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Has ANYBODY ever overcome driver phobia?


BostonSal
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The bulbous, 460cc driver, particularly on an unweildy 46" shaft, has always been a nightmare for me.

 

The basic problem is that you can't hit down and through it as with a normal fairway wood shot.

The ball must be teed high, almost to the point of being a "ball above feet" sidehill lie from the tee.

The ball must be placed more forward in the stance and be hit slightly on the upswing.

You're almost standing in a different zipcode with the huge shaft.

And finally, because the lie angle is adjusted to allow for droop with the long shaft, you have to address the ball with the club's toe pointing to the sky.

 

I know that I can't be the first one to find all of these things disconcerting.

I have to assume that others have faced the same concerns but found a way to overcome them.

 

Now to be honest, using  a faiway wood / driving iron tandem off the tee doesn't really hurt me.

I'm not playing from the tips at my age.

The other geriatric seniors with whom I play aren't exactly bombing their drivers past my fairway wood tee shot.

I'm rarely the guy hitting first from the fairway.

 

Still, not hitting the driver is avoiding a part of the game that should be played.

I try to hit driver on a couple of wide open holes.  Sometimes I find the ball and sometimes I don't.

I can hit a big banana in either direction, but if I try to hit it straight, 

I'm essentially letting the club choose the direction of the banana,

 

If anybody out there ever found the driver to be a scorecard saboteur, 

avoided hitting it,

but then discovered a way to overcome it,

I'm all ears.

 

It just doesn't appear to be a normal golf shot to me.

Swing that way at any other club and you get a dead top hitting the ball on the upswing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ok I'll bite. Why does it have to be 46"? Why not play a 12* driver if loft could be a issue for you depending on what spin profile you may need? I have had my good days and bad days, but in the end its the largest face you can buy and therefore in some cases the most forgiving (at least at being able to find the face). I know many more who have bigger issues with woods or driving irons vs a driver. 

There is no rule saying you have to play this club or that club, but in the end if it isn't comfortable for your game then it is simple that you don't have to game it. I know you have said previously that you prefer smaller heads in drivers and you consider a driver to be a much smaller head profile then the newer 460 cc versions that are currently common if not universal. There are 430 cc models and even the mini driver from TM which for some had some success. 

In the end play what works. I personally don't find the newer drivers that big and I don't mind playing a 45" driver and even though I have had my struggles at times I still go back to it because I like using driver. I don't find moving the ball forward in my stance a hindrance and understand the mechanics of why it should be there for optimal launch. 

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21 minutes ago, GolfSpy_APH said:

Ok I'll bite. Why does it have to be 46"? Why not play a 12* driver if loft could be a issue for you depending on what spin profile you may need? I have had my good days and bad days, but in the end its the largest face you can buy and therefore in some cases the most forgiving (at least at being able to find the face). I know many more who have bigger issues with woods or driving irons vs a driver. 

There is no rule saying you have to play this club or that club, but in the end if it isn't comfortable for your game then it is simple that you don't have to game it. I know you have said previously that you prefer smaller heads in drivers and you consider a driver to be a much smaller head profile then the newer 460 cc versions that are currently common if not universal. There are 430 cc models and even the mini driver from TM which for some had some success. 

In the end play what works. I personally don't find the newer drivers that big and I don't mind playing a 45" driver and even though I have had my struggles at times I still go back to it because I like using driver. I don't find moving the ball forward in my stance a hindrance and understand the mechanics of why it should be there for optimal launch. 

My problem is in not being able to hit down on the ball as I normally would. 

I can play a pretty parachute ball from foward in my stance with a 9-iron.

The contrived, exaggerated follow through to keep the swing on path that far forward is easy with a 36" shaft.

 

Playing a driver that way is for some reason a problem. The ball being teed high is a problem.  

And positioning a ball in a more comfortable position in the stance means you can't hit a tiny bit up at it.

 

I actually have the new TM 307cc 13.5º driver and can hit it much better than a big driver.

That isn't the point.  It's not just about the effect on the golf game. It's beyond that.

 

It's more about figuring out the modern driver for the sake of doing so.  Overcoming a problem that others don't seem to have.

