sky drives

In this exclusive video, Golf Monthly Top 25 Coach Rick Shiels offers four explanations for where do sky drives come from to help you swiftly fix the fault!

Sky Drives and Angle of Attack

The most common cause of skiy drives is perhaps not what you might expect. Watching your ball shoot straight up into the air might lead you to think that you are leaning back through impact. However, in my experience this is unlikely and the opposite is often true. If your angle of attack into the ball is too steep, the crown of the club will strike the ball sending it upwards. Take a look at these two pre-impact delivery positions. The left hand one causes the sky, the right hand one is the ideal upward angle of attack. To help resolve the issue, tilt your upper body away from the target a fraction at address. This works to ‘pre-set’ the ideal body position as you deliver the club through impact.

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Tee height

For anyone struggling with a sky, the first thing to check is how high you are teeing the ball. Modern tee pegs are long and some players have a tendency to use too much of that length as they set up for the drive. A good swing can result in a skied strike. The simple rule of thumb to follow here is that half the ball should be above the crown of the driver. Make sure you don’t fall into the trap of pegging the ball up too high!

How high to tee the ball

Ball position

Your next checkpoint is your ball position. It follows that if a steep angle of attack is to blame, your ball might be too far back at address. This is something that even the very best golfers in the world check regularly so you should too. With a driver in hand, it should be just inside your left heel.

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Swing path

If you are suffering with sky drives but also often hit slices and pulls, you will need to spend some time working on your swing path. This drill is a great one that prevents the ‘over-the-top’ motion as you start the downswing that sends the club on an out-to-in path through impact and makes the angle of attack too steep – all contributing to skied drives, slices and pulls. Place a golf club a foot in front of your ball aiming directly at the target. Now peg your ball up with the alignment mark pointing to the right of the club on the ground. The mark on the ball represents the path through impact you should be looking to recreate as you swing (the inset image here illustrates the path you should be aiming for). Use this as a helpful visual aid for the correct swing path. It might feel a little strange (and inaccurate at first) but the skied drives will stop and as you get used to the delivery position, the ball flights should become straighter and more powerful.

In his current role, Neil is responsible for testing drivers and golf balls. Having been a part of the Golf Monthly team for over 15 years and playing off a handicap of 3, he has the experience to compare performance between models, brands and generations. For 2022 he thinks the main trend in drivers is: "In a word, consistency. Whilst all the brands are talking about ball speed (and the new drivers are certainly long), my biggest finding has been how much more consistent the ball flights are. Mishits don't seem to be causing the same level of drop-off or increase in the spin numbers. This means that more shots seem to be flying the way you want them to!" As far as golf balls are concerned the biggest development is in the, "three piece, non-Tour, urethane-covered section. For regular golfers, these models offer superb performance at both ends of the bag without denting your wallet quite as much as the premium Tour-played options."

Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he is now the brand's Digital Editor and covers everything from Tour player interviews to gear reviews. In his time at Golf Monthly, he has covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points. 

Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSi2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X