Over the last several years, I have had to accept that I am going to be the shortest player in most foursomes. Not height wise, distance wise. I can stay in the fairway but my driver rarely goes over 230 or 240 yards. It can be frustrating at times and leaves me wondering what my score would be if I could actually hit my driver 250 or 260. So, why is it that some people cannot hit a driver over 240 yards?
For most golfers, the fact that they cannot hit the driver over 240 yards has nothing to do with strength, age, length of swing or equipment. It has everything to do with spin rate. If you are a golfer that seems to hit a ball that fades or slices out to the right and has side spin, you are hitting the ball with much too high of a spin rate. Those with a steep swing and a high lofted driver find the spin rate for their driver to be close to 4000 rpm or higher. If you are hitting the golf ball with a spin rate of 4000 rpm or higher, you are not going to hit it straight nor far.
So, why is this the case? Spin rate is determined by angle of descent/ascent into the ball, loft launch angle and speed of a swing. If you have a steep swing and come in at -15 degrees and you hit the ball at a launch angle of 25 degrees that is a total of 40 degrees of spin loft. This means you will have a ton of side spin on the ball. Those that hit the ball a long way have a spin loft as close to 0 as possible. You’ve probably played with someone that hits their driver and it seems to roll forever. You may land your ball in the same spot but his is 30 or 40 yards ahead of you when you drive up to it in the fairway. This is because he has very little sidespin and a lot of top spin on his ball. You probably have side spin.
This is what a player with a ton of side spin on their ball looks like at impact:
You can watch this video to learn more:
So, why is it that I hit it 230 or 240? I have a very steep swing and a high lofted driver. This is a recipe for disaster. Ideally, with a steep swing, you should have a low lofted driver or come into the ball with no loft. When I hit my driver the best, it is when I forward press and get my hands way in front of the ball.
Almost all golf coaches will tell you that your hands need to be behind the ball and you need to swing up with your driver. If you do this with a steep swing, you are going to hit a 210 yard slice every single time. No matter where you hit the ball on the driver club face you are not going to get any yardage out of it. If you struggle with a weak fade or slice, do not hit up on the ball. Get your hands in front of the ball and try to keep your launch angle as low as possible. You will hit it much better and further.
The good news is those that those with a steep swing can be deadly with their wedges. All that spin you create is amazing for a 60 degree or 52 degree wedge. Instead of trying to get 20 or 30 yards of distance with your driver, work on hitting the ball closer with your wedges. I promise you can shoot in the mid 70s hitting a drive of 230 yards. I do it every single weekend.
If you want to shallow out your swing or hit your driver better with a steep swing, try getting your back shoulder lower at impact and getting your hands in front of the ball. I forward press before taking the club back which allows me to keep the angle throughout the entire swing.