What is Driving in Golf?- Questions Answered

If you are new to the game or have heard someone mention “driving” in the game golf, you might be wondering what they are talking about. Are they talking about driving the cart around the course?

What is driving in golf? Driving in golf is a term used when a golfer hits the golf ball off of a tee box trying to balance both distance and accuracy towards the flagstick of the hole. Most often, golfers who drive the ball will tee up a golf ball and use a driver (golf club) because it is the lowest lofted club and can make the ball travel the furthest. 

Driving the golf ball can be tricky. The hardest part about driving is trying to make the golf ball fly straight. However, once you learn how to drive the golf ball accurately, the rest of the game becomes a lot easier and more enjoyable. Take a look at some of the driving tips below if you want to better understand how to drive the ball!

Steps for setting up for your drive

When coming up to the tee box, there are a few steps that you need to know. Especially, if you are new to the game and don’t know what to expect on the course.

what does driving mean

  • Play from the right tee box- Golf courses generally have several different colored tee boxes that you can tee off from depending on your skill set. To find out which tee box you want to use, locate the course’s scorecard and look at the distances of various tee boxes (usually color coordinated on the scorecard) to find one the best suits your game.
  • Tee the golf ball in the air- Now that you have decided on what tee box you want to play from, its time to get ready to hit the ball. To tee the golf ball in the air, you will need to have a golf tee so that you can place your ball higher in the air to create more distance. Rule of thumb when teeing up a golf ball, try and line up the top of your golf club with the equator (middle) of the golf ball. This is a good place to start when teeing up the golf ball
  • Driving stance- There is a technique that is used when setting up to the golf ball before your drive. If you have the time, you can read all about it here in my article about the driver golf swing. 

Keys to hit straighter drives

After a golfer is set up correctly at the golf ball and ready to drive the ball, where are they supposed to hit the golf ball? When driving the ball, it is most beneficial to have the ball land in the fairway (short grass) and avoid the rough (long grass) If your golf ball lands in the rough, it will be more challenging to make good contact with the ball. That’s why landing in the fairway is the primary objective. Follow these keys below to start hitting straighter drives:

  1. Swing easy – The harder you swing at the club, the more spin you are putting on the golf ball. The more spin you put on the golf ball, the harder it will be to control where your golf ball goes. Especially when first starting to play golf, swing nice and smooth at the golf ball, focusing more on contact rather than swing speed, and you will hit more fairways
  2. Focus on your alignment- If golfers are struggling with their driving accuracy, one of the first steps is to check the body alignment. Both the shoulder line and feet line should be going down the line of your target. If the feet are too open or closed, your swing path with change causing a higher amount of side spin on the golf ball resulting in unwanted shots.
    golf alignment

    The shoulder line is going down the same line as your feet

  3. Use an iron- Yes, you can still drive the golf ball without a driver. Tiger Woods made a 2-iron a popular choice off the tee which was then referred to as his “driving iron.” So if you are struggling with driving accuracy, perhaps try a 4 or 5 iron off the tee so that your ball can stay in play and give you a better look at the flagstick.

What driver do you need?

With new driver clubs coming out left and right, you might be wondering if there are specific drivers that may jumpstart your tee box skills. The quick answer is, yes! However, golfers need to understand what they need before just grabbing any old driver. The biggest advice I can give when purchasing a driver is to make sure you are using the correct driver flex. Using a shaft flex that is too stiff or flexible can cause problems with swing tempo and clubface control.

Follow this graph below as a quick guide towards which driver shaft you may need for your game. 

Swing Speed Driver Distance (yards) Drive Flex You Need
50-75 mph Under 175 Senior Flex or Ladies Flex
75-90 mph 175-225 Regular Flex (R)
90-105 mph 225-250 Stiff Flex (S)
105+ mph 250 + Extra Stiff Flex (X)

what does driving mean

Related Questions

What causes the golf ball to slice? – A slice is caused by spin added to the golf ball from the combination of an open clubface and a swing path that goes across the ball traveling outside of the target line on the takeaway and inside of the target line on the followthrough. The slice for a right-handed golfer makes the golf ball turn to the right. The slice for a left-handed golfer makes the golf ball turn to the left.

What is a topped golf ball?-  A topped ball is when the golfer hits the top part of the golf ball with the bottom portion of the clubface. This top of golf shot is most common in beginners who pick their head up too quickly when making a golf swing.

What causes the golf ball to travel further? – For a golf ball to travel further, a golfer needs to add clubhead speed and hit the center of the clubface at a square angle. The best way to practice making the golf ball travel further is with a slower swing speed focusing on square contact and then building speed as muscle memory increases.

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