Causes and Cures - Drives are too Low - Golf (Video)
Causes and Cures - Drives are too Low - Golf (Video)

I think for a lot of people, they find the driver the hardest club in the back of the hit. I think one of the concerns is that it just doesn't go high enough. I see a lot of guys out in the driving range, hitting ball after ball after ball and when they're actually looking at it, the ball is not flying any further than it would be with a seven iron. It flies a bit quicker but it just comes down too early.

And I think the thing you've got to understand here is that you need the right driver to produce the right height of shot and we need to talk about optimum trajectory. The optimum trajectory can change depending on the power that you're using and if you could imagine that you get like a fireman's hose and the water is spreading out to the hose, if you spray that water straight up in the air, it comes up and down and doesn't travel very far and that's like hitting a lob wedge. All of the energy goes upwards and downwards, it doesn't go very far.

If you were to take that fireman's hose and tilt it down a little bit, the water would start traveling a little bit further to a point because if you then got the hose too low, ultimately it would start landing nearer to you again and it eventually finish up spraying down by your feet, so somewhere in there, there's an optimum trajectory. We need to try and hit out ball on the optimum trajectory for your club head speed and it's different for different golfers, so my drive is only an 8-1/2 degree driver.

I would consider that to have quite a fast club head speed, so I can launch the ball quite low and it travels a long way, but if I hit my driver very slowly, very gently and take the club head speed down, this thing is going to straight into the floor. It's not hit high enough, it's not generating enough back speed, it's not climbing up into the air, so if I was to slow my swing down there, I might need maybe an 11, 12, 13, sometimes even a 14 degree driver because all the people actually hit their three wood further than their drivers, they're just really looking into hitting their three wedge because it's not macho like hitting the driveways. But actually the 15 degrees of loft or thereabout on a three wood can fly further than your driver, so let's lose the macho approach and let's choose the right club for the right shot.

So if you need a bit more, loft on your driver and the optimum trajectory isn't being reached, change that down to a more lofted club. The easiest way to check that is go to your local place and try a few different clubs out, go to a teaching professional available and they'll tell you straight away whether it's the optimum trajectory or actually try to have a low inch monitor and that will give you the data and the scientific figures to work out exactly the height of the shot. But that's one of the causes why the ball won't quite be flying high enough because it's not going to go high enough up into the air.

The next thing is you want to make sure the ball is teed up nice and high. You play the ball nicely up towards your front of your left heel, keep your right shoulder down a little bit and just try and sweep the ball up into the air, so the bigger back swing, the bigger shoulder turn and sweeping the ball up into the air. That's going to get the ball, nice and high as well.

Now if your golf swing gets too flat, you get too far away from the golf ball, you swing it very flat around you as you come back down into the impact area, there might not be enough loft on the club, you might be a little bit too far on the inside approach into the ball, that could take all the loft out of it as well. And if that's the case, just getting a bit nearer to the ball might help you steep in your swing up a little bit.

Good check point now would be that you just make sure that the club rests just above your kneecap, that tells you how far back from the ball you should be, therefore the club would come up a little bit steeper and one other area that might be de-lofting the golf club is having the club phase very closed as you hit the ball. So if the club phase is aiming too far left as you hit it and the phase is closed that could be a problem as well.

Now checking the club phase, it might actually be closed at the top of the swing as well if the phase here points straight up to the sky rather than 45 degrees or more down to the ground. If it points further up into the sky that way, it would class as a closed club phase, chances are that's going to be a grip issue, probably gripping the golf club too strongly, you go left or both hands, so three or four knuckles in the left hand, right hand sitting underneath, shutting the club phase down too much, closed club phase at impact, takes all the loft out of it and nails it into the floor, but you've probably also seen the ball going left if that was the case.

So let's make sure we've got good fundamentals, good grip, good distance away, using a golf club that has plenty of loft on it, having a nice high tee pegged up near the front foot and let's get our board flying higher, more up towards optimum trajectory for longer tee shots.

