Sometimes when people get their driver in their hands, they immediately go into whacking mode like they’re in a long drive competition, thinking only about how far they can sail the ball. There’s not necessarily any problem with this if you’re working out some tension on the driving range. But when you’re actually playing a round, boy oh boy does accuracy matter.
Consider, for a moment, the case of Davis Love III, who was, in his heyday, one of the longest drivers on the PGA tour (and he still averages around 300 yards off the tee). His father, Davis Love II, was a “highly regarded,” almost legendary, golf instructor who passed on some of his most effective drills to his son. And if you’ve read much about golf, you may have come across Love III’s famous 1997 instructional book, “Every Shot I Take,” where he wrote down every golf lesson from his father that he could remember, including a really useful one focusing on accuracy.
We’ve tested and adapted this drill to have maximum impact for the average weekend warrior. So get thee to a driving range, and work on your driving accuracy like a PGA pro.
Pro driving drill for accuracy
1. Grab a bucket of balls, set up at a spot where you can easily see the yardage markers, and pull out your driver.
2. Take a few practice swings to warm up, and then let one rip in your normal fashion (i.e., a full, powerful swing, trying for a shot that goes right down the middle). Repeat a couple of times and notice how it feels and where your ball ends up.
3. Pick a target that is only 100 yards away. Aiming for the 100-yard marker is ideal since you’ll have a solid visual of your target that way. Hitting a 100-yard target will require a very slow, mindful swing from your driver. Repeat this shot enough times so that you feel comfortable with the swing and you’re getting pretty good accuracy.
4. Next, move on to 125 or 150 yards (it’s a matter of your patience and preference) and repeat the process again, making sure to give yourself a solid visual target to hit. That old saying that “your aim goes where your eyes go” is no joke.
5. Keep up these repetitions, moving up by 25 or 50 yards each time, until you get up to the distance you were hitting at the beginning of the drill with your full, unbridled swing, making sure that you’re focusing on getting close to a specific target, not just fully whacking it.
The intent here is that, with practice, you’ll eventually be able make it back up to your full distance, while being able to keep a command over your accuracy as well. The experience of swinging a driver to only 100 yards will definitely make you slow down and really feel your swing path. This, combined with the repetition and slight adjustments, will teach you invaluable lessons about tempo and the shape of your swing.
If you want an even greater challenge, try hitting a couple practice swings and additional shots at each distance level with your eyes closed — that will really make you connect to the feel of each swing. Of course, this is much safer when you’re the only one on the range! Either way, although it may seem like a lot of work, both Davis Loves (the II and III) swore by this drill, and we love it as well.
— C. Pedroja