You might have been told to sweep the ball off the tee with your driver to maximize distance. But if you frequently hit slices or pulls, this swing thought will likely make your problems go from bad to worse. To sweep the ball, many players hang back and hit with the weight on the rear foot (bottom photo). If you already have an open clubface and an out-to-in swing through impact--as most slicers do--hanging back will cause even bigger slices, as well as thin hits. Like I said, bad to worse.
To cure your slices and pulls, hit down on the ball with your driver. A good thought is to try to take a little divot after impact or to hit with the shaft leaning toward the target (top photo). This will help you shift to your front side on the downswing and swing into impact from inside the target line.
The lure of getting more distance can be intoxicating, and sweeping it off the tee has long been a popular theory. But you might be encouraged to know that two of the guys I work with--Tiger Woods and Hunter Mahan--almost always hit down with their drivers. And neither of them has any problem getting it out there.
THE FOLEY FILES
Many golfers suffer from a reverse identity crisis, meaning they have a mind-set about how well they should play. When a 10-handicapper birdies a hole, how often does the next tee shot sail out of play?
Conversely, when scratch golfers make a triple bogey, they get so upset, as if they didn't think they could still make triple. Don't let score dictate the kind of golfer you are. There's so much about golf you can't control. Focus on process over performance. Otherwise, you'll always play at the same level.
Sean Foley, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, works at the Core Golf Junior Academy, near Orlando.