Home » Golf Instruction

Golfers can drive for show AND dough, Marc Solomon writes

Marc SolomonBy Marc Solomon,
Contributor

Q and A with Marc Solomon, Director of The Hampton Golf School, Jacksonville, Fla.

Hi Marc

I sure could use a few ideas. I am hitting the ball pretty well except off the tee. Can't figure out what I'm doing. When I pull out the 7-iron I hit the ball pretty well. All my playing partners tell me that I need to swing easy. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Any assistance you can give me is appreciated.

Greg H. Savannah, Ga


Greg,

It sounds like we need to get you off the tee better. We need to get some yardage out of your tee shots so that you will have shorter irons into the green. This will help contribute to you finding some lower scores.

I listen in amazement when my fellow golf professionals tell their students that the distance you hit your tee shot isn't important. They say it is more important to hit the ball in the fairway. I agree that driving isn't the most important aspect of the game as far as creating a low score. The skill of putting has a much bigger influence on your scores than driving the ball. But, hitting the ball longer than your opponent rates a close second.

A great example that stands out to me was the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Colin Montgomerie led the field in the number of times he hit the fairway. Montgomerie hit 82% of the fairways with his tee shots. Montgomerie also shot 15 over par for the tournament. In fact the top 3 players in the fairways hit category came in 32nd, 37th and 46th place in the tournament as far as score was concerned. Tiger Woods led the field in driving distance with an average drive of 299 yards. He also won the tournament by a pretty good margin. The top 3 in the driving distance category finished 1st, 2nd and 8th in the tournament as far as score.

Now I'm not saying that you should gear up for each tee shot by telling yourself that you need to "knock the crude out of the ball." But sometimes telling yourself to "swing easy and just get the ball in the fairway", doesn't help your score. A lot of the time it might actually contribute to your bad shots.

How many times have you stepped up to the tee and told yourself, "OK, swing easy"? Half the time you might hit a good shot. What happens the other half of the time? Now, how many times have you stepped up to the ball and just said "I don't care where this ball is going, I'm just going to swing at it"? Those are the times we hit our best tee shots. Why is that? It is because we have no thoughts in our head to interrupt our natural rhythm. We just get up to the ball and give ourselves a chance to hit it.

When we tell ourselves to swing easy, we are holding ourselves back. We are causing parts of our body to hesitate and then move abruptly. Our natural urge is to send that ball soaring down the golf course. We want to see it hang in the air while it is blazing through the air, down the fairway. We want to feel that feeling in our hands that we hit the perfect drive. You know that feeling. The one were you don't even feel the ball hit the club, but you still have a sense of power flowing through your body.

The key is knowing how to produce that power consistently. We want to, in the words of Julius Boros, "Swing easy, hit hard". How can you swing easy and still hit the ball hard. The key is using your hands to swing the golf club. Your hands are the most important part of your body for swinging the club correctly. They are the only part of you that is attached to the golf club. They determine how fast you will be swinging the club.

Try this as a test. Turn your driver over so that you are holding the hosel (the part of the shaft that connects to the clubhead) with just your right hand (for right handers). Now swing the club back and forth as fast as you can using just your arm, hand and wrist. It should be making a swooshing sound. Keep swinging faster and faster until your swoosh becomes louder and louder. "Now catch your breath." Keep holding the club in your hand, but try to swing using your shoulders, hips or legs. When you try this don't use your hands, just the other parts of your body. How loud was the swoosh?

If you are like most people, the swoosh was much louder and easier to achieve when using your arm, hand and wrist. The swoosh represents power. Golf is a power game. If you don't believe that, then answer this question: Why is there a Senior PGA? Why aren't the guys over 50 still playing with Tiger Woods on a regular basis? The guys on Senior Tour are awesome players, but they can't compete with someone out driving them by 50 yards.

Learn to make the swoosh with your hands. Practice it over and over until you get the sense of effortless power. Then every once in a while try using your body more than your hands to swing hard. You will probably feel unbalanced, uncoordinated and powerless.

One last point - there is some truth in the phrase "Drive for show, putt for dough", but look at these numbers from the 2000 U.S. Open - The top 3 in the putting statistics earned a total of $278,216. The top 3 in driving distance earned $1,304,266. Maybe we should change the phrase to "Drive for show, drive for dough".

PGA Professional Marc Solomon is the director of Golf Made Simple (www.Golfmadesimple.com). He has been named as a "Top 10 Instructor under 40 in America" and is regarded as the "Top Instructor in North Florida."

