Hit A Half-Driver And Hit More Fairways
Victoria Texas InfoI'm very fortunate to play at a great little country club in Victoria, Texas, a town of about 70,000, which is two hours from Houston, San Antonio and Austin.

You’d never expect to find this kind of a golf course “ way out here ”. But we have brand new Mini Verde greens ( the same as the new greens at the TPC ! ) which are kept fast (11-12) and very firm. We also have nasty Bermuda rough and very narrow fairways. At about 6,900 from the tips, it’s not overly long, but you just cannot score this course from the rough.

Since moving here, I have had my clubmaker build me a new driver, with my instruction being “ I want one that won’t go left ”.

When I played my best golf in my 30's and early 40's, I always hit a fade, and I wanted to get back to that. This game is so much easier when you reduce your shot pattern to one direction.

I selected a deep-face, small profile 400cc Alpha head with 10* loft ( I just don’t like the look or sound of the big 460's ), which is 1* open. It’s also got a nice sound, which I insist on.

Then we chose a low launch Swing Science 800 shaft, which he set up about 6.1, a little stronger than I typically play, at 44-1/2” long. [ If the pros don’t swing drivers over 45”, I sure don’t want one that long ! ]

I'm learning to love this driver, because I just don’t hit it left ( unless I come over the top ). So that effectively takes one side of the golf course out of play. I'm still learning how to trust my alignment, however, to just set up down the left side and hit it.

But we have several holes where I know I just have to hit it in the fairway, so I’ve begun hitting what I call the “ half ” driver.

All I do is choke up ½” to ¾” on my 44-1/2” driver, and think about keeping the hands light on the club and “ swing it easy ”.

If I’ll just do that, this driver produces a lower ball flight, and very nice little “ slider ” that drifts a few yards left to right. I can take it right down the left side and let it work toward the middle of the fairway.

And you know what ? Very often, because I’m making a smoother swing, I hit it dead center more often than not, and my distance really isn’t that much shorter than if I try to bomb it. Go figure.

This shot is also my bread and butter on those holes that are dead into the wind, which always blows down here, it seems.

Sometime on the range, I strongly suggest you practice this shot. I think you will find that you hit the ball very solidly and not that much shorter than your normal “ full ” swing.

I’ve showed this shot to a number of middle handicap players who now choke up on their driver all the time.

Just another idea gleaned from a lifetime in this business and game.
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[ comments ]
Pappy says:
Glad to see you're back.

Wished I'd have known about that course when I lived in San Antonio.
Mike says:
Watching the telecast from Muirfield Village, I heard Jack Nicklaus tell Jin Nantz that " ... the game's a whole lot easier when you eliminate one side. "

Seems like K.J. Choi was an attentive reader, as that's what he did with his little drop over fade.

I used to hit a little bitty drop over fade myself, I think I'll go to the range and see if I can find where I put it !
Bruce Evans says:
Your Half Driver sounds a little like a shot I have been working on, Bunt Drive, except instead of gripping down I only use half a back swing.
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