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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Hitting Driver Off the Deck (Video)

On Morning Drive earlier this week, John Cook, Arron Oberholser and Charlie Rymer all tried to explain the tricks for hitting a driver off the deck. I'm going to point out the main things I think you need to remember.

First of all, note that John says he only plays this shot maybe twice a year. Here are his criteria for deciding when the shot may be appropriate:
  • Uphill lie
  • Into the wind
  • On a par-5
Why these criteria? Because a 3-wood will balloon up into the wind under these conditions. Even if you top the shot with a driver, the ball stays low and runs. That's what you're after here.

Arron notes that you have to hit this shot like a fairway wood, not a teed-up driver. You need to hit slightly down on the shot, not try to swing up (in which case you'll mis-hit the shot). And pay attention to his ball position. The camera angle is a bit misleading; while the ball is back in his stance, it is no more than halfway back. You'll want to play the ball slightly AHEAD of center, but not so far forward that you'll hit the ground first. Remember how John plays this shot off an uphill lie? That will help you.

John says he also grips down a bit, to shorten the effective length of the club. It helped him hit the ball straighter than Arron, even though Arron's club had more loft.

An important equipment note here is that newer drivers make this shot easier because they have more loft and tend to hit the ball higher, even off the tee.

Remember: If you play this shot, you're looking for a stinger, not a high shot. And don't be too upset if you don't hit it perfectly. If you need to play this shot, your normal shot isn't likely to give you better results, even if you hit it perfectly. So be forgiving with yourself. Advancing the ball and keeping it in play may be the best you could hope for under the circumstance.

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