With few exceptions, the average weekend golfer makes better shots hitting irons than hitting drivers. This is because it’s easier to maintain the shorter shaft of an iron on the correct inside-out swing plane. Problems arise when golfers attempt to hit drivers with the same swing used to hit irons. You can improve your game by understanding the difference between an iron swing and a driver swing.
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The slot is an imaginary box that you look into as you address and hit the golf ball. The golf ball lies on the outer line of the box, and the distance between your feet defines the sides of the box. When you address the ball, the position of your front foot (closest to the target) in relation to the ball dictates the point in your downswing where you make contact. Typically, you set up so the ball is forward in the slot for longer shots and farther back for shorter shots. But it is weight transfer and your body rotation that differentiates an iron swing from a driver swing.
When you start your backswing with an iron, your focus is on a point that’s under the golf ball. You generate power with the shorter shaft of an iron by shifting your body weight from the back foot to the front foot and rotating your body toward the target at the moment of contact. Done correctly, hitting the point under the golf ball results in generating a divot of grass or a blast of sand from a bunker.
To hit a driver off the tee, you tee up the ball, which elevates it above the grass. Unlike hitting an iron, your focus during the backswing is on the center of the golf ball. If you use an iron swing and shift your weight forward as you rotate your body at the moment of contact, the longer club is drawn off the correct inside-out plane. As a result, you might top the ball, miss it completely or slice or hook the shot. When you swing a driver, shifting your weight and rotating your body should take place fractions of a second later than when hitting an iron.
When you practice hitting drivers, concentrate on keeping your weight back during the downswing. Allow the momentum of the swinging club to dictate weight transfer and body rotation. Resist any inclination to swing hard at first, which affects your balance and accuracy. You discover the longer shaft of a driver, combined with size and weight of the head, enables you to hit accurate drives with a fluid swing.