All that I'm looking for here is to see if anybody else had the same problems and found a way to overcome it.

If not, so be it, but there's no harm in asking.

 

 

 

Edited by BostonSal

 

 

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I let my driver live rent free in my head, as they say, for a while.  I was overthinking it.  Played the mini-driver, as you say you have, for a while for confidence.  Curious if I was missing out on any yardage, I used driver on the widest open holes....then snuck it back in more and more.  

 

Just my experience.....good luck.

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28 minutes ago, BostonSal said:

 

It's more about figuring out the modern driver for the sake of doing so.  Overcoming a problem that others don't seem to have.

 

The simple answer is…practice.  We know you wouldn’t do that until April and then you would just play instead.   The only way to get better with any aspect of your game is devoting time to learning the skill.  With your hitting it only a couple of times a round you probably won’t get better.  

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About 7 years ago I was having issues with the driver. Now it's pretty much one of my favorite clubs in the bag. What changed. First I asked a Pro to look at my driver swing on a trackman. He made two suggestions and my results were immediate. I mean immediate. Six swings later the numbers were in line of what they should be and everything was straight. A  good pro will look at your particular swing and get you on track.  Second was to have a driver fit for me. I knew I wanted the G400 head and left the rest up to the fitter. Now I don't care how tight a fairway is I know I will be in it.   

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In the end, that's my answer.

Our pro isn't there just to sell polos and caps.

I'll have to bite the bullet and spring for a lesson or two.

I've done it before with sand shots, and it helped then.

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Change your concept and change your result.  

Quit thinking/obsessing about hitting the ball.  

The low point of your swing doesn't change that much (if at all) from your irons, fairway woods and driver.  On your irons, you are not "hitting down" on the ball.  The low point of your swing is past the ball, so you are catching the ball before your swing bottoms out.  On fairway woods, the low point is even with or just behind the ball, so you are catching the ball when the club is moving level through the hitting area.  On the driver, your low point is still near the middle of your stance but well being the ball, so the club is moving up when you catch the ball.  

 

Place your attention on the low point of your swing (not the ball) and swing away.   

 

A few things to try on the range to help shift your focus away from the ball:

 

1.  Instead of looking at the ball, look at a spot on the ground in the middle of your stance (low point of swing) along your swing path.  Swing over that spot and catch the ball as the club starts up.  Transition into doing this and hitting balls with your eyes closed.  

 

2.  Try the "clip the tee" drill.  This works especially well on a range with the large, rubber tees.  Don't use a ball.  Set up like you would with your driver.  Start swinging small, with your attention on the low point of your swing.  Swing back and forth without stopping and feel the bottom of the club clip the rubber tee. Gradually lengthen your swing to your full swing. You can also do this with your eyes closed after just a little bit of practice. 

 

The full drill is as follows:  1.  Set up and swing back and forth to feel the club clip the tee as above.  Build up a good rhythm and balance.  Stop and repeat two more times.  2.  Set up and swing a full swing clipping the tee, no ball.  Repeat once or twice.  3.  Set up with a ball and swing the same as in step two.  4.  Repeat step 1.

 

3.  On the range, alternate driver and wedge.  Hit each shot to a target.  Go through full routine on all shots.  Place your attention on the low point of each swing.  

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3 hours ago, BostonSal said:

The bulbous, 460cc driver, particularly on an unweildy 46" shaft, has always been a nightmare for me.

 

The basic problem is that you can't hit down and through it as with a normal fairway wood shot.

The ball must be teed high, almost to the point of being a "ball above feet" sidehill lie from the tee.

The ball must be placed more forward in the stance and be hit slightly on the upswing.

You're almost standing in a different zipcode with the huge shaft.

And finally, because the lie angle is adjusted to allow for droop with the long shaft, you have to address the ball with the club's toe pointing to the sky.

 

I know that I can't be the first one to find all of these things disconcerting.

I have to assume that others have faced the same concerns but found a way to overcome them.

 

Now to be honest, using  a faiway wood / driving iron tandem off the tee doesn't really hurt me.

I'm not playing from the tips at my age.

The other geriatric seniors with whom I play aren't exactly bombing their drivers past my fairway wood tee shot.

