The Teacher Says:
You are reluctant to switch to a high-lofted driver because you equate less loft with greater distance. What you haven’t factored in is carry distance, or how much time the ball spends in the air, which is extremely important in driving.
If you possess average clubhead speed, a 15.5-degree driver will allow you to carry the ball higher and farther than a 9.5-degree driver. It will generate more backspin and less sidespin, meaning you’ll not only hit the ball farther, but also straighter.
To elevate your tee shots, you setup is key. Tee the ball high so that at least half of the ball sits above the top line of the clubhead. This will encourage you to swing the club from the inside on a shallow arc, which launches the ball higher. As you place your right hand on the club, make sure you’re doing so from underneath the grip (right photo). This keeps your right shoulder low, which helps you set up behind the ball and squares your shoulders. You want to feel like your shoulders are a bit shut at address, which will improve your swing path.
Drill – Drive at the target
To maximize the club’s loft and your carry distance, imagine the ball is a box that you want to push straight toward the target (or to the left — just never right). You need to drive the clubhead squarely into the box on a slightly inside path. Your impulse is to swing through, not to, the box, accelerating the clubhead well into the follow-through.
|Michael Breed is director of instruction at Sunningdale Country Club in Scarsdale, N.Y.|