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Has ANYBODY ever overcome driver phobia?


BostonSal
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Former Hockey player and baseball player here who played some golf growing up and somewhat knew how to hit a golf ball raw but my drives always sliced right. Big banana fade. People would always say “you must have played hockey” didn’t realize my over the top move was that obvious. Fast forward to 2020 and me getting into golf and taking it serious to get to scratch (personal goal). I bought the fancy F9 driver that I literally used twice before the season started because I was scared of losing the ball OB off the tee every time. 2020 I only hit irons and 3 wood off the tee(Sporadically). Driver didn’t sniff an official round in 2020. I made it my goal to learn how to hit my driver without any fear in 2021 off season. I hit golf balls 4-5 times a week and focused on driver a lot of time as I was getting over the fear of the driver. At first learning how on my own was tough cuz I didn’t know where to start, then finally I decided to try what most people on here are telling you “change your swing path” and shallowed it out and I started seeing my ball go right to left which I’ve never seen in my life before with a driver. I was working on it and seeing the results where now my miss was a duck hook instead of a 80 yard slice. Which now I’m starting to work my driver back to a slight fade and I couldn’t be happier that I can adjust my driver because before less than a year ago I was lost. And now it’s become my favorite club in the bag. Keep working on it and trust the changes even when you’re not making solid contact. Trial and error of course and a lot of money of range balls and drivers (F9, Mavrik SZ, and now my trusty SIM2) sorry to keep going but shafts also make a huge difference too! Hope this helps. 

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Go to the Goodwill store, and buy an old persimmon driver from the 70's or 80's.  Tee it up, hit it at the range about a dozen times, then go with that big bulbous 460 cc driver.  The benefits should be obvious, whether your attack angle is good or not.  Just my two cents worth

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18 hours ago, Tom the Golf Nut said:

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.   

Pretty much the same for me. One lesson solved this for me.

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1 hour ago, Fenix said:

Pretty much the same for me. One lesson solved this for me.

Same here. Range session with a few single digit buddies this summer got me straightened away almost immediately, to the point where I couldn't believe how easy the tips were that got me hitting driver successfully. 

Now I just need to remember those tips over the winter!!

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19 hours ago, Shapotomous said:

@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.  

 

The intentional bananas come when I make a very exaggerated inside out (hook) or over the top (slice) swing to purposely hit one around a corner.

That's very easy albeit not very controlled.

When I try to hit driver straight, It's less of a banana than a dead push or pull, but it could be either one. The club decides.

And when you hit the ball as far as a driver goes, it doesn't take much of an angle of deflection to go way off target. The same angle of deflection leaves you in the first cut with the 3-wood and on the side of the fairway with the driving iron.   

Finding the ball in a place where you can hit it again

is better than going deep, but deep into futility.

 

I can't hit a 460cc river at all without teeing the ball much higher than I like (which is with very little if any tee shaft visible beneath the tee's cup)

and playing it much more forward in my stance that I like.  So in that circumstance, I have to be hitting up at it.  I hate doing that.

 

There's no need for me to hit the big driver at all playing from forward tees with other seniors.

I just don't like not being able to hit.  

 

 

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17 hours ago, BostonSal said:

I can't hit a 460cc river at all without teeing the ball much higher than I like (which is with very little if any tee shaft visible beneath the tee's cup)

and playing it much more forward in my stance that I like.  So in that circumstance, I have to be hitting up at it.  I hate doing that.

 

There's no need for me to hit the big driver at all playing from forward tees with other seniors.

I just don't like not being able to hit.  

They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks. You can if the dog will listen. You know you have to tee it higher but you just hate doing that. You have no choice with a club head that big if you want to hit the sweet spot. You don't have to play it further forward it just needs to be in line with the inside of your left heel (If your right handed). If you want to hit the big driver you have to adapt. 

If I play the ball further up in my stance than I should I get a large fade. That is based on my swing path. I pretty much hit a dead straight tee shot. But I have to watch my ball placement in my stance. If it creeps up then the ball goes right. That's because I'm past my being square zone and into the start of my follow through. As an experiment try hitting the ball in the location that you would for your 3 wood as a start and see what happens. But yes you have to tee it higher.  

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I realize I might be a bit late to the party based on the number of responses, but here's my two cents.

It sounds as if you've boxed yourself into just one way of hitting driver when in fact there are a number of ways to play driver and a number of driver specs you can combo with it.

You like to hit down? Plenty of high-level players hit down with their driver, and I have had success with it as well. Would I prefer an upward AoA? Sure, but what's more important is that I get the ball in play and I can accomplish that just fine. I'm even able to hit driver off the deck on occasion. It doesn't always work out, but just like anything else in golf it's a skill that needs to be practiced.

