9 Tour Pro Driving Tips

Hit the ball longer and straighter with these nine tour pro driving tips

Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm hitting drives
(Image credit: Getty Images)

No matter the level you play at, it pays to be able to drive the ball well. Setting up short-iron approaches from the fairway more often than not is a surefire route to lower scores. It's one of the things tour players do so well. Sadly, for the rest of us, it's easier said than done. 

There's nobody better to learn from than the best players in the world, so here are a selection of nine tour pro driving tips that could steer you on your way to hitting the ball longer and straighter than ever...

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy hitting a drive during the 2022 RBC Canadian Open

(Image credit: Getty Images)

First and foremost, rhythm is very important. I don't think about it nowadays as it was drilled into me from a very early age, but if it's something you struggle with, I'd definitely recommend doing some work in this area. That doesn't mean it has to be slow but try and perfect your swing rhythm. Counting "one" and "two" to the top of the backswing and then "three" coming down into the hitting zone is a good place to start.

Balance is the other big thing. I still hold my finish just as I used to and it helps me stay in balance. Work on swinging through to the finish and holding the position. Over time, that'll help you hone a more balanced driver swing. 

Jon Rahm

Jon Rahm hitting a drive during the 2022 PGA Championship

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At set-up, I like to have around 60 per cent of my weight in my right leg. When you feel your right glute tighten slightly, that's when you know it is set so you can turn against it. 

In the backswing, let your big muscles do the work. Turn to the top feeling like you use your back and shoulders and don't think about your hands and arms - let them move how they want to. You should feel pressure on the inside of your right thigh. From the top, I can't stress enough how important it is to rotate your hips through impact. Picture a pole through the centre of your body and rotate around it from the top to the finish and you'll start hitting longer drives.

Dustin Johnson

Dustin Johnson hitting a drive during the 2022 LIV Golf Invitational London

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A lot of golfers straighten their right knee in the driver backswing, which can cause a reverse pivot. This makes it really difficult to square the face up at impact. Shorten your swing and correct your weight shift to create more power. To do this, work on maintaining a slight bend in your right knee all the way from address to the top of your backswing. 

As you take your club to the top, let your weight shift in to your right heel so you feel athletic and loaded with energy. Your swing will feel a little shorter but this is a good thing. In reality, you're getting rid of an artificially long backswing that actually saps power. 

Adam Scott

Adam Scott hitting a drive during a practice round for the 2022 US Open

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Tightening up your driver address position makes such a difference. For maximum rotation and speed creation, your hips need to tilt forwards at address. To do this, imagine you're trying to point your belt buckle towards the ball. Give it a try - you'll feel instantly more athletic.

In your takeaway, avoid lifting or snatching the club back. Instead, move your body and club as a single unit - that means you shoulders, chest, arms and hands all go together. This will help you stay on plane and control the clubface. In practice, I stop my swing and look back at the clubhead to make sure I'm happy with the arc it's travelling on.

Justin Rose

Justin Rose watches on after hitting a drive during the 2022 RBC Canadian Open

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Drives fly straight when you swing with good rhythm. Take the club back slowly so you can feel the segments of your backswing unfolding in succession. I even count them off sometimes. Swinging slowly allows your body and the club to reach the top at the same time, making your transition nice and smooth.

When you start back down, make sure to swing all the way through the ball. A lot of amateurs decelerate at or just after impact with a kind of chopping motion, which causes a slice. Imagine there's a second ball a few inches in front of the real one and try to 'hit' both. This ensures you swing properly through the hitting zone. A tip on how to increase your swing speed is to aim to reach top speed at the second ball.

Jason Day

Jason Day teeing off during the 2022 Wells Fargo Championship

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My tips on how to get more distance begin with making sure you line the ball up with the centre of the face. It sounds obvious, but even I misalign the club at address from time to time.

Swaying creates a lot of inconsistency at impact and takes away leverage. If you sway, set an alignment stick up against your trail hip and aim to turn inside it. This will give you a more stable platform from which to fire your body through impact. 

I see a lot of amateurs warm up before a round by swinging two irons together at the same time. All this does is train your body to move slower. Instead, grab an alignment stick and swing it as fast as you can 10 times before you tee off. The club will feel heavier afterwards but your body will have retained speed from the drill.

Sergio Garcia

Sergio Garcia hitting a drive during the LIV Golf Invitational London

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Growing up, I was always quite small, so I had to swing the club hard and fast to keep up. What this enabled me to do was develop good balance - that's one of the keys to my technique, and what allows me to shape the ball both ways.

Another fundamental I work on is ensuring my ball position is consistent. Staying on top of the basics is vital if you want to turn your driving into a strength. As for the swing itself, I would recommend making sure you don't take the club away too far on the inside, as this can cause a host of problems. 

Finally, if faced with a pressure tee shot that you need to hit straight, tee the ball down a little, nudge it back in your stance ever so slightly, and shorten your backswing. Keep a nice rhythm and you'll be able to hit the ball with less spin, making it easier to control.

Tommy Fleetwood

Tommy Fleetwood hitting a drive at the 2022 Porsche European Open

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Make sure the ball is positioned opposite your left heel and that your right shoulder sits below your left. Your stance should be wide but not too wide - a little wider than shoulder width is perfect. This will help you sweep the ball away on the up for a good combination of launch and spin.

As for the swing, you want it to be fluid, so keep your grip pressure quite light. From there, I'd recommend going to the range to hone a consistent tempo. Finally, a full finish is important because is shows complete commitment to the shot. Your body rotation should be complete with your chest and hips facing the target, and your weight should be over your left side.

Matt Fitzpatrick

Matt Fitzpatrick hitting a drive at the 2022 RBC Canadian Open

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The way your weight moves in the swing is extremely important. The trap you need to avoid is having big shifts from left to right, and vice versa. Keep your weight centred around your body at address and put a little weight on your right side in the backswing and transfer it to your left side on the way down. That's it - it should be a natural movement.

When it comes to the basics, the one you should check the most is alignment. It's so easy to creep into bad habits without realising. An alignment stick or club on the ground will help a little, but I'd recommend taking regular videos so you can check your whole body alignment.

A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.

Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.

As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.

What's in Andy's bag?

Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)

3-wood: TaylorMade M1 (15°)

Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)

Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1