How To Avoid Hitting Your Driver On The Heel | Swing Surgeon - Don Trahan Peak Performance Golf Swing

How To Avoid Hitting Your Driver On The Heel

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 14:00 -- Don Trahan

The longer the club, the harder it generally is to hit. That means the driver is most often the toughest club to hit in the bag. It's also the club that's usually used the most off the tee. It sets you up for the rest of the hole, so it's critical that you are able to make solid contact. I usually play my second shots from the middle of the fairway, and you can to. The keys are understanding how to set up properly to the ball each time and making the right type of swing.

Here's a question Donal sent in about hitting some shots off the heel of his driver. It's costing him distance, so he's looking for a solution.

Surge,

I've been using your swing now for the last few years and after purchasing your many videos, I find my game has improved tremendously and I recently broke 80 at my gold course. This is really down to my short game as I am having some issues with my driver. I seem to be hitting a lot of shots off the heel of the club losing a fair amount distance. Can you help? I have tried numerous things to rectify it but failed.

Donal

As the clubs get longer, any swing issues get maximized and become worse. Naturally, we have to look at alignment first. If you're aimed to the right and you have to come back to the ball, you're going to come over the top, so there's a good chance the heel will hit the ball.

There's other issues that could be causing this problem as well, such as the position of your arms at setup. Taking too long of a backswing is another error that could lead to an over the top swing motion. 

Watch the video to see me explain different swing faults that can all lead to the problem that Donal is experiencing. After you've watched today's video, I recommend that you record your swing the next time you're on the range or in the backyard and see if you can identify where you're making mistakes. Once you understand where the problem is, it becomes much easier to fix.

Keep it vertical!

The Surge 

If you can't view the YouTube video above try CLICKING HERE. You must allow popups from this site for the link to work.

Comments

Howard Pilgrim's picture

Submitted by Howard Pilgrim on

Hi Surge, and thanks for today's video giving so many possibilities of what might cause this fault. This is one bug that comes to bite me now and then, and there is no mystery about the result - the ball scuttles off low and left, with maybe fifty metres in length, at most. Extremely embarrassing! I know it has come off the heel end of the club, just by how it feels at impact.
As for fixing it, I just resort to your maxim ... forget about what I did wrong and swing properly next time!
Thanks for your dailies. They always remind me about some aspect of the PPGS method, which has rejuvenated my game.
Howard Pilgrim, NZ

Dragonhead's picture

Submitted by Dragonhead on

Howard Pilgrim,
Only managed an hour and a half on the practice hole at the course yesterday. Hit some of the best balls in a long time. A couple of the first attempts from the VERY wet rough, after nailing the pin with my first shot : - ) were ever so slightly pulled : - ( Luckily the solution was not long in coming. I slowed down my swing [not as slow as In Bee Park, but a little slower than normal]. Immediately the shots were much longer and dead on target. As soon as I speeded up the swing [deliberately] the slight pulls re-appeared!!! Back down to an almost lazy swing compared to my former 'take the skin off the ball' swing and the shots were beautiful. Nothing like watching good shots repeatedly hitting the green. To start with the shots were 40-50 paces further with a PW and a 9iron!!!Even from the lush very wet rough they were spot on target.
Only hit the driver at the nets, but the sound of the strikes, where they hit the net and the ball strikes on the face, told me I was making excellent contact with the ball. Deliberately again 'tried to take the skin off the ball' and pulled the drives : - )
A frost overnight and just begining to dry out, so out for a swing on the deck to keep the raddled old joints and muscles moving shortly. Maybe tomorrow we will once again tread the hallowed turf.
Hope this helps you too. DH

Howard Pilgrim's picture

Submitted by Howard Pilgrim on

Thanks for the tip, DH. You are probably right about my case, inasmuch as I am too conscious of Surge's maxim that extra power comes from swinging the arms faster, neglecting his warning that this requires a very still lower body and no head movement. Anyway that's what I generally keep in mind after a skulled drive, and it tends to fix my problem. I do remember that I used to try to swing in an unhurried rythym, modelled on my hero Jack Nicklaus, and so appreciate your story about yesterday's practice. It was wet and cold up here in Napier, and I played a shocker, but finished the round.
You are in the Wellington area, right? Bad weather there too, I hear. Will be visiting over the weekend for a family gathering, sadly without my clubs.
Regards, Howard

Dragonhead's picture

Submitted by Dragonhead on

No thanks needed Howard. Have a safe and pleasant trip to your family gathering. Saturdays weather looks yeuk! but Sunday looks as though you may have a reasonable journey back.
Funny after I wrote your comment had a good swing session on the front bog ; - ) my swing thought while swinging was, " In Bee Park" reminding me of her really slow backswing and quicker through swing. Worked a treat hahaha! Also chipping with 8/6/4irons 3W and r7 driver was very interesting. Every club in the bag when swung during my practices is then used to chip with. Great fun and judging distances long and short is a nice challenge. Even on the bumpy lawn if I don't hit the target ball at least twice out of five balls [a yellow one being the target ball, which is chipped first]or leave it within a couple of inches I am disappointed. On your trip, take one club and a couple of balls. Practice swinging without a ball and chip a couple given the opportunity ; - ) hahaha. DH

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

DH, per our discussion of chipping with diverse clubs I used the 5 wood on a couple of occasions yesterday morning with good results. Particularly on the par 3 #12 at muni. Hit my pw just left and long. Was only 3 feet off the green and had short fringe to the green. Using a putting stroke I smoothed it gently on the edge of the green to a speeding down hill 20 footer. It looked lovel as it just slipped by missing by less than an inch and slowly rolling 4 feet by and below. Easy uphill putt that was center cut for my par.