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On 12/7/2021 at 7:33 AM, russtopherb said:

Same here. Range session with a few single digit buddies this summer got me straightened away almost immediately, to the point where I couldn't believe how easy the tips were that got me hitting driver successfully. 

Now I just need to remember those tips over the winter!!

Thankfully I don't worry about the winter months here, we play year round 🙂 

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On 12/6/2021 at 11:10 PM, Micah T said:

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.

image.png

Was going to share this too!

@BostonSal don’t feel like you have to tee it up and swing up. Plenty of guys make due with a descending blow to some degree. 
 

will you be giving up yards? Probably, but it will still likely be longer than your driving iron. 
 

next time you’re at the range try teeing it lower and swinging how you want to. You might need to adjust your settings if it’s adjustable, or work with positioning in your hand, but I’ve seen plenty of “unique” swings hit the ball with a driver so I have no doubt you can too!

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On 12/7/2021 at 8:11 PM, BostonSal said:

The intentional bananas come when I make a very exaggerated inside out (hook) or over the top (slice) swing to purposely hit one around a corner.

That's very easy albeit not very controlled.

When I try to hit driver straight, It's less of a banana than a dead push or pull, but it could be either one. The club decides.

And when you hit the ball as far as a driver goes, it doesn't take much of an angle of deflection to go way off target. The same angle of deflection leaves you in the first cut with the 3-wood and on the side of the fairway with the driving iron.   

Finding the ball in a place where you can hit it again

is better than going deep, but deep into futility.

 

I can't hit a 460cc river at all without teeing the ball much higher than I like (which is with very little if any tee shaft visible beneath the tee's cup)

and playing it much more forward in my stance that I like.  So in that circumstance, I have to be hitting up at it.  I hate doing that.

 

There's no need for me to hit the big driver at all playing from forward tees with other seniors.

I just don't like not being able to hit.  

I just got a 13 degree wishon driver 919 thi built at 44 inch long, used from ebay, I had a similar problem to you in the fact I struggled to find the fairway with a driver, mine was 9 degrees and cut to 44" but I felt that I had to go after it to get the ball flying high and although I hit it 260 to 270 yards 5 out of 10 I found trouble.

I took the new  13 degree Wishon driver to the range today and hit half a bucket with it just to test it. I did not go after it, I just hit within myself and all I can say is that almost all the shots would find the fairway of a golf corse  easily on a golf course, they carried the 200meter marker but they were range balls so distance is subjective but the driver was easier for me to control and the extra loft made it extra forgiving on dispersion. It is ok hitting it longer but longer into the rough is useless. On Monday I will take it to trackman and go after it and then I will have some good numbers that I can work with. The initial testing is very promising. 250 yards in the fairway will do me everytime.

Edited by Grasper Parsnip
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On 12/6/2021 at 12:09 PM, BostonSal said:

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.

 

 

 

Then why not use it?  It could simply be that because of your swing speed and AoA the best fitting "driver" for you has more loft and a shorter shaft.  It's still a driver.  I got fit a number of years ago by the guy who fit Sergio for a driver at 43.5".  He told me that everyone thought Sergio was giving up distance for control because of the shorter shaft.  Actually, the fitter told me, he was gaining distance because his hands were so fast a heavier and shorter shaft allowed him to square the face better at a faster swing speed - at the time it was maximizing both distance and control.

 

For most players the large head gives better forgiveness - doesn't mean it works for everyone.

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I’ve felt your driver pain. Finally went to Club Champion and was amazed how much using such a service could do. Was hitting a Titleist TS1 because I thought my slower swing speed dictated that head with an Air Speeder shaft. Guy put me in a Tsi4 with a 9 degree head, versus the 10.5 (have no problem getting ball up) I was playing using my same shaft and picked up 10+ yards. Head a little smaller than the other TSi heads, weight is moved forward that dramatically reduces spin and while the 4 is supposed to not be as forgiving as other heads, I found dispersion pattern best with the 4. I would have never considered the 4 just using the Titleist website describe who that head was best suited for. I thought fitting was a little voodoo (mainly because previous fittings were manufacturer oriented)  but this made me a believer that there are clubs that fit you better than others and it may not always be obvious. 

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Google “Hank Haney Driver Yips”

 

you are not the Lone Ranger here. I struggle with it but poster above had great tip-

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.  

 

I’ll add trying to relax and quit staring at the ball  Let the supercomputer find the ball as it will-    Your BRAIN   good luck  try above and know there is a fix…

 

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Steve 

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Stay away from the deep face drivers that are about 60 mm face height.  Use a shaft that is about 55 +/- grams in weight, makes it easier to swing.  An undersize grip will help to rotate wrists to hit the ball with a little draw.  A face height of about 54 mm is more appealing and easier to control.  And no need to have the length longer than 45".

