You might have been told to “hit up” on the ball with a driver to hit it far, but the real question is: Why? Do you really get more distance off the tee by hitting up on the ball? The answer is no. Trying to hit the golf ball on the upswing will make your slice or pull go from bad to worse. This is because in order to swing up on the ball you have to hand back and hit the ball with majority of the weight on the back foot. Whether you have an iron or driver in hand, always hit down.

The average driving distance on the PGA Tour last season was 290.9 yards and TrackMan stats show that an average PGA Tour professional hits DOWN on the ball with their driver. As a matter of fact, great players hit the ball on a descending blow whether it’s with their irons or woods. With the irons they take a divot 2-3 inches in front of the ball and with the driver the low point of the swing is…you guessed it. In front of the ball as well. This is because:

  • Golfballs are designed to be compressed. The more you can compress the ball, the farther and straighter it will go. The ball compresses more on a descending blow than on an ascending one.
  • Gravity is on your side. Whether the ball is on the ground or on an elevated tee, the club accelerates on the downswing. As your weight is shifting forward in the transition, greater FORCE (Mass times Acceleration) is applied to the ball by hitting down on it.
  • Club selection doesn’t matter. For true consistency, you SHOULD swing the driver the same way you do the irons. The only change is the ball position moves more towards your forward foot with the big stick.

Hitting up on the ball has been the popular theory, but it’s INCORRECT! Don’t confuse fact with fiction. Have you ever wondered why one day your hitting the driver well and the next day it heads south? Trying to hit UP on the ball consistently is almost impossible. By hitting down with the driver, you will make contact with the ball slightly above the center of the clubface and your ball will launch off the face like a cannon. Ask Tiger and Phil.


With that said, I will see you on the first tee.

Jiro Nakazaki, PGA
About Jiro Nakazaki
Jiro Nakazaki is a PGA Golf Professional and a full-time golf instructor and blogger with a background in psychology. He is a specialist in golf education and believes that a great golfer is built from the inside out. "It's easy to become a great golfer, if you have a strong golf education." Make sure to follow @Golfeneur on Twitter!

One Response to Hit Up Or Down With A Driver?

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