Probably the most common request on my lesson tee is
I just want to hit my driver with more consistency
Don’t we all buddy. But while most golfers don’t realize that even pros miss 40% of fairways (yes, that’s right, they are failing almost half of the time), there is something amateurs can really do to improve their driving distance and consistency.
Driving is my strength
You’ve heard the phrase “Lead by example”, so here is a sample of some drives I hit this evening.
The red circle shows my swing speed, Green shows the carry distance and purple shows the total distance
I’m small of stature and have never really been a powerful athlete. I barely create 100mph of swing speed – that would put me dead last on tour. But what I lack in stature I make up for in efficiency. I get every last ounce out of my pathetic swing speed.
I also like to practice what I preach, so on this bunch of balls (for the last 12 shots), I used a purple dry erase marker pen to check where my strike was with the face. These were the results
Yes, that’s right, that is 12 shots worth of marker pen. The darker colour is where I hit about 9 of them. And while the average amateur is looking at this thinking “wow, that’s really consistent”, I can honestly say that a few of the shots felt horrible to me.
What you do
I teach all day (pretty much) every day, and this is what I see on my lesson tee with amateurs complaining of inconsistency.
In fact, normally I see worse patterns than this because they are more toe or heel biased, as well as being wider spread. Is there any wonder you suffer with consistent results if you can’t find the centre of the face consistently?
While the average amateur can almost miss the club face and not be able to identify where the ball struck on the face, this shot pictured/highlighted below was very noticeably a heel shot for me. I felt the club twist closed, and the ball flew more to the right and looked ‘spinny’. My hand even came off the club in my followthrough – it felt that bad!
Also, the below image shows what I consider a toe shot. The ball flight was noticeably different, with much more of a hook spin and a very ‘dippy’ ball flight, almost falling out of the air. My hand didn’t come off this one, but I certainly felt the club twisting through impact (that’s what it does on a mis-struck shot).
So, if you can imagine that these fractional off-centre shots creating issues with my shot pattern – I can imagine the issues you amateurs are facing when you are barely hitting the face at all.
Why so high?
Lots of amateurs right now might be asking why I hit so high on the club face? Well, I also hit 7-9 degrees up on the ball, so my sweetspot is a little higher on the face (a concept I might explain in a later article). But hitting higher on the face also helps to launch the ball higher with lower spin. Check out my spin rate and launch angle in the below image.
Hitting high on the face helps me launch the ball at 18 degrees (red) as opposed to most amateurs who can launch the ball half of that (p.s. I use an 8.5 degree driver). Also, my spin rate is very low – below 2000rpm. While most amateurs can benefit from a little more spin than that, I see plenty of high handicappers with 4000 or more rpm of spin from hitting too low on the face and too much from the heel.
Also, if you are wondering why the marks are not in the centre of the face that the manufacturers have marked out, that’s because it’s not where the sweetspot is.
How do I know? I can feel it.
Strike is a skill
The ability to direct the centre of mass of the clubhead to the ball effectively is a Skill not a technique. As such, it should be trained like a skill.
I have honed my own ability to strike the ball consistently through a pure focus on skill development through
- awareness via effective feedback
- differential practice drills
- variability practice drills
If you want to learn more about improving your strike consistency, check out The Strike Plan by clicking below. You will pick up distance, accuracy AND become more consistent with your results.
If you are searching for more consistency with your driver and you are hitting the ball all over the club face, start working on your strike. Rather than searching for the next big swing secret, you should be consistently working on the fundamentals, just like I do every day.
Improve your ability to control, adapt, feel and create the strike you want by using skill drills and feedback exercises.