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    Golf Driving, Realistic Expectations

    Hitting your driver is fun, and it can be a powerful club for setting up birdie opportunities when used correctly. However, driver is not the right club to use off every tee. One of the most important driver swing tips you can receive isn’t a swing tip at all – rather, it is a course management point about picking the right club for the right hole. Trying to use your driver off the tee of every par four and par five all round long is a strategy that will almost always lead to frustration. The driver is intended to be a power club, and not every hole requires power to navigate successfully.

    As you walk up onto the tee of a par four or par five, take a quick look at the scorecard and a look down the fairway, as well. Do you need to hit your driver to set up a comfortable approach shot? Your concern shouldn’t be seeing how far you can hit the ball – it should be to figure out where you can position the ball for the best chance at a good approach shot. Sometimes that will mean hitting your driver, but other times it will mean reaching for a fairway metal or hybrid club to improve your odds of hitting the fairway. By picking the right club on each hole to hit your ball off the tee, you will quickly give yourself a much better chance of staying out of trouble and achieving a lower score at the end of the round.

    If you think about it for a moment, it makes sense that you will never be as accurate with your driver as you can be with other clubs in your bag. Since you are going to generate more speed and power with your driver than the other clubs, any mistake that you make will be amplified. For example, imagine that you make a swing which results in the ball flying 2* off line to the right. If you hit that shot with a 5 iron, you ball might only be a few yards off line when it lands. However, if you hit that kind of shot with a driver, it may be 15 yards or more off line by the time it comes down. That can be the difference between a shot that lands in the light rough, and one that lands in a water hazard or out of bounds. Even players who are great with the driver will always be safer hitting shorter clubs when they have the chance. It is a matter of thinking through the risk vs. reward equation and deciding which club will maximize your chances at success.

    With all of that said, you shouldn’t be afraid of using your driver when the situation calls for it. After all, the point of working on your driver swing is so you can use it to hit long and straight drives which set up birdie opportunities. Ideally, you will feel confident with your driver while still understanding that there is a time and place to hit it. All golf courses are different, but you will usually be able to find between 8-10 opportunities to use your driver per round – maybe more, if you play on a golf course that has wide fairways. As long as you are thinking about your game as a whole, and not just trying to impress people with long drives, you should be able to pick and choose your spots properly.