Whether you’re brand new to golf, or you’re a seasoned golfer who’s been playing for years, we all struggle from time to time with driving the golf ball straight. At some point in every golfers career you need to learn how to drive a golf ball straight.
Most golfers, who have a solid understanding of how to swing the driver, have hit at least one perfect drive, and the feeling you get when you drive a golf ball straight down the center of the fairway makes all of the effort and practice worthwhile.
Picture it. You see your target. You take your stance and set up correctly. After a few practice swings, it just feels right. You bring the driver back on the perfect line. You strike the ball crisp and pure, and uh oh! — it launches a good 50 yards to the right of your target.
So what went wrong? To drive a golf ball straight, we must first understand the mechanics of the golf swing; then, we can take a look at a few simple drills that will enable us to dial in our accuracy off the tee and split the fairway more often than not.
How To Swing The Driver
If you really want to know how to drive a golf ball straight, then the single most important thing to understand is how the golf club travels throughout the swing.
The path that the club travels, known as the swing plane, will determine the ball’s flight trajectory following impact. When new players first take up the game of golf, they often struggle to drive the golf ball straight. Often times their troubles stem from not understanding the swing plane.
I often see beginners bringing the driver back straight and trying to keep the club straight through impact. But doing this will only ever result in hitting a slice.
That is because when swung correctly, the driver, or any club for that matter, does not travel in a straight line but an elliptical path around the golfer. This elliptical club path is what is known as the swing plane.
Understanding the swing plane is the key to understanding how to drive a golf ball straight, and If you ever want to drive the ball straight then, It’s absolutely crucial that you fully understand this concept.
Understanding The Swing Plane
Imagine that you are taking a practice swing. Now, pretend that as you swing, the driver’s head is tracing a circle around you. This circle is the swing plane. To drive the golf ball straight, we must keep the club “on plane,” which requires that we extend our arms, transfer our weight, and rotate our hips through impact.
We cannot do any of these things if the club is travelling in a straight path. So, how can we make sure that our club is always on the correct plane to allow for a straight drive? The legendary champion Ben Hogan, who coined the term “swing plane,” said to imagine that you have a pane of glass sitting on the back of your shoulders.
The backswing, said Hogan, must stay parallel to the pane of glass as the club approaches its apex. The idea is that at no point in time, neither during your backswing nor in your follow-through, should the club ever cross the imaginary plane and shatter the pane of glass.
Understanding the notion of an elliptical swing path is essential, but it is not the only factor in determining accuracy off the tee.
The Sweet Spot
Nowadays, many of the top golf club manufacturers are producing sets of clubs for amateur and beginner golfers designed to provide “forgiveness.” But what does forgiveness even mean in golf? If you want to drive a golf ball straight, you will need to contact the ball near the center of the clubface.
If you strike the ball off-center, then the resulting ball flight will also be off-line. Strikingmore towards the clubface’s left edge, also known as “shanking” it, then the ball will hook to the left. If you catch the golf ball towards the right side of the clubface, the ball will slice to the right.
To execute a perfectly straight drive, you will need to strike the ball right in the middle of the clubface; this is what’s known as the sweet spot. Forgiveness means if you are off by a little bit, then the ball will still fly straight.
Forgiveness for new golfers
If you are still new to the game of golf, I would advise that you use a driver, which will offer you some forgiveness, at least until you are comfortable with swinging along the correct plane. The only way for us to fix this part of our game is to be aware of it.
Fortunately, there is a simple drill that will allow you to immediately determine where you are striking the ball on the clubface, and that information will inform you as to how you can adjust your swing plane to drive the golf ball straight.
Spraying The Clubface
So for this drill, all you have to do is apply a spray coating to the face of your driver. I like to use a white aerosol deodorant spray, but you can use just about any spray, as long as it is visible on the clubface and will not damage the club; even just some soapy water will do the trick.
After you hit a few balls, take a look at the face of the club. You should be able to see exactly where on the face you are striking the ball. Once we know where we are striking the ball from, we can make the necessary adjustment to get our driver back on the correct swing path, allowing us to drive the ball straight.