 
Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • driving lessons

    Blair R wrote on: Jul 18, 2007

    I,ve been playing since the age of 14 im 23 now and i,ve been fighting a slice just as long.I have just begun to hit straight shots with a few draws.But i just cant seem to find the sweetspot on the driver can anyone give me a tip or two.

    Reply

      • RE: driving lessons

        art biscocho wrote on: Jan 14, 2013

        Hi, I am a 16 handicapped player and having a average drive of 230-250 yards. I am satisfied because I am fifty three years old already.
        At front nine, I always score low, 4-5 over and here is the PROBLEM, at the back nine my drive getting worse and I cannot use my driver any more. I do not have problem with my iron at back nine, only my DRIVER.
        This scenario always happen every time I play.
        Please help!!

        Reply

      • RE: driving lessons

        mysterman:P wrote on: Nov 23, 2012

        when your seting up put the ball a little bit of the ground.

        Reply

  • duck hook

    Andrew R. wrote on: May 15, 2006

    Hey, i'm a high school golfer and in the beginning of the season i was nailing the ball down the middle about 270-280 every time. Now i'm hooking the ball about 40% of the time off the tee. Any ideas of whats going on?

    Reply

      • RE: duck hook

        Ron wrote on: May 20, 2006

        More than 1 thing can cause this. Stance for 1-To strong a grip for abother-Go to driving range and try and fade it--then hit it straight.
        You night not be shifting weight-so your hanging back and turning the club over--get on your front foot at inpact-get off your back foot you will crush it.
        Billy Casper was on tv the other day and has fought a bad hook in his career. He said it was because his back shoulder(right for him)was coming around instead of staying underneath--go pratice-good luck
        Ron

        Reply

  • drawing when not meaning to

    ollie wrote on: May 14, 2006

    hi im a 15 yr old handicap 10. the thing is though that i keep hitting draws when im not meaning to. the way i got to the handidcap im at is by lining left of the fairway but i know this is wrong. the worst thing is that on my local coures it is crucial that you hit it on the left most of the time! eny tips?

    Reply

  • Driving

    Mike wrote on: Sep 26, 2005

    Hi my name is Mike and im 14 I'm playing since 7 yars old. My hindecapct is only 2 ,but i have a problem making a draw. And i find out if i hit it straight it goes 280 yards, but when i draw,hook i losing about 40 yards and then i always using extra strokes to get out from the trees. So plaease help me how take away my hook

    Reply

  • Drives

    Mike wrote on: Aug 30, 2005

    I have a problem with my driver i keep hitting them straight but then they curve to the right my other problem is sometimes wen i chip i shank the ball

    Reply

  • driving range

    martin.s wrote on: Aug 27, 2005

    I find that on the driving range I can hit a ball with my driver 8 of 10 times exactly where I want it to go, however on the golf course 8 of 10 times is the opposite. Why and how can I curve this big problem that I have ......please HELP..........

    Reply

  • my slice when driving

    wez wrote on: Aug 22, 2005

    i malways slice the ball off the tee and i was wondering if u could give me atip on how to fix it

    Reply

      • RE: my slice when driving

        Mack Camaione wrote on: Sep 17, 2007

        75% of the time my ball slices to the right off the tee?
        Also, I noticed then when I strike the ball with my driver, it has been continuously noted that on the bottom of my driver, there are ball marks, which means I am missing the the sweet spot by about an ich and-a-half. Do I put the tee up higher or lower? In other words, I can't seem to hit the ball dead center? How do I correct this.?

        Reply

  • fade, slice on drive

    Andrew Groves wrote on: Jul 19, 2005

    I have a problem with my drives. No matter what I seem to do the ball will travel straight from moment of contact and drift widly right in the later stages of flight. Some people consider it a fade and others a slice.
    I've tried teeing ball up higher, lower. Bringing my right hand futher towards my left shoulder. Hitting the ball just inside and just outside my left foot.
    Please help???????
    Andrew

    Reply

      • RE: fade, slice on drive

        Adam Brown wrote on: Jul 19, 2005

        1. You should strengthen your grip. Take your left hand and turn it so you can see more knuckles.
        2. On your downswing, feel like you are rotating your right hand over your left hand.
        Hope this helps

        Reply

  • Golfer's Elbow

    Ray Jackson wrote on: Jul 16, 2005

    I am right handed and have had a great deal of discomfort in my left elbow. Could this problem be from my grip and swing or both on the club? What grip or swing might eliminate this ?

