Techniques for Sweeping the Ball Off the Tee: Top 3 Tips

    One of the first things you learn in golf is that you have to hit down on the ball in order to make it go up. This is true when playing iron shots, of course, especially when you are hitting them from the fairway. However, if you are hitting a driver off a tee, the story is completely different. In that situation, you actually want to sweep the ball off the tee in order to achieve the ideal launch angle. In addition to improving your launch angle, sweeping the ball off the tee will also reduce your backspin rate. When all is said and done, you are left with a beautiful ball flight that maximizes your distance and makes it easier for you to hit fairways.

    Before you can start working on sweeping the golf ball off the tee, you need to evaluate your current driver swing technique. The easiest way to do that is to observe your ball flight. If you already have a ball flight with your driver which stays relatively flat through the air, you should be in good shape. The flight you want to watch out for is the one which climbs steeply up into the sky before falling straight down to the ground. This is usually known as a ‘ballooning’ ball flight, and it is not particularly useful from the tee. You will lose distance with this shot pattern, and it will be extremely difficult to use in the wind. Most players with a ballooning ball flight are hitting down on their driver at impact, so use this as a clear sign that you need to make some changes.

    When you decide that changes to your driver technique are necessary, focus on the following three points.

  • A wide takeaway. There is nothing more important than a wide takeaway when it comes to sweeping the ball off the tee. By maintaining your extension during the early phases of the swing, you can flatten out your overall motion and wind up with a beautiful impact that launches the ball deep down the fairway. Unfortunately, the average amateur golfer does not do a very good job with his or her takeaway. Instead of keeping things wide, the typical player hinges their wrists early on, lifting the club head away from the ground and creating a narrow swing. A narrow swing is almost always going to be a steep one, meaning you will wind up hitting down on the ball through impact. To fix this mistake, practice some one-handed takeaways with only your left hand on the grip of the club. Making these kinds of practice swings will round out your backswing and you will be in a much better position to sweep the ball off the tee.
  • Stay perfectly balanced. You should already know that balance is important in golf. No matter what kind of shot you are hitting, or what club you are holding, it is crucial to maintain your balance. So, it should be no surprise that balance is one of the critical points to watch for when swinging your driver. Specifically, you want to avoid letting yourself drift away from the target in the backswing. This is an extremely common mistake. It is easy to let yourself lean away from the target as you swing back, but doing so will make it difficult to ever find your balance again. The golf swing should be a rotational movement, with your center of gravity staying in the middle of your stance as you turn. With better balance, the club will naturally want to move through the ball on a flat plane. By working on this point with your driver, your swing with the rest of your clubs should improve as well.
  • Stand a little farther away. Moving back from the ball is a great way to naturally flatten out your swing plane. With a flatter swing plane, the club will move parallel to the ground through impact, and your ball flight will be improved. You don’t have to take a big step back from the ball at address or anything like that – just move back an inch or two and the shape of your driver swing will improve.
  • When you start to sweep the ball off the tee with your driver, rather than hitting down through it, the difference in your results will be dramatic. The shape of your shots will change, they will travel farther down the fairway, and they will be much easier to control – especially in the wind.