Hitting the driver is the most critical thing you will do in golf, especially in the beginning.
This task takes practice, but with proper form and our step-by-step guide, you can expedite the process.
Right now, you’re wondering how to hit a driver for beginners, but pretty soon the early days are going to be a distant memory.
This guide covers everything from stance to swing radius, to the positioning of the club and ball. Let’s get into it, and help you with that driver swing.
What Degree Driver Should a Beginner Use
The degree of your driver is massive when you’re trying to get the right form down.
For beginners, you should be using a 9.5° to an 11° club head.
This helps with backspin, and towards the beginning of you learning golf, you’re more likely to down on the ball instead of swinging towards it.
What this means is that since you don’t have the muscle memory for golf yet, your swings are coming down against the ball more than they’re tapping it from behind.
There’s nothing wrong with this, you just need to account for it when you’re getting your clubs. Your driver angle will help you in the beginning.
What Clubs Should a Beginner Carry?
To be successful right from the start, you don’t need to cram every possible type of club into your bag.
There are even some professionals who like to keep it as minimalistic as possible.
To be successful, you can stick with seven different club types.
- 3 Wood
- 9 Iron
- 5 Iron
- 3 Iron
- Sand Wedge
The driver and putter are quite literally your long game and short game. Everything else in between can be deemed situational.
As time goes on and you experience other club types, you may augment your golf bag with some of these later on down the line to fine-tune your game.
There’s no wrong way to approach it, so long as you start from the fundamentals and work your way up from there.
How to Hit a Driver, Step by Step
There are five separate steps that you need to apply to every single driver shot you make.
These are the fundamentals, the building blocks of hitting the most important shot of every single round of golf you’ll ever play.
#1 Start With the Tee
To hit a driver for beginners, it starts with where you place the tee. On average, your tea is about 3” long.
Most players will drive the tee about halfway down into the ground (roughly 1.37” not including the stand at the top) for stability.
However, if you’re just starting out, you should actually be putting the tee into the grass as shallowly as possible.
This is called teeing high (because calling it high tee was taken), where you intentionally give more distance between the ball and the ground.
The tee should fit rather loosely into the ground. You only want it to be in the ground enough to not tip over from the weight of the ball.
This means you also have to practice getting it in straight so the force doesn’t push too much on an uneven side.
Teeing high allows you to hit more accurately while you train your depth perception for golf.
When you gently bring the club down as if you were going to swing, it should feel natural based on the position of the tee.
#2 Ball Alignment
Ball alignment is something that people don’t talk about anywhere near often enough.
It’s crucial and based on what club you’re using and what your skill level is, you should be positioning your ball in different areas.
For example, if the ball is perfectly in the center between both points of your feet, that’s not a good thing for drivers.
The direct center is what you want for a wedge, next to that would be ironed, and next to that would be fairway woods.
Take your stance, and when your feet are where they are supposed to be, the ball should align with the inside of your non-dominant side.
To be clear, it should not line up with the tip of your shoes, but rather, in your mind, paint an invisible line from the center of the ball towards you.
If that line would gently graze the edge of the shoe, on the inside, then you’re lined up to hit a great driver.
This is a simple oversight, so if you’re about to drive the ball, stop a second and double-check your alignment. Once you get in the habit of doing this, you’ll be better off for it.
#3 Wide Stance
To understand how important a stance is, do a little experiment right now, wherever you are. Stand up straight with your legs touching each other.
Then try to sway side to side. Now widen your stance, and do the same thing. Which one gives you more control?
A wide stance gives you more steady control over everything that’s going on.
This is imperative when you’re trying to hit a driver because, during the force of your swing, you could easily misalign your shot.
Feet spread apart, back up straight, not hunched over.
You shouldn’t have to feel like a goblin while bent over your club when you go to hit – that’s going to be the cause of some major back problems twenty years down the line if you continue golfing.
It’s okay if you lean into the shot as you’re taking it, but you need to start your downward swing with a rigid posture.
Your driver is the longest club in your bag. I expect you to lean over with a putter, maybe a 3 wood, but your driver is long enough to be effective while you retain proper posture right from the start.
If you find difficulty doing this, check out our ultimate guide on golf club length to diagnose the problem.
#4 Focus on Hand Placement
Golf grips are ridiculously important.
Once you have that down, where do you go from there?
You learn where to place your hand to get the most use out of that sturdy grip.
Your club should be between eight to fourteen inches away from your body when you position it. This varies depending on your club length and your own height/weight, but try to stay within this range.
Keep in mind that the driver is the longest club.
Many new golfers make the mistake of standing way too close to the ball, extending the driver, then either hunching over to compensate or bringing the driver way too close to their body.
Keep that distance, keep your arms straight, and you’ll be poised for the final part—the shot.
#5 Start Low, Hit it Slow
We’ve focused on stance and hand placement, the ball is aligned, the tee is set high. There’s only one thing left to do, which is to drive the ball to the hole.
Even though we have that tee up for compensation, you want to try to swing low. If you also send the tee flying, no problem.
If you follow our list of must-haves for golfers, one of those things is a box a hundred tees.
You don’t have to absolutely destroy the ball when you hit it.
If you’ve ever seen a pro golfer gently bring the club to the tee, stay 1-2” away from it, and then pull back slowly just before actually hitting the ball, that’s called lining up your shot.
You’re going to do exactly that. Gently bring the head of the club towards the tee, come just before tapping it, and repeat this motion until you feel comfortable in your swing.
When the club collides with the tee, it should collide on the bottom equator of the ball so you can get it airborne (hence why the tee is raised).
Eventually, you’ll develop your own rhythm, but these fundamentals set you on a path to becoming a better golfer.
Getting Better Every Day
Your driver is arguably the most important club in your arsenal.
When it comes time to actually use it, you want to be ready and prepared to handle everything that happens. We’ve got you covered.
It will take the longest to master out of all your clubs. It gets the most use, undergoes the most stress, and provides some of the most important plays you’re going to make in your golf career.
Practice with it, get some hands-on, kinesthetic training done, and you’ll quickly see yourself soar. The days of hitting a driver for beginners will be long behind you.