    Reply

  • Balance

    Peter wrote on: Jul 14, 2005

    Hi i have just started playing golf and every time I go swing I always to just about fall over. Are there any tips on how to stay ballanced

    Reply

  • Driving

    Josh wrote on: Jul 8, 2005

    Im 13 years old and my mates can drive a ball about 250 yds each time in the fairway, and when i step upto the tee i hit a ball about 150 yds into the rough and i dont know what is going wrong please help me!!!!

    Reply

      • RE: Driving

        Waldo wrote on: Oct 17, 2005

        Tips to hit long and drive straight:
        Stand Up.
        Bum out, bend knees slightly.
        Bend forward from hips slightly.
        Arms should hang straight down.
        Have a one-piece takeaway(post on page4)
        Ensure you don't turn your left wrist out(left to right turn for right handers)This is most important as an open face(refer page 4 post) will guarantee a slice everytime.
        Try to keep left arm fairly straight on backswing.
        Stay balanced by not overswinging.
        Keep head fairly still and chin up.
        (All this should give you a feeling of your right leg coiling up with power)
        Downswing is natural....meaning what you do on your backswing will just uncoil on the downswing.
        Feel the transfer of weight from right to left as you swing down. Drive forward by starting with your legs then body turn then arms. This will increase distance.
        Hit through the ball and down the target line(post on page4).
        Try to have a trophy finish(ie. just like on a golf trophy where the figurine has finished its swing)
        Practice, practice, practice!! Only 0.02 percent of the world are naturally gifted, even Tiger Woods practices every day!!!!

        Reply

  • I need help

    Jack wrote on: May 17, 2005

    Hi i need help i cant hit my clubs far off the tee or hit my woods solid .... if any tips tell me

    Reply

      • RE: I need help

        andrew wrote on: Apr 22, 2007

        i had that same problem in the beginning of this year,and fized it easily.check your right hadn if your a righty,and check where your thumb is,if its lying horizontal with the club,rotate it over to the left side,this gives it mroe loft and ultimately a better swing pattern,now i can hit everything...also,i only hit a 3 wood or 5 wood off the tee unless its a par 3...and now im breaking 90 in a round

        Reply

  • Driving

    Buddy wrote on: May 3, 2005

    Im left-handed, and When I tee off I always top the ball. My tee and ball is plenty high I am positive it has to do with my form and swing? When I do connect I will have a huge slice. Any useful tips?

    Reply

      • RE: Driving

        allen dillow wrote on: Sep 16, 2005

        I started playing golf late in life and love it.But i started off driving the ball good then i started topping the ball so i moved back and started hitting a severe draw.Where do i go next help!

        Reply

  • Drivers

    Harold E wrote on: Apr 4, 2005

    I have tried many drivers but my best results (distance and accuracy) have come from cheap drivers that have an intermediate flex.
    I have tried regular flex but they too whippy and accuracy suffers. The stiff flex have a bad feel my distance suffers.
    I would like to purchase a name driver but none seem to have the intermediate flex shaft. Any suggestions?

    Reply

      • RE: Drivers

        wv wrote on: Jul 18, 2005

        try buying just a clubhead and have a pro fit you with a nice shaft and correct grip for you

        Reply

  • DRIVING

    BILLY D. wrote on: Mar 30, 2005

    IM RIGHT HANDED AND HIT THE BALL STRAIGHT BUT THEN IT CURVES HARD TO THE RIGHT. I USE AN 10.5 DRIVER. TO COMPENSATE I ANGLED MY BODY TO THE LEFT KNOWING THIS IS WRONG BUT IT'S THE ONLY WAY TO GET IT IN THE FAIRWAY. MUCH HELP NEEDED!! PLEASE REPLY

    Reply

      • RE: DRIVING

        Josh Legg wrote on: Jul 8, 2005

        Ive had this trouble when i was smacking the ball right, but then i had a driving lesson with the golf pro and he told me, that i was teeing the ball up to high. So i teed the ball up lower, and then i was bringing the club to far back in my back swing so i had to make sure that my right arm was at a 90' angle and it worked amazingly so the only advice i could give you is that your swing maybe to long and your tee might be to high or to low.

        Reply

      • RE: DRIVING

        chris ambrose wrote on: Jun 26, 2005

        keep your right elbow in until you reach the pinnacle of your swing and the ball will go straighter...also make sure you hit without bending over....you have to be standing almost straight up with very little bend in the knees

        Reply

      • RE: DRIVING

        Patrick wrote on: Jun 19, 2005

        Hey man, I have the same problem. I would love to hear some tips on how to straighten out my drives. Let me know what you hear.

        Reply

      • RE: DRIVING

        romal wrote on: Jun 11, 2005

        Close the club face slightly..
        also try to place the tee close to the middle of your stance and focus on tuning your hips as contact is made.
        I think grip is extremely important!!

