Rely on the fundamentals to find more fairways
There’s a stat on the PGA Tour—strokes gained/off the tee—that indicates how much of an advantage a golfer gets from driving when compared to other golfers. If you look at the names at the top of the strokes-gained list — Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Francesco Molinari, Tommy Fleetwood, Rory McIlroy—you start to realize how valuable good tee shots are to your success. Me? I’m hovering around top 15 on that list, and my work with the driver helped me put together my best season as a pro, nearly winning the Memorial and RBC Canadian Open.
My focus with the driver has been to improve sequencing and technique—fundamental stuff—and there’s no doubt what I worked on can help you, too. Read on for the details. — With Ron Kaspriske
GET OFF TO A GOOD START
Many golfers, including me sometimes, start their backswing with a poor turn. The mistake is a flat takeaway where the shoulders rotate level with the ground. Your lead shoulder should move away from the target but also downward as the hands stay close to the body. Everything should move together and in sync, which helps keep the club in a slightly more vertical position going back.
This gives you room to shallow the club into a great hitting position on the way down. A flat turn prompts the opposite. The shallow backswing makes you want to swing down more steeply and cut across the ball—the slice move. A drill I use to reinforce a good move off the ball is to pin the upper portion of my left arm against my body, keep it there with my right hand, and then make a one-armed backswing (below).
This feeling of a connected takeaway, with the left shoulder dropping, will set the tone for your new-and-improved driver swing.