Golf Swing: No Steering Wheel Needed

Every experienced golfer knows what it feels like to ‘steer’ the ball off the tee and toward the fairway. When you are in the middle of trying to steer the ball down the middle, it feels like the right thing to do. You don’t quite trust your swing, and you feel that you can help yourself keep the ball in play if you just take it easy through the hitting area. Unfortunately, holding something back with the goal of gaining control over your shot is just going to lead to trouble.

To maximize distance, you need to learn the techniques how to take the steering wheel off of your swings. This is true with all of your clubs, but it is particularly important with the driver. If you try to steer your driver, you will be penalized twice for the effort. First, you are going to lose distance, since the club isn’t going to tear through the hitting area at maximum speed. Then, you’ll also have a harder time hitting the fairway, since you will be trying to manipulate the club face as you approach impact. Even though you think you are gaining control by steering the swing, the opposite is actually true. In the end, you’re going to wind up with short drives that rarely hit the fairway. Needless to say, this is not an ideal outcome.

So, what can you do? The tips below will hopefully help you get out of the habit of steering your drives.

  • Pick a very specific target. A common mistake among amateur golfers when hitting tee shots is failing to pick a specific target. It’s easy to just look out toward the fairway and think that you’ll hit it somewhere down the middle, but that kind of ambiguous target does do much for your focus – or your confidence. Instead, work on picking out a very specific target in the distance that you can use to provide your swing with some purpose. Maybe it is a tree that is out of reach but on your intended line, or maybe is the edge of a building beyond the green. Whatever the case, pick out this kind of specific target and then make a free-flowing swing in that direction. If you are committed to a specific target, you will be surprised at how much easier it seems to hit the fairway.
  • Accept some misses. Believe it or not, this is actually one of the best ways to gain some freedom in your swing. Before each shot, remind yourself that you might not hit a great shot. That is always a possibility, because golf is a hard game. You might think that this is negative thinking, but we’d argue that it is nothing more than realistic. It’s impossible to guarantee that you are going to hit a good shot on any given swing, as there is always something that can go wrong. By accepting the fact that some of your shots are going to go awry, you may be able to relax and just do your best. You won’t be holding yourself up to a perfect standard, since perfection is unattainable, anyway. When you try to steer the ball into the fairway, you are trying to gain control over something that can’t always be controlled. The best way to play this game is with a free swing, even if that swing is sometimes going to send the ball in the wrong direction. Think about the longest hitters on the PGA Tour – do they hit the fairway every time? Of course not. They make free swings, knowing that some of those swings are going to cause the ball to wind up in the rough. It’s just the nature of the game, so you may as well accept it.
  • Give yourself plenty of space. Some players will wind up steering their drives as a result of picking an unrealistic target for their shots. If you are aiming at an extremely narrow strip of fairway – one which is guarded by trouble on both sides – it’s going to be tough to make the free swing we’ve been talking about in this article. If your driver is going to cause the ball to land in a narrow part of the fairway, you may want to reevaluate your club selection. Do your best to pick shots that give you margin for error and you’ll immediately find it easier to relax during your rounds.
  • It’s never a good thing to steer your shots. The illusion of added control is just that – an illusion. It isn’t really there, and you aren’t going to be more accurate when you try to guide the club through the hitting area. Instead, commit yourself completely to making a full swing, and accept what that swing gives you – both good and bad. In the end, you’ll come out better this way, and you will have more fun, as well.