Step By Step Guide To The Driver Set-Up

Getting the set-up basics right will give you a much better chance of hitting the ball longer and straighter off the tee

PGA pro Katie Rule demonstrating good driver set-up and impact positions
(Image credit: Future)

Distance off the tee isn’t everything but it certainly helps. The best drivers don't have much loft so it’s important that you get into a set-up position that will encourage you to hit up on the ball, creating the optimal driver launch angle

So what is hitting up? I like to think of it in tennis or table-tennis terms. With a drive, you want to feel like you are hitting a topspin shot where the club will travel from low to high through the ball. 

To do that, a lot of the conditions can be preset in the driver address position, which is why it is so important to regularly check yours. Here are my top tips on what to look out for...

Shoulder angle

PGA pro Katie Rule demonstrating a handy drill to hone a good shoulder angle in your driver address position

Hold a club like this to practise setting the most efficient shoulder angle

(Image credit: Future)

To help hit up on the ball make sure your shoulder angle is pointing up to the sky in the set-up. If your shoulders are pointing down at the ground this could cause you to sky the ball or hit a slice. It may feel odd at first but really feel like you are going to launch it into the air.

Stance width

How wide should your stance be? Well, it depends on the club you're hitting. Your stance is your base, and with the driver - the longest club - you need stability. Therefore, it should be slightly wider than with your fairway woods or slightly wider than your shoulders if that's easier. 

PGA pro Katie Rule demonstrating how wide your stance should be with driver

Your stance should be slightly wider than your shoulders with driver

(Image credit: Future)

This wider stance encourages you to hit up, while a narrow stance encourages you to hit down. So get nice and wide and give yourself the best chance of launching the ball.

Grip pressure

This is a part of the set-up that isn’t talked about enough and can have a huge impact on how you hit your driver. It's all well and good having the perfect golf grip, but if you're holding the club too tight, the tension in your hands, arms and shoulders could slow the club down as you swing. 

PGA pro Katie Rule holding a toothpaste tube to show how it can help you hone a light grip pressure

Imagine you're holding a tube of toothpaste to keep your grip pressure nice and light

(Image credit: Future)

Instead, imagine you’re holding some toothpaste and your job is to make sure none of it gets squeezed out. Alternatively, practise what it feels like to grip the club with different levels of pressure on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the tightest) and aim for around 4.

Stay behind it

PGA pro Katie Rule showing a good (left) and bad (right) impact position

A good impact position (left) and a bad impact position (right)

(Image credit: Future)

When you reach the impact position, you want to feel that your body is behind the ball (like a topspin shot or throwing a ball high) as opposed to smothering it. In the pictures you can see the difference in my head position. 

To hit up, you need to feel like your body is behind the ball as you swing. To help with this, practise throwing something up into the air from your set-up position and you’ll soon feel the difference. 

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