Four-time European Tour winner Matt Wallace discusses his impressive driving and what you can learn from his technique
Matt Wallace Driving Tips: How To Hit It Long And Straight
Last year, in only his second full-season on tour, Matt Wallace won three times, finished 10th on the Race to Dubai and fared well in nearly all performance categories.
“I had been hitting too big a fade off the tee though,” Matt says.
“So my caddie and I worked on a drill we call the wall, where we imagine a wall down the left, hit a shot down that wall line and then just let it naturally drift.
“That takes out one side of the golf course and also helps with technique too as my right arm can get a little bit too far outside the wall. We try and keep that inside the wall too.”
His driving was strong last year with distance off the tee ten yards up on the field average, and strokes gained off the tee coming in at +0.457 strokes per round – a huge difference over four days.
Here, Matt tells us about his keys to driving well and finding the ideal blend of distance and accuracy to make the rest of the game that little bit easier…
Matt Wallace Driving Tips –
1 Turn On The Power
I feel I gain more power with a shorter, more efficient swing that makes it easier for me to return the clubface square to the ball.
The squarer the clubface, the further the ball is going to go.
As I take the club back, I like to feel that my left arm is parallel to the ground and then let momentum take it to the top.
I much prefer that to trying to swing long and momentum then taking the club too far.
For many people, their perception about the top of the backswing means they go too far – they really try to get it all the way back but end up taking it across the line, costing themselves power and accuracy.
Focus on a slower takeaway, take the club halfway back and then allow momentum to carry it to the top. Your transition will be pretty sweet then.
2 High And Low
Hitting it lower with the driver is difficult, but Thomas Bjorn helped me out here.
The key is to try and use your trunk.
Swing to the top nice and short, then keep your wrists and arms quiet – just turn the trunk and the ball should come out a little bit lower.
That’s how I do it.
For the high one, I put the ball a little further forward in my stance and try to hit up on it.
You could potentially tee it a little higher, too, but I think that’s more of a mental thing – if you tee it high you think you’re going to hit it high.
But it does also encourage you to hit up on it a little bit.
3 Find The Fairway
When I’m on the range practising my driving, I set up imaginary ‘fairways’ – there’s usually something on the range you can visualise as a fairway.
My caddie, Dave McNeilly, gives me three different ones to hit and I have to see how many balls it takes me to find those three fairways.
When I go out on the course, I know that if I hit three out of four fairways, I’m going to have three pretty good birdie chances.
This is a great drill to try, but make sure you keep your imaginary fairways suitably tight and not too generous.
I do a similar drill with irons, but mostly with the driver.
4 Ball Position
You play with amateurs of all abilities in Pro-Ams, so you see a lot of different issues when it comes to driving – often from hitting it too hard, although to hit it a long way you do need lots of clubhead speed.
But I would say a more common error is ball position, which many amateurs get badly wrong.
I think they try to stick with one position throughout the whole bag, and that means it’s way too far back with the driver.
With their irons, they’ll be able to hit down on the ball and produce good shots, but with the driver, having the ball too far back paves the way to all sorts of problems, ranging from hooks to slices.
Ball position with the driver is one thing I tend to really keep an eye on in Pro-Ams, and you should do too.
Just inside the left heel is the ideal spot.
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