2013-01-18

If you have ever had the opportunity to attend a professional golf tournament in person, you were almost certainly impressed by the skill of the players.

Causes and Cures Drives Are Too Low

Watching on TV is one thing – but watching in person gives you a whole new level of respect for the way the top players are able to move around the course. They make challenging shots look easy on a regular basis, and their ability to perform under pressure is amazing.

One of the specific things that many golf fans take away from attending a tournament is just how high the top players are able to hit their drives. This is particularly true of the longest hitters, who hit drives which seem to hang up in the air forever before falling down in the middle of the fairway. If you are used to hitting low drives which only carry a short distance down the fairway, these high tee shots might seem impossible to achieve. Fortunately, that is not the case. You may never reach the level of performance that is exhibited by the world’s best, but you can still strive to hit higher drives and add yards to your average tee shot.

In this article, we are going to highlight some causes for low tee shots. There are quite a few potential causes, so it may take you some time to sort through all the possibilities before getting down to the heart of the issue in your game. Once you figure out what it is that is causing your low tee shots, you can determine what kinds of adjustments will be needed to raise your ball flight. You’ll need to work toward finding a cure to this issue out on the range during practice, although we have some tips to help with that, as well. This might not be a short process, and it might be a little frustrating along the way, but you’ll be glad you stuck with it when you see your first high tee shot soar down the fairway.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

Causes of Low Drives

Causes of Low Drives

One of the reasons that so many golfers struggle to solve their low drive problems is the fact that there are many potential causes to consider. It can be hard to get to the bottom of the problem, so many golfers never manage to raise their drives to a healthy height.

In an effort to help you figure out what your drives are so low, we have listed several potential issues below. Of course, it is not necessarily the case that just one of these causes is to blame in your case. It’s very possible that two or even three of the issues are coming together to lead to a low ball flight. As you read through this list, think about how your swing works and do your best to figure out which points may apply to you.

