GOLF DIGEST SCHOOLS

The Ultimate Guides: Driving

1  of  5

Lesson 1: Goal of the Tee Shot

video breakdown

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Your drive is the most important shot you can hit on any hole. Everyone wants to stick approach shots close and make birdies, but you can’t do that without first getting yourself in a good position off the tee. Not every drive has to be perfect. If you can at least give yourself a decent look at the green, you’ve done your job. In this video, Golf Digest Best Young Teacher Anders Mattson breaks down what your priorities should be when hitting off the tee.

SWING THOUGHTS

Expect to hit your drive perfect, then accept “good enough.” Finding your ball is No. 1
Off the tee, give yourself room to miss and avoid trouble, like hazards and out of bounds
Pick a specific target, then use an intermediate target three feet in front of the ball to line up
Unless you’re playing a straight shot, start the ball to one side of your intermediate target to allow for your normal curve
Don’t cut across doglegs. Drive to the outside corner to allow better access to the pin

DRILLS

Spilt the trouble

  • Identify where the trouble is on the right and left side of the hole
  • From behind the ball, hold up your forefingers to frame the target area, one where the trouble is on the right, one where the trouble is on the left
  • The middle point in between those two spots is where you want to hit your tee shot
  • Pick an intermediate target on that line three feet in front of the ball

Commit and hit

  • Map out your driving strategy before you go out to play
  • Make decisions prior to the round on which club to hit off every tee
  • Commit before the round to hitting that shot, then just let it fly
Lesson 2: Driver Setup and Swing
2 Lesson 2: Driver Setup and Swing
  • What the design of the club requires
  • Setup: Body and ball positions
  • Swing: An accelerating upward blow
  • Taking out extra tension

The Ultimate Guides: Driving

2  of  5

Lesson 2: Driver Setup and Swing

video breakdown

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Before you can bomb one down the fairway with the driver, you first need to understand that the driver swing is completely different from any other. Start with the setup: Getting all your different moving parts in the right position before you even take the club back is one of the biggest keys to good driving. The swing will flow from there. In this video, Anders Mattson shares his tips on setting up and making a strong, upward strike at impact.

SWING THOUGHTS

With the driver, play the ball off your front foot
In the driver setup, tilt your spine back slight so your weight is behind the ball and you can hit it on the upswing
Get in a comfortable posture so your arms can hang freely
With the driver, swing longer and more around your body
On driver swings, feel as though you’re staying behind the ball and releasing the club past your body
At address, keep your arms loose and look at the target more than the ball

DRILLS

Driver set up

  • Put your feet together and position the ball on a line between them
  • Drop your right foot away from the target to set your ball position forward
  • Take your left-hand grip, then add your right hand underneath, which tilts your spine to the right
Lesson 3: Controlling the Driver
3 Lesson 3: Controlling the Driver
  • Identifying your ideal tempo
  • Have a Plan A and Plan B
  • Perfect what you can: pre-shot process
  • Developing a safety shot

The Ultimate Guides: Driving

3  of  5

Lesson 3: Controlling the Driver

video breakdown

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OVERVIEW

Even the biggest hitters know when it’s time to dial it back a bit and get one in the fairway. A shorter, more controlled drive that leaves you with a good angle to the green is always better than a crooked bomb that makes your second shot a tough challenge. In this video, Anders Mattson explains how it’s ok to sacrifice distance to hit more playable drives.

SWING THOUGHTS

Groove your driving tempo by identifying which speed gives you the most consistent results
With driving, focus on hitting the ball in the center of the face, and work on a balanced finish
Have a plan B for driving: Take a safer club or choke down on the driver, narrow your stance and slow down your swing
Develop a consistent pre-shot process: Avoid negative thoughts, pick a target and commit

DRILLS

Swing at different percentages

  • On the range, develop a sense for swing speed
  • Start with swings at 100-percent effort
  • Then go to 50-percent swings
  • Then go in between, maybe 75-percent
  • Discover the best mix of adding speed and staying in balance
Lesson 4: How to Add Distance
4 Lesson 4: How to Add Distance
  • The quest for maximum speed
  • Don’t forget center-face contact
  • Does your driver fit your swing?
  • When you just need to bust one

The Ultimate Guides: Driving

4  of  5

Lesson 4: How to Add Distance

video breakdown

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OVERVIEW

Once you’ve mastered your tempo and can hit controlled drives, adding distance can come through careful strategy. You have to know where power comes from and how to boost it effectively. Anders Mattson’s tips focus on ball-striking efficiency and getting more out of the speed you generate.

