1) Off-centre contact
Before we look at a couple of drills to help you optimise your driver spin, it’s worth noting that where you make contact on the face will have a huge bearing on how much spin you impart, with spin increasing or decreasing markedly depending on the point of impact.
So if you are creating too much spin with your driver off the tee – whether right, left, high or low – there may be issues you need to address in your swing to help you find the centre more consistently. Check where you are mostly making contact as you practise, then seek the advice of a PGA pro if it’s consistently away from the centre.
2) Ideal launch factors
If you want to launch the ball high with a minimum amount of spin, you need to groove your swing path so that it’s in-to-out over the target line with an upward angle of attack. Getting the driver coming in from the inside to the outside and hitting up on the ball will give you the best chance of that high-launch, low-spin combination which is the key to hitting really long drives.
3) Let sand tell the story
The first of our practice drills can be quite dramatic… if you get it wrong! Set up quite a pile of sand, then push a tee peg down through the middle and pop a ball on top – a little like they did in the old days, but with much more sand! The key then is to get the club moving from the inside, hitting up on the ball and clipping it off the top so that you disturb hardly any of the sand.
However, if you get it wrong and come in too steep, you will know all about it as you will hit ball, tee and sand, creating a big splash that tells you very clearly that you got it wrong at impact.
4) Visual reminders
My second drill is less dramatic and uses two clubs or alignment sticks that act as visual reminders of the ideal swing path. The one closest to me indicates an inside-to-outside path in relation to target; the other, just outside the ball propped up on a tee peg, highlights the target line, with the incline created by the tee peg reminding me that I’ve got to hit up on the ball.
Try to get your club moving just over the top of the inside alignment stick coming into impact, and then up through the ball.