  • Lack of swing speed. Simply put, it’s going to be hard to get the ball high up into the air if you have a low swing speed. Obviously, this will be one of the hardest points to correct, as it isn’t easy to just pick up the pace of your swing through the hitting area. It should be noted that you don’t have to swing at the speed of a tour player to get the ball up off the ground nicely, so don’t feel like you need to hold yourself to that high standard. If you feel like it is swing speed which is holding you back, think about working on the fundamentals on your technique. Golfers often think they need to get stronger or more flexible in order to swing faster, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Sometimes, all you need to do is simply clean up your technique in order to add some miles per hour to your club head speed.
  • Poor ball position. Believe it or not, it would be great news if you discovered that a low ball flight was at the heart of your low ball flight problems. Why? Simple – this is a very easy fix. In as little as one practice session, you can correct your ball position and hopefully raise the level of your ball flight with the driver. As you might suspect, it is the mistake of playing the ball too far back in your stance which is likely to lead to a low ball flight. If you line up with the ball roughly in the middle of your stance, it is much too far back to achieve a quality ball flight with the driver. Playing the ball in the middle of your stance is great for a wedge, but it really won’t work at all with the driver. For tee shots with the driver, line the ball up roughly with the inside of your left foot when settling into your stance. This kind of positioning will let you strike the ball slightly on the upswing, which is perfect for raising the height of your drives. You can experiment a bit from this point in order to find the perfect placement in your stance, but don’t stray too far from having the ball lined up with the inside of your left foot.
  • Poor quality of contact. You need to strike the ball solidly if it is going to rise up into the air as it flies. If you are consistently making poor contact with the ball – hitting it thin, off the toe, etc. – you are going to struggle for the kind of height that you wish to achieve. Just as was the case with trying to improve your swing speed, improving the quality of your contact is going to come down to improving your fundamentals. If you can fine tune the technique you use to move the club through the swing, it’s likely that you’ll be able to find the sweet spot more often. No one is perfect from a ball striking perspective, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you miss-hit a drive from time to time. This is only a problem if you are consistently struggling to achieve solid contact.
  • Swing plane too steep. When you are playing iron shots from the fairway, you want to hit down on the ball in order to impart backspin on the shot and cause it to rise up into the sky. This is not the plan you will want to use when playing tee shots with your driver. Instead, you should be trying to pick the ball cleanly off the tee, swinging on a relatively flat plane through the hitting area. If you swing down too steeply, it’s likely the extremely flat launch angle is going to keep your ball low to the ground – even if you do manage to produce some backspin. It’s a much better plan to swing flatly through the ball, promoting a healthy launch angle.
  • Tentative through impact. This next point is more of a problem with your mindset than it is an issue with your technique. For some golfers, it’s hard to maintain confidence when swinging through the hitting area. If you struggle for confidence at the bottom of the swing, you may find that your swing fails to produce the kind of speed it could create otherwise – and your ball may fly low as a result. Once you decide to hit your driver off the tee of a given hole, you need to give that shot 100% commitment. There is no room for doubt in this game, so do your best to set your concerns to the side and simply make the best swing you can make. Will every shot work out like you had hoped? Of course not – this is golf, after all, and it’s a tough game. Rather than trying to play it safe at the bottom of the swing and guide the ball into the fairway, turn it loose and trust the technique you have built in practice. Not only is this a good tip to keep in mind with your driver, but it is helpful with the rest of your set, as well.
  • Using the wrong equipment. An extremely common cause of a low ball flight with the driver is using the wrong gear. When you have a driver which is not a good fit for your swing, it won’t matter if you execute perfectly time after time – you still won’t get the kind of ball flight you are looking for. The common issue here is using a club shaft which is too stiff for your swing speed. Many golfers buy a driver which includes a shaft that is too stiff, thinking that a stiffer shaft will help to produce longer shots. That simply isn’t the case. The club shaft that is going to help you produce the greatest distance is the one that matches up best with your swing dynamics. That might be a stiff or extra-stiff flex, or it might be a regular flex. Whatever the case, finding the right club shaft will go a long way toward helping you hit high, long drives. We will touch on the equipment issue more later in the article.

We have covered a lot of territory in this section, but we hope the points above have helped you understand what it could be that’s keeping your drives close to the ground. Whether it is just one of the points above, or a combination of two or more, making the necessary fixes should help you move your trajectory higher into the sky.

Getting to Work

Getting to Work

Obviously, we can’t say that you need to do one or two specific things to raise your ball flight, as we’ve never seen you swing the club. It will be up to you to make the right changes, based on the information we included in the previous section, and your own assessment of your current technique.

While we can’t give you precise tips for making progress toward higher drives, we can offer some basic guidance on how to improve your performance in this area. Please review the list below as you work on finding a cure for your low drives.

  • Be patient. This is always where it starts when talking about making any kind of improvement to your game. You should already know that golf is an extremely difficult game, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that you’ll need to be patient if you are going to see meaningful progress in the long run. If you expect yourself to get significantly better after very little practice, you are probably in for a disappointment. While you might see one or two of your drives on the range fly higher into the sky, become consistent with a higher flight is almost sure to take time. The only exception here would be when you only have to change your ball flight and nothing else. If you aren’t needing to change the way you swing the club, hitting higher drives by altering your ball flight might happen relatively quickly.
  • Don’t try for everything at once. Even if your ultimate goal is to hit drives which fly quite high as they fly down the fairway, you don’t need to get all the way there immediately. Instead of setting such a lofty standard, settle for making incremental progress along the way. If you can start to hit your drives even five or ten feet higher, that will be nice progress and you can build on it moving forward. Expecting too much at once may lead you to make dramatic changes that are too hard to incorporate into your game.
  • Expect the unexpected. When you first get started, you’ll likely have a very specific plan in mind for the changes you are going to make to your swing. For instance, you might decide that you are going to flatten your swing plane while also moving the ball up in your stance. That’s a great starting plan, but you should expect there to be other changes that wind up being necessary before you can reach your goals. In other words, it’s nearly impossible to chart your path from start to finish in advance. You’ll learn things as you go, and you’ll need to adapt if you are going to be happy with the final outcome.

