How to Hit a Golf Ball Higher With the Driver
Aside from hitting it longer, many golfers struggle with getting the ball airborne, especially with the driver. No matter what your swing speed is, if you don’t have an optimal ball flight, it will be difficult for you to maximize your distance. If you struggle with a low stinger off the tee, and want to increase the height of your drives, there are several factors to address before we get to any technique. So, if you want to learn how to hit a golf ball higher with the driver, then keep on reading!
Invest in the Right Equipment
Having the right equipment is imperative to launching the ball with the driver correctly. Everything from the loft of the clubhead, to the center of gravity, the kick-point and the stiffness of the shaft can have a direct influence on how your ball flies after impact.
Note: To learn more about Center of Gravity, and how it correlates to MOI and ball flight, click here.
Lofts and Shafts
For starters, you want to make sure your driver has sufficient loft on the face based on your swing speed. With modern drivers now being adjustable, it’s easier to try various lofts and face settings without needing to hit several different clubs.
Take your driver down to your nearest golf retail store and test the various lofts on the launch monitor. If you have the correct amount of loft for your swing speed, but still have difficulty getting the golf ball airborne, you may need to change the shaft in your driver.
For those of you who with a low swing speed, a softer shaft with a lower kick-point will encourage a higher ball flight. When you get to the retail store, talk to a certified fitter and try several different shafts that, when combined with your current driver loft, will produce a consistently higher shot with your driver.
Be Aware of Your Setup
Aside from your equipment, you can do a few things to help get the golf ball flying higher. Here are a couple of things to look for in your setup that may be a cause to hitting the driver low.
1. The Ball is Teed Up Too Low
Unless you have a driver that was made 10 years ago or longer, chances are the driver head is the full 460cc size, or at least close to that size. You want to make sure that you have plenty of room underneath the ball to give you the best chance of catching the ball in the upper-center of the clubface. The ball should be at least an inch off the ground, with an optimal height of 1 ½ inches. If you feel like you’ll go under it, that usually means you’ll need an adjustment in your ball position.
2. The Ball isn’t Far Enough Forward in Your Stance
If the ball is too far back, the tendency is for the club to come into the ball shut and steep on the downswing. You’ll want to place the ball toward the big toe of your lead foot, but no more than inside your lead instep. Having the ball forward will promote a shallower swing and give the driver a chance to hit the ball on the upswing, which is the key to a higher launch angle.
Once your ball is teed higher and moved forward in your stance, a normal, full swing should immediately send your ball on a higher trajectory. If you still have difficulty trusting these adjustments, some simple tips and visual tricks can help you further:
1. The Spot in the Sky
Pick a spot in the sky and make a swing that will send a ball “through” the spot. Often times golfers are concerned with intermediate targets and landing areas, but if you’re struggling with getting the golf ball to fly a certain height, it will help to see a spot in the air, and feel like the club is swinging to that airborne target.
It’s important to remember that the driver is the only club you would try this with; since the ball is teed up higher, it’s okay to feel like the club is swinging up to the ball, as long as you don’t get too carried away with it.
Stand behind your shot, and pick something above ground level (a tree, a cloud, or a house in the distance, for example) and make your practice swings as if you were trying to hit the ball right into that spot. Moving the target above the ground surface will help integrate the feeling of getting the ball to fly higher easier and more effective.
2. Keep Everything Fluid
As easy as swinging the driver can be in practice, the golf course can induce unwanted tension, which can throw off the feeling of letting the club swing. If the club gets tight in the hands, it’s difficult to get the shaft to load and unload properly. Make sure to stay relaxed as you make every swing.
Allow everything to rotate uninhibited, your wrist to hinge as they do naturally, and swing through to your finish. It’s important with all swings, but twice as important with the driver, where every yard extra can make the rest of the hole easier.
The Bottom Line
Don’t forget to practice this on the driving range. Practice makes perfect, right? With the right equipment, and a few basic fundamentals and keys, you can launch your driver higher the next time you play!