I'm rarely the guy hitting first from the fairway.

 

Still, not hitting the driver is avoiding a part of the game that should be played.

I try to hit driver on a couple of wide open holes.  Sometimes I find the ball and sometimes I don't.

I can hit a big banana in either direction, but if I try to hit it straight, 

I'm essentially letting the club choose the direction of the banana,

 

If anybody out there ever found the driver to be a scorecard saboteur, 

avoided hitting it,

but then discovered a way to overcome it,

I'm all ears.

 

It just doesn't appear to be a normal golf shot to me.

Swing that way at any other club and you get a dead top hitting the ball on the upswing.

 

 

 

 

I do not know what loft of driver you are using but if it is aroud 10 degrees, you could try going up to 13 degrees loft, then you  wouldnt feel as though you had to hit up on the ball as much.   Maybe also use a shorter shaft in the driver too, 44" or even 43", you would have to add some weight to the driver head to keep the swingweight as you are used to. I am sure that the club pro would only be too happy to help you with any alterations.

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I struggled when drivers started getting really large as well.  I was just settling into a 300cc head 12 degrees at 44" when everyone else was moving to 460cc.  When I finally did get to 460cc I had 11* and 44.5" and it was relatively heavy.  Two years ago I played 45" and last year I was at 45.75"...still might go back to 45".  I had to adjust my setup for the driver with the ball teed more forward and I also try to get my shoulders tilted more (right shoulder lower than left assuming a righty).  I try to feel like I'm swinging a bit flatter too.  Definitely something you need to hit the range and experiment with and getting a lesson probably wouldn't hurt.  I would much rather hit driver now since they are so large and forgiving.  I only club down on the doglegs that I might run through with driver.  If the driver isn't working I have TM Original One Mini 13.5* that still works really well.  I don't carry it as far as the driver, but it's so low spin that it runs out almost as far.  Might be a good stepping stone to a larger driver assuming the low spin works for you.  Or maybe try to find an older driver 300-400 cc to start with.    

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My 10.5° is set +.5° and my shaft is at 44.5".  You'd be surprised at how many pro's hit drivers between 44" and 45".

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I am confused in your comment in hitting down on the ball with your driver.  My pro has taught me to tilt and hit in an upward motion.  I play a TSI3, 10.75* with a Fujikura Speeder Tour Rated S shaft, standard length.  If I were to hit down on the ball like I would with an iron or hybrid I could not achieve the distances nor accuracy that I do.   I guess that I am just an old man of 75 and do not understand you concept of hitting the driver.  I have seen some of my buddies hit the ball that way off the tee and they are literally all of over the place and they wonder why at my age I blow my drive in the air by them and I am ten years plus older than they are.  When my game is on I can get 265+ our of the driver.  Am sure it is the equipment, but I do have a good golf pro/coach/instructor.  Just saying with respect.  Every head of tee it high and let it fly.  It works.  😃    

  

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I'm the same way.  I never did get used to a 460cc head and tried several brands over five years to try and change that.  But 460cc was not the problem.  The 46" shaft was along with the off the shelf specs that came with the shaft name.  I did end up "dropping" to a 440cc TM 2017 M1 but that was probably more psychological than anything else.  The "aha" moment was finding the right shaft with the flex,  torque, and ball flight that fit my needs and getting it to the right length a half inch at a time (started at 46")  I ended  up at 44".  It took a fitting and a Trackman to get there but at least now I'm not collecting drivers and a pile for different shafts and I have a game I can play off a drive from the fairway and usually be the last to hit in.

GPS111

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Yes...major problems that led me to move to a square driver for a long time but the problems continued until I was hitting 40 yard slices with pretty much the (square) driver only.  I took lessons when getting back into golf after lockdown.  Once my set up was adjusted by the pro things really straightened out and I gained lots of distance thru decent ball flight.  Set up amendments were:

1, Ball position on front big toe.

2. tilt shoulders upward.

3. head position behind ball and stays there throughout swing.

4. really concentrate on keeping swing shallow & club laid off at top of backswing with 'flat' wrist.

Obviously the above might not translate to your issues but getting an initial lesson to see how you get on with the pro might be useful.

