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Why do I Hit My Driver Too High? Tackling the Challenge of High-Flying Drives

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For many golfers, hitting the driver too high is a common challenge that can hinder overall performance on the course. While a high drive can look impressive, it often sacrifices distance and control, two critical elements for effective play. In this blog post, we delve into the reasons behind this issue and explore how to optimize your driver shots for a more balanced trajectory.

A high ball flight with the driver might seem advantageous at first glance, offering the potential for the ball to carry further. However, hitting the driver too high often leads to excessive backspin, reduced roll upon landing, and a loss of distance – not to mention the added difficulty in windy conditions. Understanding the nuances of driver loft, swing mechanics, and equipment choices is key to addressing this issue.

Whether you’re a beginner struggling to tame your towering drives or an experienced player looking to fine-tune your game, getting a handle on your driver’s flight is essential. A well-optimized drive should combine the right height, distance, and accuracy, fitting your unique swing style and the conditions of the course.

In the upcoming sections, we’ll break down the various factors contributing to high driver shots, including club specifications, swing techniques, and ball positioning. We’ll also provide practical tips and adjustments you can make to achieve a more desirable trajectory, ensuring your drives contribute positively to your golf game.

Get Full Control Over Your Driver 

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Understanding the Causes

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Unraveling Why Drives Sail Too High

Hitting a driver too high can be attributed to several factors, ranging from swing mechanics to equipment choices. Understanding these causes is the first step in making the necessary adjustments to achieve a lower, more controlled ball flight.

1. Swing Mechanics as a Major Contributor

  • A common cause of high drives is an incorrect angle of attack. Hitting the ball with an excessively upward angle can add too much backspin, sending the ball higher.
  • The speed and path of the swing also play a role. A slower swing speed with an improper path can result in higher, shorter drives.

2. Club Specifications Impacting Ball Flight

  • The loft of the driver significantly affects the trajectory of the ball. A higher loft can naturally result in a higher ball flight.
  • The flex and kick-point of the shaft also contribute. A shaft that’s too flexible or with a low kick-point can cause the ball to launch higher.

3. Ball Position and Impact

  • The position of the ball at address can influence the angle at which the club strikes the ball. If the ball is placed too far forward in the stance, it can promote a higher launch angle.
  • Tee height also plays a role. Tees placed too high can cause the club to strike the ball above its center, leading to a higher flight.

4. Physical Attributes and Playing Style

  • Individual physical attributes, like height and arm length, can affect the swing and subsequently the ball flight.
  • Personal playing style and comfort with certain swing techniques can also inadvertently lead to higher drives.

The Impact of Club Loft and Shaft Flex

Fine-Tuning Equipment for Optimal Trajectory

The choice of driver loft and the characteristics of the shaft are crucial elements that significantly influence the height of your drives. Understanding how to optimize these factors can help you achieve a more desirable ball flight.

1. How Driver Loft Affects Ball Flight

  • The loft of a driver is directly related to how high the ball will travel. A higher loft typically results in a higher ball flight, while a lower loft tends to produce a flatter trajectory.
  • Golfers often choose a higher loft to gain more distance, but this can backfire if it leads to an excessively high and spin-heavy drive. Finding the right balance is key.

2. Role of Shaft Flex in Driving Height

  • The flex of the shaft – whether it’s stiff, regular, or flexible – affects the timing and speed of the club head at impact. A shaft that’s too flexible for your swing speed can cause higher ball flights.
  • The kick-point, or bend point, of the shaft also influences ball trajectory. Shafts with lower kick-points tend to increase launch height.

3. Matching Equipment to Your Swing

  • It’s important to choose a driver and shaft that complement your swing style and speed. A professional club fitting can be invaluable in determining the best combination for your game.
  • Golfers with faster swing speeds may benefit from lower-lofted drivers and stiffer shafts, while those with slower speeds might need higher lofts and more flexible shafts for optimal performance.

4. Experimentation and Adjustment

  • Experiment with different loft settings if your driver has adjustable features. Modern drivers often allow you to fine-tune loft and face angle, providing a way to directly impact ball flight.
  • Pay attention to how changes in equipment settings affect your drives during practice sessions. This hands-on experience is essential for understanding and optimizing your equipment.

Swing Mechanics: Adjustments for a Lower Trajectory

Golfer winding up for swing

One of the primary factors contributing to hitting your driver too high is your swing mechanics. The way you swing the club can significantly affect the launch angle and trajectory of your drives. Here, we’ll explore techniques and adjustments to help you achieve a lower ball flight for better distance and control.

1. Angle of Attack

The angle at which your clubhead makes contact with the ball, known as the angle of attack, plays a crucial role in determining the trajectory of your drive. Golfers who hit the ball with an upward angle of attack tend to launch it higher.