SWING THOUGHTS

On power swings, blend the four key body parts: hands, arms, torso, legs
For driving distance, focus on hitting in the center of the clubface
See a qualified clubfitter to make sure your driver fits you properly
For distance, add speed to the clubhead, not your body. Hear the “whoosh” of the clubhead in your practice swing

DRILLS

Sequencing the body

  • Try this demonstration: First, swing your driver with just your hands
  • Then add your arms
  • Then add your torso
  • Then add your legs
  • Feel how each successive part contributes to your swing speed
Lesson 5: Common Driver Faults
5 Lesson 5: Common Driver Faults
  • Learn to read your fault patterns
  • Sorting out mis-hits and mis-swings
  • Fix slices, hooks, topped shots, pop-ups
  • When it’s OK to miss on purpose

The Ultimate Guides: Driving

5  of  5

Lesson 5: Common Driver Faults

video breakdown

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There are days where you can’t miss the fairway, and then there are days where you feel like you’ll never find the short grass again. This can be incredibly frustrating, SO try to identify the patterns of your misses: Are you hitting a big slice? Are you snap-hooking everything? In this video, Anders Mattson shows you how to identify and fix common faults.

SWING THOUGHTS

On driver misses, identify where the ball is hitting on the face
To fix a slice, keep your back to the target longer on the downswing
To fix the hook, rotate your body faster through impact
Missing on purpose is ok. With big trouble left or right, do all you can to keep the ball from going to that side

DRILLS

Fixing poor contact

  • Stick a tee in the ground and address it
  • To fixed topped drives, practice clipping the tee with your practice swing
  • To fix popped up drives, practice missing the tee as you swing through

The Ultimate Guides: Driving

Lesson
1 / 5
Lesson 1: Goal of the Tee Shot
2 / 5
Lesson 2: Driver Setup and Swing
3 / 5
Lesson 3: Controlling the Driver
4 / 5
Lesson 4: How to Add Distance
5 / 5
Lesson 5: Common Driver Faults
The Ultimate Guides: Driving INDEX
Lesson 1: Goal of the Tee Shot
1/5
Lesson 1: Goal of the Tee Shot
  • Don’t underestimate getting in play
  • Learn to make better decisions
  • Picking realistic targets
  • How to handle tough driving holes
  • Don’t underestimate getting in play
  • Learn to make better decisions
  • Picking realistic targets
  • How to handle tough driving holes
Lesson 2: Driver Setup and Swing
2/5
Lesson 2: Driver Setup and Swing
  • What the design of the club requires
  • Setup: Body and ball positions
  • Swing: An accelerating upward blow
  • Taking out extra tension
  • What the design of the club requires
  • Setup: Body and ball positions
  • Swing: An accelerating upward blow
  • Taking out extra tension
Lesson 3: Controlling the Driver
3/5
Lesson 3: Controlling the Driver
  • Identifying your ideal tempo
  • Have a Plan A and Plan B
  • Perfect what you can: pre-shot process
  • Developing a safety shot
  • Identifying your ideal tempo
  • Have a Plan A and Plan B
  • Perfect what you can: pre-shot process
  • Developing a safety shot
Lesson 4: How to Add Distance
4/5
Lesson 4: How to Add Distance
  • The quest for maximum speed
  • Don’t forget center-face contact
  • Does your driver fit your swing?
  • When you just need to bust one
  • The quest for maximum speed
  • Don’t forget center-face contact
  • Does your driver fit your swing?
  • When you just need to bust one
Lesson 5: Common Driver Faults
5/5
Lesson 5: Common Driver Faults
  • Learn to read your fault patterns
  • Sorting out mis-hits and mis-swings
  • Fix slices, hooks, topped shots, pop-ups
  • When it’s OK to miss on purpose
  • Learn to read your fault patterns
  • Sorting out mis-hits and mis-swings
  • Fix slices, hooks, topped shots, pop-ups
  • When it’s OK to miss on purpose