Later today I will be joining my Brother at the difficult 'Royal Links' golf course. I never have played there because the expense has been too high for my liking, normally well over $100.00. Ouch! Brother Craig one a round there at work and we will split the other green fee. Very excited as this is a spectacular layout that has each hole patterned after famous hole in the UK. All from British Open courses including the likes of the St.Andrews road hole, Royal Troon and so many others. Lots of deep pot bunkers. Hmnnnnn...... breaking 80 not likely but who knows. I will leave you with the web site to have a look. Don't be distracted by the lovely lassy Britney as she offers female caddies(par mates) for ones playing pleasure. We will not be partaking, lol!!

http://www.royallinksgolfclub.com/course/photo-gallery/

http://www.royallinksgolfclub.com/

Hopefully I will be able to share an un-censored report on the days golf:)

CraigB's picture

Submitted by CraigB on

I've been practicing and trying PPGS for a couple of years now. I drive the ball about 200 - 210 consistently. Therefore, I'm left with a lot of really long second shots just to get close enough to hit 50 to 100 yard approach shots. I can't figure out why I just can't get anymore distance. I am really frustrated. I just played yesterday I consistently hit pushes to the right even when I had someone spot me to make sure my alignment looked okay. They made a comment that it looed like I was hitting off the toe of the clubs. Yep there are a lot of white marks on the toes of my irons and woods. Help!!!

Dragonhead's picture

Submitted by Dragonhead on

Boothc,
I can almost bet that your rear elbow is not in the correct position at address and through the swing. Since I started rotating my rear elbow inwards around an inch, giving me the best possible set up to lift the club easily into the backswing [BUS] allowing for 'skipping the rock' perfectly in the follow through FUS to the perfect T finish and recoil, to be almost automatic : - ) If as Surge says in today's video you will have all sorts of problems if your rear forearm is level with or above the lead forearm.
Another could be, that you are 'lifting' your head and chest in the FUS! I had not been hitting the ball with the driver any farther than you. With the 4iron, 17deg driving iron, 24deg Rescue club or the 3W I am hitting them very well indeed. On approach shots I am spoilt for choice. Since concentrating on the rear elbow's position I have hit my 4iron farther than I remember ever hitting it. Clubs I was wary of are all back in the bag and worth their being there.
A final thought. Set up as you have been doing and then without moving the clubface, move around to the rear of the ball. You may be surprised at where the ball is ACTUALLY lined up on the clubface. My eyes lied to me. I couldn't believe it when I performed this check. Far from being opposite the sweetspot, I was lined up forward of it. Now it looks as though I am aimed off the heel when viewed from the set up position,but I am definitely off the sweetspot. Hope this helps. DH

CraigB's picture

Submitted by CraigB on

Thanks DH. I'll give it a try once the rain stops here. When I get the club vertical on the BUS how do I get to the FUS? Keeping the Elbow close to the body causes a pull across the ball and no release. I thought on the FUS I was to stand up ASFast as Possible. Perhaps I in trying to do so I'm doing it too quickly, causing me to turn too quickly and pull the club from outside to in and there for push fade??? Thanks again for your quick reply.

Dragonhead's picture

Submitted by Dragonhead on

No thanks needed Boothc. My personal feeling is that you are probably doing what an awful lot of us Surgites do and that is 'overdo' parts of the swing when learning new parts to it! : - ( If you are not overswinging in the BUS and not trying to take the skin off the ball in the FUS you should be in the ideal position to 'skip the rock' with the rear hand/arm. Practice it without a club, indoors even. As for popping up ASFP that could be causing you grief.
I don't at any time think about my right elbow being close to the body. Many concentrate on the elbow dropping towards the right hip in the 'downswing' part of the FUS. I don't give it a thought anymore. Check in a mirror [or if the sun comes out], check your backswing is not going too far back. I was amazed at just how far back my club was going, even when I thought I was only taking a half swing!!! It stunned me. Try swinging without a ball and see if you are Lifting your upper body in the FUS another fault which will give you an across the ball result. Good luck DH

Jim Wile's picture

Submitted by Jim Wile on

If you do not hover the club but instead set it on the ground at address, then you should set the toe of the driver behind the ball. Try doing this, then raising the club up to the level of the ball on the tee to simulate what should happen at impact and watch what happens--the ball aligns with the center of the club (the sweet spot).

If you start by setting the middle of the club behind the ball, when you raise it up to the level of the ball, you will be hitting it off the heel.

ptjbis@hotmail.com's picture

Submitted by ptjbis@hotmail.com on

Hi Surge
Hope you're keeping well.
Recently,out of pure interest I attended a golf ball clinic to see if indeed there is a ball that works better for me. The science behind the manufacture of golf balls was fascinating and the conclusion was that for me a harder rather than a soft-feel ball suited my game better.
I always thought that a soft-feel ball would hold better on greens but it's the opposite! I would be interested to hear your views. After all, the most used piece of golf equipment is the ball!
Best wishes
Patrick Brooke
Cheltenham, UK