        Reply

      • RE: DRIVING

        Tyler J. wrote on: May 17, 2005

        Hey. I have a draw and i have learned enough with my golf coach to tell u it starts with the grip. Find a picture of tiger woods and try to model your hands like his. This will be hard. Another good pointer is to take a head cover and put it under your right armpit. This will help you keep your right arm "tucked" and you will start hitting straighter shots. Contact me for more help.

        Reply

          • RE: RE: DRIVING

            bill wrote on: Aug 9, 2005

            hmmm keep arm in ? i am very inconsistant in my drives ...i read this your tip and thought wow that may help me a lot my hands seem to move in my swing slightly ....i hit the ball off the toe a lot will this help that as well? thanks for the tip

            Reply

  • driving 8,9,10

    Erik wrote on: Mar 5, 2005

    So I want to buy a new driver, but I don't know whether a 8, 9 or 10 degree head would be right for me. I currently use a 10, and I think I hit the ball way to high in the air. I think that if I switch to an 8 degree, the ball won't go as high, but I'm worried that in doing so, I will lose distance. I can't exactly afford to buy a couple and figure out what works, so any advice would be appreciated.

    Reply

      • RE: driving 8,9,10

        Jake J. wrote on: Mar 27, 2005

        I would say buy an 8.5 or a 9 because i think you would lose more distance hitting it high because then the wind can have more of an effect so if you by a lower degree like and 8.5 it would probably be like a line drive but slowly getting higher so it would fight the wind.

        Reply

          • hitting down at the ball

            joevinkle wrote on: Feb 22, 2009

            would like to know of apractise drill
            thank you
            joe

            Reply

              • RE: hitting down at the ball

                joevinkle wrote on: Feb 22, 2009

                would like to know if there
                is practice drill
                thanks joe

                Reply

      • RE: driving 8,9,10

        big jim wrote on: Mar 24, 2005

        buy an 8.5 i have a taylormade and it gives distance without taking away height

        Reply

  • Driving

    Kurtis B wrote on: Feb 17, 2005

    hey i was wondering if any one could help me, im left handed and seem always to have a slice i never can hit the ball on the fairway its. does any one know any good pointers for driving the ball?

    Reply

      • RE: Driving

        Franko wrote on: Sep 12, 2005

        For a left handed player, is a Slice to the left or the right? Kind of confused here...

        Reply

      • RE: Driving

        philip wrote on: Apr 17, 2005

        In your message you say your always slicing the ball well her is a way not to slice the ball. You should make sure the top of your clubis inline withe the middle of the golf ball and that should atop you from slicing it. You also mension you can never get on the fairway because you can't get it straight so you should shotten your backswing and don't try so hard. Then after a few go's at the range you will see that the balls go straight on to the fairway. To see how far to do your backswing click on this link http://www.easy2.com/tutorials/glf0104/images/glf0104_backswing5w_over.jpg
        your sincerly eldrick
        tiger woods

        Reply

  • test

    billy wrote on: Feb 13, 2005

    Reply

  • driving

    Jake J. wrote on: Feb 5, 2005

    I'm 14 years old, right handed and every time I drive is starts out going far and straight but then all of a sudden it curves to the right. I read in the paper that if you cross your left pointer finger with your right pinkey and then hit the ball it will go straight but when I try that it takes away half of my power and it sometimes still slices. Can someone please help me.

    Reply

      • RE: driving

        Kyle Smits wrote on: May 7, 2005

        i used to have the same problem, but after a couple times out i fixed it. try to folow through strait at the target, it worked for me. also make sure you are not "picking the club up" and are keeping your swing low that also helped

        Reply

      • RE: driving

        Waldo wrote on: Apr 28, 2005

        I have read some of these questions, and I can tell you 90% of golfers slice the ball. There are many, many factors that contribute to this and without seeing a swing in action, very hard to determine what fault you are doing.
        I draw the ball, only through plenty of practice and reading tips such as these on this site. I used to slice like most people and my fault was "casting" the club away from my body on the downswing, hence I came across the ball on impact. To draw a ball, you need to do many things. One tip is to "shake hands with the target line", ie. on your follow through, feel as if your right hand is reaching out to shake hands with the target, this will help you turn your hands through the ball. One other tip is when your club is at hip level, ensure the clubface is not open or at 90 degrees to the ball, it must be slightly closed( only slightly ). Also, ensure your take-away to hip level is a "one-piece" take-away, ie. no moving lower body parts, just your arms. This will help you with distance and consistency. Hope these help.
        Hope

        Reply

Comments Leave a comment