Everybody knows you can’t hope to shoot low scores if you’re playing your second shots from the deep rough or, worse yet, having to reload on the tee.
The ability to drive the ball straight and true is a critical part of the game. It’s also the skill with arguably the biggest margin for error. Modern drivers are long, lightweight and powerful, so if you don’t make a good connection, you could be playing your next shot from anywhere within a 200-yard radius.
Sound familiar? Thought so. Luckily, Romain Langasque is here to help.
The 24-year-old Frenchman is one of the top drivers on the European Tour, currently averaging more than 300 yards off the tee and finding more than 60% of his fairways (well above the tour average).
Here’s his advice for building confidence with your driver...
It’s all about rhythm. In any range session I do, that’s my buzzword. A lot of people try to go too hard at the ball. They think that’s the key to distance. The truth is that rhythm is the most important thing. If you don’t have that, you’re going to really struggle to hit the ball out the centre of the clubface – and if you can’t do that, you’re not going to be a very good driver.
How do you practice rhythm? That’s what people always ask. For me, that’s where my practice swings are so important. I’m not just swinging the club to get loose. I’m trying to feel the swing I want to put on the ball when I go to hit my shot. If I can feel it, I can do it.
When you start to feel pressure, that’s when things can start to go wrong. My trigger for dealing with that is ‘Back-Hit’. That’s all I’m thinking. It focuses me on doing everything right in my backswing and then the things I need to do as I’m coming in to the ball.
At the range, most amateurs want to hit driver as much as possible. That’s understandable. It’s the biggest club in the bag, normally the most expensive, and it’s a lot of fun to see your shots fly miles through the air. But I very rarely spend more than 20 minutes per day on it. For those 20 minutes, don’t get me wrong, I’m really focused. But there is such a thing as too much practice. You can do more harm than good.
I never, ever start a practice session hitting driver. I always start with wedges and work my way up through the bag. You need to wake up and loosen up before you hit driver.
It’s always good to have a go-to shot with your driver that you can depend on. For me, that’s a low fade. If conditions are tricky, if the fairway is quite small or if I’m maybe just not having a good day off the tee, that’s the shot I go to because it’s the one I feel most confident in and, even if I miss with it, it’s not a big miss.
Some people will try to tell you that there is one particular ball position and one particular tee height to have to hit the perfect drive. I don’t believe that’s true. I think it’s about personal choice. Experiment to find what works best for you.
Use technology to your advantage.In the last ten years, there has been a real revolution in the materials and the science behind making drivers, so you are only putting yourself at a disadvantage if you don’t use the latest equipment.
Make your practice fun. I like to play games with my driver sometimes using Trackman. I’ll get my caddie to call a shot for me to hit and then, using Trackman, we are able to see if I’ve done it. You know, hit a high shot with 20 yards of draw, or something like that. It just keeps it fun. It can get very boring standing on the range and hitting ball after ball into the distance. Anything you can do to break the monotony is a good thing. Learning doesn’t have to be boring.
Romain Langasque is a TaylorMade brand ambassador. To find out more, log-on to taylormadegolf.eu.