There’s no shortage of instructional content online telling you how to address a golf ball with a driver. And all of them have their own variation on how to set up and where the ball should be in your stance.
But they don’t tell you that there is no right answer. How you set up to hit a driver is unique for every person. The trick is to find the setup that works best for you and work on refining it and getting comfortable enough with your setup to be able to make small modifications when you need to hit the ball a certain way.
Once you get comfortable enough that you can create different ball flights just by making small modifications in your setup, you’ll be able to create different shots with the same swing. That is the recipe for consistency and lower scores.
So here are a few tips for finding a solid baseline setup for your driver that produces consistent results…
Driver Tee Height
Deciding how high to tee up the ball is the first step in a addressing the ball.
A good starting position with most modern drivers is teeing the ball so that half of it is above the crown (the top of the face) of the driver. This will give you the ability to hit with a slightly ascending swing path but also guard against swinging too far under the ball.
A good place to start is to tee the ball so that about half the ball is above the crown of your driver.
It’s a good idea to experiment with different tee heights and test the results. The ideal way to test different tee heights would be to use a launch monitor. There are plenty of facilities that will let you use (usually for a fee) their launch monitor.
If you don’t have access to a facility like that or if you want to check your distances on a regular basis, then try this portable device that measures your ball speed and distance. It’s not as accurate as the multi-thousand dollar launch monitors that bigger golf facilities have, but its a great alternative.
How Does Tee Height Affect Driving Distance?
Driver tee heights is vitally important to maximizing your distance off the tee.
The reason for that is the tee height can affect where on the clubface the ball makes contact. Where the ball makes contact on the clubface can affect things like launch angle, backspin, and smash factor…all of which contribute to driving distance.
The best way to make sure you are teeing the ball at the correct height is by finding a place where you can use a launch monitor. With a launch monitor, you can test various tee heights with multiple swings and identify which is working the best for you.
Setup And Stance
Generally speaking, the driver swing should be the same swing you make with every club. But because you want to strike the ball slightly after the bottom of your swing arc.
The best way to accomplish this without having a different swing is by simply changing your setup. There are a few things you want to think about when setting up your driver stance…
- Feet about shoulder width apart (wider than an iron shot but not too extreme)
- Some spine tilt away from the target
- Comfortable athletic knee bend
- Bend at the hips (don’t arch your back)
- Weight distribution should be around 50/50 to the left and right
These are just some general guidelines. If you want some more tips that are tailored to your specific swing, find your local PGA instructor.
How Far To Stand From The Golf Ball When Driving
Like a lot of things in golf, the answer to this question is…it depends.
Your distance from the golf ball can vary based on your height, arm length, driver length, and the way you swing the club.
So to be honest, anyone that tells you a definitive answer to how far to stand from the golf ball when driving (or hitting any other club for that matter) is not that likely to be correct.
You need to figure out the correct distance from the golf ball for YOUR swing.
The best way I’ve learned to accomplish this is by taking a practice swing and letting the club graze the grass, then identifying how far from you that path is. That is likely to be your natural swing arc and the best place to position the golf ball.
This will take some repetition and practice. I still do this before every drive and it has become part of my pre-shot routine. By making it part of the routine, you’ll comfortable that the ball is in the right place and the correct distance away and you’ll be able to swing freely with confidence.
Should The Driver Ball Position Be Outside Your Left Foot?
The short answer is probably not. With a lot of “golf tips” telling you to play the ball forward for the driver, some golfers overdo it.
Placing the ball position outside your left foot (for right handed golfers) is likely to be beyond a normal swing arc for most players.
That is going to have at least two negative effects.
First, you will need to tee the ball MUCH higher because the clubhead will be well on its way into the upward portion of the swing arc. That makes it significantly more difficult to strike the ball on the center of the clubface. It can also result in a launch angle that is too high for optimum distance.
Second, your clubhead is more likely to be closed at impact the later in the swing that it strikes the ball. Teeing the ball up for the driver to outside your left foot is a setup that is very likely to result in drastic hooks.