, a slightly wider stance than usual provides a more solid base for balance. Tilt your shoulders a little more to your rear side than you would with an iron and allow 60-70% of your weight to rest on your back foot. Let your hands simply hang down and fall where they may. This will often be behind the ball which will make for a wider arc in the backswing generating more power. Do not force them forward over the ball as it will change your weight and your alignment.

Maria Palozola

Maria Palozola is a member of the LPGA and has participated in multiple LPGA Tour events. She has provided instruction to thousands of students in the past 20+ years and has won multiple teaching awards from the LPGA, Golf Digest, and Golf Magazine including being ranked as one of the top 50 female instructors in the world.

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