Learning how to practice effectively is something that can benefit every golfer. While the points listed above do apply to learning how to hit higher drives, they also apply to just about every other improvement you can try to make in this game.

Finding the Right Equipment

Finding the Right Equipment

We mentioned earlier that using the wrong equipment is a big problem when it comes to trying to get your drives higher in the air. If the shaft of your driver is too stiff, you won’t be able to flex it properly during the downswing, and the dynamics of your launch will not be ideal. So, how do you pick the right club to make sure your driver is working for you, and not against you? The best option is to go through a club fitting process with a local teaching pro.

Club fittings are desirable for a number of reasons. First, you will be able to put the power of technology on your site. A local golf facility which offers club fittings will almost certainly be outfitted with a launch monitor. This is a device which will measure a number of different things about your performance with the driver (or other clubs). Based on that information, you can make an informed decision about which driver – and which shaft – will work nicely for your game.

In addition to the great value that technology brings to the table, it’s also nice to be able to work with a teaching pro when trying to pick out the right driver. This is especially true if you don’t have much experience in the game of golf. It is easy to be distracted by the marketing used by various club companies to promote their products. With the ability to ask questions directly to someone who works in the golf industry, you should be able to purchase a driver with far more confidence than you would have had otherwise.

Finally, yet another positive when it comes to club fitting is the relatively modest price of the process. Most of the time, you will pay a similar price for a club fitting as you will pay for a lesson. And, it’s possible that the facility will actually refund your fitting fee if you decide to buy a driver from their shop. Ask about this possibility before you book your fitting, as it would be a great deal to essentially get to go through the fitting process for free.

Make no mistake – you can’t simply buy a better game in golf. Purchasing some nice clubs isn’t going to guarantee that you will become a better player. The idea here is simply to make sure that your clubs aren’t getting in the way. Using a club fitting to pick out a driver will help you come away with a club that you can be sure is a good match for your swing dynamics. With that variable out of the picture, you can continue to work on improving your technique until the results you desire start to show up on the course.

Using Higher Tee Shots Effectively

Using Higher Tee Shots Effectively

For this last section, we are going to jump ahead and assume that you have done the work necessary to hit higher tee shots. Congratulations – now what? How are you going to use those tee shots to successfully post lower scores? The tips below should help in that quest.

  • Club selection is crucial. As always in golf, club selection is going to be crucial when trying to get the most out of your game off the tee. Just because you can now launch your driver high in the air doesn’t mean you should be doing so on each and every tee shot. Sometimes, the better play is to use a fairway wood or hybrid club to position your ball safely in the short grass. If you are currently using your driver for every par four and par five tee shot, it’s almost certain you are making some strategic mistakes. Think through each tee shot before you pull a club and only use your driver when it is the best tool for the job.
  • The equation has changed. When you were hitting lower drives, a greater portion of your tee shots were made up of bounce and roll along the turf. For instance, a drive that travelled 200-yards in total might have carried 150-yards through the air before covering the last 50-yards on the ground. That equation has now changed thanks to your improved ability to hit the ball high. You’ll get more carry and less roll with a higher trajectory. That can be a good thing in many situations, but you need to plan for it accordingly.
  • Beware of the wind. Quite obviously, hitting higher tee shots means you’ll need to pay close attention to what the wind is doing throughout your round. Hitting a downwind tee shot should provide you with some extra yardage but hitting into the wind can be a problem. For tee shots played into a stiff breeze, consider opting for a different club which will let you keep the ball down closer to the ground.

It’s a great feeling to strike a tee shot and watch the ball fly high into the sky before landing softly in the middle of the green. While that feeling might seem like it is a long way away right now, the only thing you can do is take it one step at a time. Work on the parts of your game that seem to be holding you back and you’ll hopefully see higher tee shots in the near future. Good luck!