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BostonSal, Six months ago I could have written your post. I feel your desperation, I know your frustration.

I was just not able to fix my driver, due to what I felt was the size and length - but I was wrong. It was much more what you are sensing. It is a different setup, different aim, and different swing - It just took me years to put it all together.

Took several PGA lessons - that didn't fix anything.

Talked to scratch golfer friends - they were no help.

Tried several small heads, and have a basement full of strong 3 woods and mini-drivers, TM, Callaway, Wishon, which I hit fine, but ...

I would never played more than a 44 in driver - thinking it was a length thing. I even have some drivers with steel shafts thinking that it was a weight thing. - Nope.

Like you, I don't struggle for distance, my 3 wood is out their with the other guy's drives. But I always kept trying to go back to my driver and it would work for a short time, then end, in a flameout of mostly hooks of death. My fear of hitting the driver was so high that I knew I must do something more.

Here is what finally worked:

I used a. alignment rod, stuck it it in the ground 10 to 15 ft in front of me, on my line. It was very clear that I was visualizing the target to be left of that line - Step 1. retrain my eyes so that they know where to aim when I am standing so far away from the ball.

I then realized that my normal swing was not optimal for the driver and made some modifications. First, I really try to swing with my lower body. I think I get away with a more upper body dominated swing with my irons, but it just caused havoc with the driver. Second, I swing what feels 'low' when I go back, then I try to only swing up. While this feels short, it is likely not, and it is a very simple swing. Third, I really try to feel my hands and make sure they are flowing through the ball and up, not around. Fourth, I bought some face impact stickers and use them all the time. Hitting the center of the driver face is the most important thing, as missing it causes your ball to go off line!

These changes have allowed me to move back to a 45 in driver, Callaway Epic Max LS, and I am hitting the ball a mile without hardly trying. Of course that is key, I can manhandle my 3 wood - hit punches, hit high cuts, hit draws, but I don't do that with the driver. I just aim straight and it either slightly fades or draws, whatever, I don't care. My confidence is back, I am bombing it, and loving that my driver now goes 40yds farther than my 3-wood and my 3-wood is still out there with the other old-fart golfers.

I am 58 and a 7 handicap. Was an with my driver woes.

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STOP trying to hit down on the ball and learn to do it the right wat. hitting UP on the ball with the driver. NOT a problem if you just get a large bucket of range balls and hit ALL of them with your driver. One bucket of balls should be all it takes to solve your problem. And a 44-44-1/2 inch driver would be my advice as well. 

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@BostonSal

I wouldn't obsess with swinging 'up' if it doesn't work for you & your driver.  If swinging 'down' works better for you then get a 12* driver so it helps get some air time, choke down on the grip and go for it.  And you don't have to have a driver head the size of a shoebox on the end of the shaft either, get a smaller size that you feel comfortable with.  You might want to experiment with a stiffer flex shaft too to lessen the droop.  What else do you have to do golf wise in the Jan/Feb New England winter than experiment with clubs in a warm trackman bay?!?!  👍  😁

Do the left and right banana balls happen when you are trying to swing 'up' or when you swing 'down' ?  

When I want to hit a stinger with my driver I choke down on the grip, tee it low, swing down and get a nice line drive that if conditions are right will roll a long way.  I've even been known to take a slight divot doing that and yeah...i get some funny looks and comments while repairing it.  😆  

I've recently seen an LPGA coach talk about some players staying with a more natural & accurate swing down and through with their driver because they sprayed it into trouble trying to swing up.  

 

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You’re absolutely right, taking driver out of play isn’t a good idea. It’s always a good idea to experiment and it’s difficult to know what you’re doing correctly and incorrectly. But remember, you usually get what you pay for. Go get a lesson with a pro who uses GCQuad/Trackman and video. Then get out on the range and get to work.

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You are not alone. As a teen, I had H&B 2 and 3 woods. Loved that 2 wood. When I finally got a driver, I often overswung, and never hit it as well as the 2 wood. Swing whatever you can hit well.

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You can hit down on the ball with your driver and still be successful. There are ideal launch conditions for every  combination of swing speed, AoA, and launch angle.

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