Why You're Skying Your Driver And How To Fix It

In this video, Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach Alex Elliott explains how to stop skying your driver

PGA pro Alex Elliott hitting a drive on the Hills Course at Infinitum Golf Resort
(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

The best drivers are supposed to be a source of joy for golfers. After all, there are few better feelings than a sweetly struck tee shot that sails miles down the fairway. However, it can also cause angst if you're plagued by a tendency to sky the ball. In the video and article below, Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach Alex Elliott discusses why you're skying it and shares some simple tips that will help you fix the fault.

Tee height

One of the most common causes of this dreaded shot is your tee height. If you have the ball teed up too high, it is going to be sitting well above the top of the face at address, making it easier to go under the ball and make contact with the crown.

PGA pro Alex Elliott addressing two golf balls with his driver at Infinitum Golf Resort

The first thing to check is your tee height

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Get a friend or someone you golf with to check your tee height. If it is you are struggling with how high to tee up a driver and are skying the ball regularly, you need to lower it. I like to use the pink castle tee when I play as it keeps it consistent. You're aiming for roughly half the ball to sit above the face at address but don't be afraid to experiment and set your tee height lower if that works for your swing.

Angle of attack

The second common symptom of this shot is an over-the-top golf swing, where your hands are thrown out towards the golf ball in the downswing. This causes the angle of attack to be very steep and golfers therefore hit down on the ball, which makes it much harder to find the sweetspot and increases the likelihood of ballooning one into the air and leaving that nasty sky mark on the crown.

PGA pro Alex Elliott hitting a drive at Infinitum Golf Resort

Coming over the top leads to skying the ball

(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

Here's a simple drill that will help improve your angle of attack. If you are hitting down, it's vital to find a way to start feeling like you're sweeping the ball off the tee and hitting it on the up. Only then will you start to make more consistent contact and hit the ball further.

I always recommend having an external focus when practising. In this scenario and as you can see in the video above, I've ripped off a piece from a golf ball box and placed it roughly a clubhead behind my ball and just inside the target line. 

PGA pro Alex Elliott hitting a driver at Infinitum Golf Resort

Place something on the ground behind and just inside your target line and use it as a visual aid

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

The objective is simple: I want you feel like you brush it on the way back and, more importantly, as you swing down into impact. It might take a few sessions but you should notice your angle of attack improves and you stop skying the ball. 

It's something you can do easily at the range or even on the course using a bit of grass or a mark that might be noticeable on the tee. 

Alex Elliott
Top 50 Coach

Location: Mottram Hall 

Alex spent a great deal of time learning the game from fellow northwest golfer, Andrew Murray, who was a European Tour regular from 1979 to 1995. He spent three years on the European Tour caddying for Andrew’s son, Tom, before taking his PGA qualifications. His passion for the game and personality in front of the camera has helped him to create a thriving social media platform on Instagram and YouTube, where he offers a whole host of tips and advice to help viewers shoot lower scores.

Most significant influences on your teaching:

Mike Bender's book, 'Build The Swing Of A Lifetime', which I read during my PGA qualifications. He uses so many different tools to help students deliver the club better when hitting the golf ball. Andrew Murray, too. He helped form the way I interact with golfers and simplified what can be a complex game for a club golfer.

Advice for practice: 

I like to get students to work in sets of five golf balls – three drills shots to two course shots. The drill shots have no consequence, but with the two course shots, I ask the student to create a green or fairway and go through a full routine.

Greatest success story:

One of my students hadn’t played golf for ten years - he'd lost his love for the game. After watching my online Instagram and YouTube content, he came for several golf lessons and has now joined a local golf club. Knowing I've helped get someone back into golf... you can't beat that.