I think Jack Nicklaus' preference to hover his club at address could help many players, and I have found it helpful to me with all the clubs--even the putter. Why? It definitely smooths the takeaway and backswing because the club can't catch on the ground and be jerked off plane. It prevents unnecessary tension from forming in the arms and hands which can happen when "snatching" the club off the ground to execute the takeaway; in other words, it helps keep the arms passive in the swing, as it should be. Hovering the club or "underreaching" provides for the feeling of the arms and club hanging freely from the shoulders, so there's an enhanced sense of the club head weight. Fat and thin shots are greatly reduced, because the wrists are allowed to extend more fully at address instead of starting less extended and then extending more in the downswing.
In the case of the driver, it can preprogram your driver head to help find the sweet spot on the downswing. But it's important to hover it properly to promote this: Tee the ball so that you can hover the club to position the ball just a hair above and right of dead center, which is the sweet spot of modern drivers. Therefore, the club is just barely off the ground. Don't hover the bottom of the club even with the bottom of the ball.
With fairway woods I position the club on the barely touching the ground because I like to think of the ground as my tee; with fairway woods, I'm trying sweep the ball like a driver.
With the putter and irons, it's the same: just barely above the ground.
Provided the arm tension and posture remain constant, hovering the club should ensure clean contact. The key is to use your posture with fully extended arms (not locked) to hover the club; don't fall into the trap of lifting the club up with your arms.
...The problem is teeing up higher and placing the driver on the ground at address. For example, let's say that you tee the ball up so that 2/3 of the ball is above the driver head. If you return the driver head to its address position, you will hit a pop-up. So you will have to raise the driver head off the ground at impact. But if you do this, the driver head moves further away from your body and cause heel hits.To fix this and hit it in the middle of your clubface with higher tee height, hover the driver head (off the ground) just behind the ball. I think you will be able to fix your heel hits with this adjustment.
When I watch a PGA Tour event, Champions Tour event or LPGA Tour event, I'm often struck by how many players hover the club at address. They do not rest it on the ground before starting their takeaway. To name a few players: Bubba Watson (click on the link here), Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Matt Kuchar, Steve Stricker, Davis Love III, Jay Haas, Greg Norman, Yani Tseng, Cristie Kerr. Get the picture? Yet, I rarely see average golfers do this. These tour players all hover the club when the ball is teed, but a number also use the same technique on pitches and even putts. You should try it, too, especially if you feel you have difficulty bringing the club back, or would like to smooth out your takeaway, or have trouble making solid contact on pitches from tight lies.
JIM FLICK: I'm reminded of what the legendary player and teacher Paul Runyan described as "measuring out" or "underreaching" at address. Paul contended that if you didn't sole the club but held it just above the ground, and then kept your grip tension and spine angle constant throughout your swing, you would always hit the ball cleanly.
This principle is especially true for pitch shots, but it also holds for irons, fairway woods and, yes, the driver. And with today's fairways mowed so tightly, it really helps you make perfect contact. You want the club to return to the ball in a precise manner every time.
Another simple way to stay loose over the ball is to hover the clubhead just off the ground (above, right). Hovering the club promotes a free-flowing movement away from the ball and sets the stage for a smooth, rhythmic backswing. In many instances, when players rest the clubhead on the ground for any length of time, they freeze over the ball, which encourages muscle tension to creep in.
By hovering the clubhead you'll begin to feel the weight of the head. This will help you to start back at a nice, controlled pace.
The biggest problem amateur golfers like me and you have when it comes to the short game is chunked shots. To help prevent fat chips, try the under-reach technique. Begin by assuming your address position, with your arms hanging to their natural length. Choke down on the club about an inch (I go even shorter, about two inches), and hover the club just off the ground as you get ready to execute the shot. The combination of choking the grip and hovering the club will help you guard against hitting the shot fat. When you finally make a swing, simply concentrate on contacting the bottom half of the ball.