By Paul Myers:

When asked to identify their favorite club in the bag, most players would hesitate for only a moment before picking out the driver. Why? It’s obvious – the driver is the club that hits the ball the farthest, and also has the biggest head. Most drivers are far more forgiving than irons or even fairway metals, and the opportunity to blast the ball off the tee is always exciting. If you are a golfer who loves to swing hard and let it rip with the driver, you can know that you are not alone.

When it comes to getting the most out of your driver, it is helpful to keep some basic tips in mind. Following are three keys to help you launch long and straight drives time after time.

Key #1 – Long and Smooth

The driver is the longest club in your bag, and it therefore requires the longest swing. If you get in a rush when swinging your driver, you will lose yardage and accuracy at the same time. Creating a good rhythm with your driver is one of the best ways you can develop repeatable results that will set you up beautifully for short approach shots. As you work on hitting your driver on the practice range, think about completing your backswing fully before transitioning down toward the ball. As long as you don’t cut the backswing short, you should be in great position to build speed and power prior to impact.

Key #2 – Sweep It Off the Tee

Hitting down through the golf ball is great advice – when you are hitting iron shots. When hitting a driver from the tee, however, you want to sweep the ball cleanly off the tee to maximize distance and control. As the club head moves through the ball, it should be travelling parallel to the ground rather than down into the turf. To do this successfully, you need to work on your balance during the swing. Keep your weight centered between your feet in the backswing rather than allowing it to drift left over your lead foot (for a right handed golfer). With good balance from start to finish, sweeping the ball off the tee will become an easy task.

Key #3 – Turn It Loose

Your driver is a distance club, so don’t hold back through the hitting area. There should be no lack of confidence or aggressiveness in your driver swing. When you feel unsure about your target or the hazards that are waiting near the fairway, consider hitting a different club to emphasize accuracy over distance. However, when it is power that you are looking for, take the driver out of the bag with confidence and make your best swing. Anything less than total commitment to the driver swing will lead to disappointing results.

Hitting your driver should be fun. By working on your swing technique on the driving range, you should be able to head to the course full of confidence and ready to blast the ball way down the fairway. Keep each of the three keys above in mind when you step on to the first tee for your next round and better driving will be just around the corner.