The Art of Great Driving

Scott Sackett
Director of Instruction
McCormick Ranch Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ

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Whether one drives the ball long like Tiger Woods or relatively short like Corey Pavin, a reliable driving game seems to be a common denominator of all great champions. You cannot underestimate the importance of driving the ball well. A successful drive off the first tee sets a positive tone for the entire round, no matter what level player you are. Jack Nicklaus has even called it the most important shot of the day. Good driving puts you in an offensive position, whereas weak driving puts you in a defensive position.

• Grip pressure very relaxed (1-10), around 3 or 4 - The reason you want to grip the club light is ultimately it gives you more club head speed.  

• Hands further from the body - The reason this is important is because as your hands get further from the ball the swing arc will naturally be flatter.  

• Ball position off instep or big toe of left foot - By placing the ball forward in your stance it allows you to hit the ball on an ascending blow.  

• Square stance (feet parallel left at 12:00) - The best visualization for alignment is railroad tracks. The ball sits on the target line, which acts as the outside track, and your body runs parallel left of that on the inside track. 

• Front foot out up to 45 degrees - The more the left shoe is open the easier it is to rotate through impact.  

• Back foot 90 degrees to ball target line - If the right shoe is perpendicular to the target line it allows the body to be more coiled.  

• Assume a wider stance – feet as wide as shoulders - The wide base encourages a shallower swing and an elongated “flat spot” through the hitting area, which is ideal for accurate driving.  

• Weight on back foot 60/40 - When there is more weight on the back foot it allows the swing shape to be flatter

• Hands slightly behind the ball - With this position the grip will point approximately at your belt buckle. This is a position that you will see in all great drivers.

• Shoulders square at address - Because the ball is naturally further forward in your stance the shoulders will have a tendency of getting open. This becomes detrimental because if the shoulders are open to the stance line you will naturally take the club back on a steeper plane.

Scott Sackett, GOLF Magazine TOP 100 Teacher since 1997. Teaches at McCormick Ranch Golf Club in Scottsdale, along with being The Director of Instruction at Park Meadows CC in Park City, Utah from July through September. To get more information on lessons, visit Scott’s web site at To contact Scott personally you can e-mail him at