One feel I use to shallow out the driver is to feel that my eyes are behind and level with the back of the ball up to the point of impact. Impossible, I know, but we're talking about a feeling here, not reality.
|The head and chest are behind the club shaft, the head is actually behind its original position.|
Another way to put this is that--of all the clubs--it's most important with the driver to exaggerate staying behind the ball! It's true that the longer the club the more behind the ball you should be at impact, but it's an absolute necessity to hit good, penetrating drives with the driver.
Look at slow motion video of most professional golfers and you'll notice that, up to the point of impact, their heads are located over their right leg when swinging the driver. In many cases, their heads move FURTHER right from the initial address position, which was already behind the ball! (You'll still notice that their heads are behind the ball with other clubs too--just not that far back.) Thus my feel of trying to get my eyes behind and level with the back of the ball. The continuing motion of the arms and club will pull you fully over into the left leg and into your balanced finish.
A wider stance and increased rightward tilt at address will help with staying behind the ball at impact, but it also encourages a hook. Remember that a wide stance is a hook condition, meaning that it inhibits lower body movement and encourages more arm movement through impact. If you find yourself hooking the ball wildly, you may need to go with a more narrow driver stance to help straighten out your drive; a narrow stance is a fade or slice condition, because the body can get ahead of the arms; as the stance widens, the swing plane becomes flatter, and the plane becomes more vertical with a more narrow stance. There are many such characteristics associated with different ball flights that you can use to encourage a shot shape you desire, but remember that you still must be able to get behind the ball and stay there up to impact.
Swinging this way also allows you to tee the ball up higher to encourage a high draw without the fear of sliding the club UNDER the ball and hitting pop-ups, which is common with golfers who swing the driver too steeply.
Staying back like this with the driver helps to shallow out the downswing and produces a flatter swing plane, causing the golfer to catch the ball on the upswing and impart an upward angle of attack, which reduces backspin, helps ensure an inside-out motion (often resulting in a nice draw), and thus, increases distance. Some instructors teach setting up with an exaggerated spine tilt to the right, but this doesn't help if the golfer immediately begins moving back over the ball (as if hitting an iron). As a matter of fact, it might be best to set up with a rightward tilt with the understanding that this right tilt will, initially, increase when the downswing begins.
Some golfers try to keep their head still or over the top of the golf ball. To make a full turn on a swing with your driver your head might move a little towards your back foot. That’s fine if not desired. You need to be well behind the golf ball at impact. One should have a straight line from the front shoulder to the ball at impact.
David Leadbetter in 100% Golf, 2004, states: "the head and upper body stay behind the ball as you unswing and accelerate into impact." Try to maintain your spine angle from the set up all the way to the moment of impact and don't worry if your head has a little lateral movement. Your head and spine are behind the ball at impact.
The key to solid driving is that you first get fully behind the ball as you wind up your backswing. Only then can your truly stay behind the ball as you unwind on the way back down. With the driver, one of the problems that I see a lot of amateurs struggle with is they get too far ahead of themselves on the way down, which results in the swing being too steep coming in to the ball.
Remember, you have to get back to the left side to strike the irons properly, which involves making sure that your body weight is centred more on top of the left foot as you hit the ball. With a driver, if you can first get behind it and then stay behind it, you will enjoy flighting your tee-shots with a good powerful trajectory.
Anchor the head at the beginning of the downswing. There is no need to shift the weight forward the same as on an iron shot where you have to hit down onto the ball. Keep the head back to hit the ball on the upswing.
In the swing you will need to feel that you are staying behind the ball with your upper body as you aggressively drive the hips and weight over onto the front foot. This is where the “uphill” sense comes from – as the hips drive the head stays back you create the body motion that allows for the clubhead to move up into the hit. I like to refer to this as body curve.