I think for a lot of people, they find the driver the hardest club in the back of the hit. I think one of the concerns is that it just doesn't go high enough. I see a lot of guys out in the driving range, hitting ball after ball after ball and when they're actually looking at it, the ball is not flying any further than it would be with a seven iron. It flies a bit quicker but it just comes down too early.

And I think the thing you've got to understand here is that you need the right driver to produce the right height of shot and we need to talk about optimum trajectory. The optimum trajectory can change depending on the power that you're using and if you could imagine that you get like a fireman's hose and the water is spreading out to the hose, if you spray that water straight up in the air, it comes up and down and doesn't travel very far and that's like hitting a lob wedge. All of the energy goes upwards and downwards, it doesn't go very far.

If you were to take that fireman's hose and tilt it down a little bit, the water would start traveling a little bit further to a point because if you then got the hose too low, ultimately it would start landing nearer to you again and it eventually finish up spraying down by your feet, so somewhere in there, there's an optimum trajectory. We need to try and hit out ball on the optimum trajectory for your club head speed and it's different for different golfers, so my drive is only an 8-1/2 degree driver.

I would consider that to have quite a fast club head speed, so I can launch the ball quite low and it travels a long way, but if I hit my driver very slowly, very gently and take the club head speed down, this thing is going to straight into the floor. It's not hit high enough, it's not generating enough back speed, it's not climbing up into the air, so if I was to slow my swing down there, I might need maybe an 11, 12, 13, sometimes even a 14 degree driver because all the people actually hit their three wood further than their drivers, they're just really looking into hitting their three wedge because it's not macho like hitting the driveways. But actually the 15 degrees of loft or thereabout on a three wood can fly further than your driver, so let's lose the macho approach and let's choose the right club for the right shot.

So if you need a bit more, loft on your driver and the optimum trajectory isn't being reached, change that down to a more lofted club. The easiest way to check that is go to your local place and try a few different clubs out, go to a teaching professional available and they'll tell you straight away whether it's the optimum trajectory or actually try to have a low inch monitor and that will give you the data and the scientific figures to work out exactly the height of the shot. But that's one of the causes why the ball won't quite be flying high enough because it's not going to go high enough up into the air.

The next thing is you want to make sure the ball is teed up nice and high. You play the ball nicely up towards your front of your left heel, keep your right shoulder down a little bit and just try and sweep the ball up into the air, so the bigger back swing, the bigger shoulder turn and sweeping the ball up into the air. That's going to get the ball, nice and high as well.

Now if your golf swing gets too flat, you get too far away from the golf ball, you swing it very flat around you as you come back down into the impact area, there might not be enough loft on the club, you might be a little bit too far on the inside approach into the ball, that could take all the loft out of it as well. And if that's the case, just getting a bit nearer to the ball might help you steep in your swing up a little bit.

Good check point now would be that you just make sure that the club rests just above your kneecap, that tells you how far back from the ball you should be, therefore the club would come up a little bit steeper and one other area that might be de-lofting the golf club is having the club phase very closed as you hit the ball. So if the club phase is aiming too far left as you hit it and the phase is closed that could be a problem as well.

Now checking the club phase, it might actually be closed at the top of the swing as well if the phase here points straight up to the sky rather than 45 degrees or more down to the ground. If it points further up into the sky that way, it would class as a closed club phase, chances are that's going to be a grip issue, probably gripping the golf club too strongly, you go left or both hands, so three or four knuckles in the left hand, right hand sitting underneath, shutting the club phase down too much, closed club phase at impact, takes all the loft out of it and nails it into the floor, but you've probably also seen the ball going left if that was the case.

So let's make sure we've got good fundamentals, good grip, good distance away, using a golf club that has plenty of loft on it, having a nice high tee pegged up near the front foot and let's get our board flying higher, more up towards optimum trajectory for longer tee shots.