Full Swing 109. Setup: How to Set Up for the Driver in the Golf Swing
A vast amount of golf instruction has been written about how to use the driver. Every week there are new tips, as well as recycled advice from years ago, claiming to help you hit the golf ball straighter and longer off the tee. And yet the average amateur, despite all the advances in equipment, isn’t getting much better, while leading professionals are hitting the ball further every year.
It shouldn’t really be a surprise, therefore, to hear that much of the advice touted in books, magazines, on TV, on websites and by many teachers, is just plain wrong. This poor advice is well intentioned, but it hasn’t worked for most golfers. What’s worse, it leaves golfers with a complete misunderstanding of how an efficient and effective golf swing works. Telling students a misleading half-truth might yield short-term benefit, but, until they learn how the golf swing really works, it will prevent them from becoming a really good golfer.The aim of this article is to describe how to set up correctly in order to use the driver most effectively. It’s impossible, however, to understand what setup changes you should make with the driver without discussing why they work, and what we are trying to achieve.
The dynamics of the golf swing are complex, and impact dynamics with the driver are particularly sophisticated. We’ll go into a lot more detail about the mechanics of this in later articles, but we’ll touch on it here, just enough to give you a basic understanding of how it works.
The setup position we describe is based on the Golf Loopy Perfect Swing. Unless you were part of our early trial programs, your swing probably won’t yet make maximum effective use of the setup described here, but it soon will as you work through the program. Importantly, by setting up correctly, without allowance for the compensations and manipulations present in a less-than-perfect golf swing, you will more quickly learn how to swing the golf club more effectively.
Once again, apologies to the lefties out there, but for simplicity these instructions are given for a right-handed golfer.
What Are We Trying to Achieve?
You could setup to the golf ball with your driver in much the same way as with any other club, and play great golf. The standard setup that we describe in Drill 108 – Addressing the Golf Ball is perfect for a powerful, accurate, consistent and safe golf swing.
Indeed, for maximum accuracy with the driver, we recommend that the only changes you make are to move the ball slightly further forward in your stance, off your left heel, and to stand slightly taller and lift your hands a little as described below. With the Golf Loopy Perfect Swing, that’s enough to drive the ball beautifully, splitting the fairway a long way out.
However, we realise that almost everyone would like to hit the ball further off the tee. Scoring is certainly easier when you have a short iron in your hand for your second shot on a long par 4, and putting for eagle on par 5s is always fun! Plus, for many of us, giving your opponent’s ball a little wave, as you stroll 50 yards past it down the fairway to reach your own ball, is great for our ego, and that’s all part of the joy of this great game.
In trying to maximise distance with the driver, it is important to note that there is some compromise involved with regard to accuracy and consistency. If you really need to thread the ball down a narrow fairway, then stick to the setup we just described. If you have room to manoeuvre, and an extra 20 yards is worth the compromise, then some small changes to your setup will help you to achieve that.
So what setup changes do you make in order to really max out distance with the driver? Let’s start by detailing the standard driver setup for power and accuracy, and then we’ll discuss the changes you should make to really send one out there, and how those changes work.