If You Are Striking On The Left
If you are contacting the golf ball from the left side or the shaft side of the clubface, your swing plane needs to come closer to you. Shots struck off the left edge of the club will always hook to the left, which will be detrimental to your scorecard.
Nobody likes hooking the ball. Fortunately, there is an easy fix to remedy a hook. By opening up your stance and teeing the ball a little bit forward of where you normally would, you can ensure that your swing plane will contact the sweet spot at impact, resulting in a straight drive down the middle of the fairway.
If You Are Striking On The Right
The majority of golfers, being right-handed, tend to miss-hit the ball towards the clubface’s outer edge, resulting in a slice that drifts to the right of the intended target line. Most slices are caused either by a downswing, which comes “over-the-top,” or a swing plane that is in too close to the golfer’s body.
Much like with a hook, we can make a couple of adjustments, which will help us stop slicing our drives. Closing your stance and teeing the ball just a bit back from where you normally would you should be able to dramatically reduce the likelihood that you will slice the golf ball.
Additionally, gripping the golf club tighter can also help to reduce the odds of slicing the ball.
The Sweet Spot Drill
This is perhaps the very best drill to practice if you want to learn how to drive a golf ball straight. It’s a super easy drill, and all you will need for it is a couple of tees. So, you want to set up and take your stance.
Tee the ball up to a proper height for the driver, which is about half a balls height above the top of the clubhead, and then place a tee in the ground on either side of the golf ball, leaving yourself only a very narrow window for the club to pass through and strike the ball teed up in the middle without hitting either outside tee.
I promise that doing this a few times before your round or out on the range will help you tremendously. Especially with finding the correct swing plane and striking the ball from the center of the clubface. If you are still new to golf, or are just out for a recreational round with friends, then go ahead and do this on the tee box throughout your round.
You might feel a little silly at first. But I promise that the nice straight drives you will consistently hit will more than make up for it. In no time, you will be able to remove the outside training tees and drive the golf ball straight almost every time.
Getting better at golf has a lot to do with training your muscle memory. The more you practice swinging on the correct swing plane, the easier it will become to drive a golf ball straight in the future.
No drill in the world will be able to help you start driving the golf ball straight if you don’t maintain the proper posture throughout your swing. It really is necessary that you understand the correct set-up and body position.
The perfect posture is as follows. You should make sure you keep your chin pointed up, your back should be straight, you should be tilted a bit forward at the hips, and your legs should be slightly bent. Having this posture will enable you to generate the proper rotation with your torso through impact.
This will enable you to make sure that your swing will be on the correct swing plane. This allows the club’s face to square up on the correct line. The resulting swing plane will allow you to drive the ball straight and will also help you unlock some additional distance.
Golf is not a game of perfect. Golf is about always trying to improve. And believe me, there will always be an area of your game that can be improved upon. The ability to drive a golf ball straight is, without a doubt, one of the most important skills you can develop on your journey towards being the best golfer you can be.
Being able to split the fairway is the number one way to build your confidence on the course. And give yourself the best possible chance to make a birdie or better. If you can’t keep the ball in the fairway, then you will never see much improvement on your scorecard. And frankly, the game won’t be nearly as fun as it should be.
The good news is that anyone can learn to drive a golf ball straight. And all that is required is that you understand and apply the principles, tips, and tricks that we’ve just covered. And incorporate these ideas into your practice regimen.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Golf as a game demands that we put a lot of time and effort into practising. If done correctly, I guarantee that all of this practice will pay off in the long run. But we need to make sure that we are practising in the right way and training our muscle memory correctly.
So, make sure that you really understand the elliptical swing plane. Spray the clubface, and take notice of where you tend to hit the ball. Make the necessary adjustments and take the time to practice with the training tees on either side of the golf ball.
Ensure that you set up with and maintain the correct posture throughout your swing, and most importantly — don’t give up. It might take some time, but it truly is time well spent. Nothing will dramatically lower your scorecard more than knowing how to drive a golf ball straight.
We hope this guide has taught you everything you need to know to drive a golf ball straight. If you enjoyed this guide we hope you check out some of our others. Such as our guides to wrist hinge in your golf swing or hitting tight lies.