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ON THE TEE: Preparing to make the full turn that enables you to ‘sweep’ the ball with the driver

The first thing you have to understand with the driver (in fact, with all wood play), and especially when the ball is teed up, is that the swing has to be made on a relatively shallow plane.

We're not trying to create a flat swing; for a powerful, penetrating trajectory (and maximum distance), you are simply trying to sweep the ball off the tee-peg with a free-flowing, rounded swing that maximises clubhead speed.

With the irons there is naturally a little more steepness in the swing approaching impact, for the simple reason that you are using a shorter club and the ball is sitting on the ground.

Not so with the driver. The ball is up in the air. And you really do have to tee it up quite high with these modern oversized drivers. Don’t be afraid to tee it up so that at least half the ball is above the top edge of the club. This will actively assist you in making the full shoulder turn that sees you swing the club on the desired shallow plane.

So, the first thing to remember is tee the ball up high. I like to hover the clubhead above the ground, and both of these habits will help you to swing freely and deliver the clubhead on a shallow plane.

Another crucial point to make up front concerns your alignment. I meet and play with amateur golfers of all ages and ability who try to hit the ball dead straight — a practical impossibility as far as I am concerned.

Think about it.

Stand back, pick out a spot a few feet ahead of the ball

The clubhead travels on an arc through the impact area, and so there is always going to be a spin bias. Some players tend to hit the ball left-to-right, others hit the ball with a natural draw shape. It doesn't matter which way you go as long as you factor that tendency into your initial alignment.

So, stand back, pick out a spot a few feet ahead of the ball, and never fight your natural ball flight. If you tend to fade the ball, aim down the left side of the fairway and use the whole width of that fairway. If you draw the ball, aim down the right.

That way you pretty much take one side of the hole out of play. That s what all good players have done through the ages: from Hogan, to Nicklaus to Tiger.

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