Golf Tip : Driver Setup

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Golf Life heads to the Kingdom at TaylorMade’s headquarters in Carlsbad, California, for a golf lesson with teaching pro Devan Bonebrake.

The driver, one of the most important clubs in the bag — in fact, Ben Hogan himself said if you can’t drive the golf ball, you can’t play good golf. Great driving puts you into an offensive position out on the golf course where you’re poised in the middle of the fairway, calm, ready to hit the green in regulation.

Now, one of the major issues I see when my amateur students come in to take a lesson with their drivers is that they tend to have a poor setup. From that position, they’re already off to a bad start in a state of recovery the rest of the swing. So let’s talk about the setup and how it can really make a big difference with your driver, optimize distance as well as direction. When I go ahead and set up to the driver, it’s important to play the ball forward in the stance.

This is going to help with a slightly ascending blow — high launch, low spin. Now, at the same time, I see a lot of players when they set up with their driver, get the ball forward in the stance and then get to the ball via their shoulders. What this does is it puts their head too far in front of the ball. Also changes the direction that they’re aimed and usually causes kind of a steep slice with very little distance. So an old drill that you can do is you can set up with your left hand on the club, your right hand behind your back, and go ahead and place the driver down.

Make sure your shoulders are square. Now, keeping your right shoulder back, slide your right arm in underneath, ensuring that your shoulders are square and that your upper center, or your shirt buttons, are behind your belt buckle. The number-one fundamental with the driver is that we start behind it and stay behind it in the golf swing. In fact, if you look at most PGA Tour players, as they come down, their head, if anything, goes backwards as they’re hitting the driver to optimize those launching distance — high launch, low spin, maximum carry. So, let me demonstrate. Take a look. Right hand behind the back, left hand on the club. Hips forward, head back. Slide the right hand in. A little wag, a look at the target. And go ahead and swing.

So, to recap, proper setup with the driver — upper center behind the lower. Shoulders square. And in the golf swing, head stays behind the ball. It’s going to give you high launch, low spin, and maximum distance. I want to say thank you to TaylorMade, letting us have the beautiful Kingdom location in Carlsbad, California. Go see your local professional. Get fit. They’re going to fit you for the best driver you’ve ever hit in your golf life. Thanks for tuning in.

If you liked this Golf Tip from Devan Bonebrake, please check out his tip How to Make Solid Contact!