See a local small club repair shop or clubmaker like myself to help with your golf club and swing needs.

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On 12/6/2021 at 12:40 PM, cnosil said:

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.  

Sound advice!

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On 12/6/2021 at 11:40 AM, 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.

 

 

 

 

Nothing requires you to play a 46” driver or any specific loft. You can easily order a shorter length driver.

two options

1) take lessons to learn to hit up on driver

2) get fit and let the fitting determine length, loft, weight, specific shaft that works for your swing as is

On 12/6/2021 at 12:09 PM, BostonSal said:

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.

 

 

 

Nothing says one has to hit up on driver or tee it high. For some swing speeds getting a positive angle of attack will help increase distance but that doesn’t mean one needs to hit up.

One of my friends is an older golfer who likes to see the old ball flight of a low launching ball that steadily climbs. He played his tee low and had a slight downward angle and it didn’t negatively impact his distance.  He also just played whatever stock length for driver was and played his preferred loft. 

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23 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

Nothing requires you to play a 46” driver or any specific loft. You can easily order a shorter length driver.

two options

1) take lessons to learn to hit up on driver

2) get fit and let the fitting determine length, loft, weight, specific shaft that works for your swing as is

Nothing says one has to hit up on driver or tee it high. For some swing speeds getting a positive angle of attack will help increase distance but that doesn’t mean one needs to hit up.

One of my friends is an older golfer who likes to see the old ball flight of a low launching ball that steadily climbs. He played his tee low and had a slight downward angle and it didn’t negatively impact his distance.  He also just played whatever stock length for driver was and played his preferred loft. 

Exactly!  Most people were told that you have to tee it high and hit up with a driver; myself included, which is why I typically have +5º AoA.  However, my miss is typically low on the club face because my tendency is to drop my right shoulder in the downswing to "hit up".  When I focus on keeping it level, I make better contact.

On our many mounds if I am on a rather steep upslope, hitting driver off the deck isn't really a problem, and sometimes necessary to keep the ball low and under tree branches!  This weekend Bubba and Leishman hit driver off the deck with much better results than I do!!

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We don’t stop playing the game because we get old; we get old because we stop playing the game.”

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You've got to find one that works.  I played a 2 iron for my 2 years of high school golf and it definitely never really hurt me.  My uncle passed and I inherited his old GBB Hawkeye driver and one day it just kind of clicked. I was able to hit down on that driver and still get distance (I was young and strong and didn't know anything about AoA, spin characteristics, etc.). That thing would literally spark from time to time and it was a pretty cool effect.  Over time as I practiced more, read a lot of Golf Digest articles and watched TV, it just became natural.

Granted, the driver is still the reason why I either score or don't score on any given day.  I live by the motto "Long and Wrong." If I'm in the fairway, I'm going to be hitting a ton of wedges into a lot of holes. If I'm spraying it, lots of punches and penalty strokes.  

Try exaggerating the set up (weight in your heels, high front shoulder, etc.) and let it rip for about 20 swings. Just try to knock the snot out of it and have some fun. You never know, something might just click like it did for me. 🙂

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51 minutes ago, Rtracymog said:

You've got to find one that works.  I played a 2 iron for my 2 years of high school golf and it definitely never really hurt me.  My uncle passed and I inherited his old GBB Hawkeye driver and one day it just kind of clicked. I was able to hit down on that driver and still get distance (I was young and strong and didn't know anything about AoA, spin characteristics, etc.). That thing would literally spark from time to time and it was a pretty cool effect.  Over time as I practiced more, read a lot of Golf Digest articles and watched TV, it just became natural.

Granted, the driver is still the reason why I either score or don't score on any given day.  I live by the motto "Long and Wrong." If I'm in the fairway, I'm going to be hitting a ton of wedges into a lot of holes. If I'm spraying it, lots of punches and penalty strokes.  

Try exaggerating the set up (weight in your heels, high front shoulder, etc.) and let it rip for about 20 swings. Just try to knock the snot out of it and have some fun. You never know, something might just click like it did for me. 🙂

I think if I want to hit a large displacement driver, I need to find a slightly shorter and more shallow faced one like the Tour Edge E522.

By appearance, at least, that one has promise.  I think I could get away with hitting down at it because I don't want to deal with a special "driver swing."

I

 

 

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I’m learning stack and tilt . With that you keep the ball in same place whatever club you’re swinging.

plus you don’t need to hit up on the driver either.

never manipulate your golf club while swinging.

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