Adjustment: To lower your trajectory, try to hit the ball with a slightly more level or even a slightly downward angle of attack. This can be achieved by focusing on making a shallower swing and ensuring that you’re striking the ball on the upswing less aggressively.

2. Swing Speed

Your swing speed also affects the height of your drives. A faster swing speed can generate more lift, leading to a higher launch angle.

Adjustment: While you don’t want to sacrifice your swing speed entirely, you can work on maintaining a more controlled tempo. Focus on smooth acceleration through the impact zone instead of trying to overpower the ball. This can help you control the launch angle.

3. Follow-Through

Your follow-through is another crucial aspect of controlling the trajectory of your drives. An extended, high finish can encourage a high ball flight.

Adjustment: To lower the trajectory, work on a follow-through that’s more abbreviated and lower. Try to finish with your hands lower and closer to your body rather than reaching for the sky. This will help you keep the ball flight down.

4. Grip Pressure

The grip pressure you apply to the club can also influence your swing mechanics. Gripping the club too tightly can lead to tension in your swing, resulting in a higher ball flight.

Adjustment: Maintain a firm but relaxed grip on the club. This allows for better control and flexibility in your swing, helping you keep the ball flight lower.

5. Ball Position

Ball position in your stance is another critical factor. Having the ball too far forward can promote a higher launch angle.

Adjustment: Experiment with ball positioning. Move the ball slightly farther back in your stance to encourage a lower launch. It’s essential to find the right balance that works for your swing.

By making these adjustments to your swing mechanics, you can lower the trajectory of your drives and achieve better distance and control off the tee. Remember that it may take some practice to incorporate these changes effectively, so be patient and consistent in your efforts.

Ball Position and Tee Height Adjustments

golf hand putting ball on tee

In our quest to lower the trajectory of your driver shots, we’ve already discussed some essential swing mechanics adjustments. However, your ball position and tee height also have a significant impact on the launch angle and trajectory of your drives. Let’s explore these factors in detail:

1. Ball Position

The position of the golf ball in your stance plays a crucial role in determining the trajectory of your driver shots. Golfers who place the ball too far forward in their stance often produce a higher launch angle.

Adjustment: To achieve a lower ball flight, try moving the ball slightly farther back in your stance. This adjustment can help you hit the ball on a more descending angle, promoting a lower launch.

2. Tee Height

The height at which you tee the ball can also affect the launch angle. Many golfers tee the ball too high, which can lead to higher ball flights.

Adjustment: Experiment with tee height. Ideally, you want to tee the ball up so that half of it is above the crown of the driver when the club is at address. Finding the right tee height for your swing can help you achieve a more penetrating ball flight.

3. Swing Plane

Your swing plane, or the path your clubhead follows during your swing, can influence the launch angle as well. An excessively steep swing plane can result in a higher ball flight.

Adjustment: Focus on maintaining a more shallow swing plane, especially during your downswing. This can be achieved by feeling like you’re swinging the club around your body rather than up and down. A flatter swing plane can promote a lower launch.

4. Weight Transfer

Your weight transfer during the swing can also impact the launch angle. Shifting too much weight to your back foot can encourage a higher ball flight.

Adjustment: Work on a balanced weight transfer during your swing. Ensure that your weight shifts from your back foot to your front foot as you approach impact. This balanced weight transfer can help you control the launch angle.

5. Practice and Feedback

Adjusting your ball position and tee height might require some experimentation to find what works best for your swing. Regular practice and feedback from a golf instructor or using video analysis can help you make these adjustments effectively.

By making these adjustments to your ball position and tee height, you can further optimize your driver shots for a lower trajectory. Remember that finding the right balance may take time, so be patient and continue refining your setup to achieve the desired ball flight.

Equipment Considerations

golf balls laying in grass

To address the issue of hitting your driver too high, it’s essential to consider your golf equipment. The right driver, loft options, and shaft flex can have a significant impact on your ability to achieve a lower ball flight. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Choosing the Right Driver

Selecting the right driver with the appropriate loft can make a substantial difference in your ability to control launch angle and trajectory. Driver lofts typically range from 8 to 12 degrees, with lower lofts promoting a lower ball flight.

Adjustment: If you struggle with a high ball flight, consider a driver with lower loft options, such as 9 or 10 degrees. These lofts can help reduce the launch angle and produce a more penetrating ball flight.

2. Custom Fitting

Getting properly fitted for your driver is crucial. A custom fitting session with a professional can help determine the ideal combination of loft, shaft flex, and clubhead design for your swing.

Adjustment: Schedule a fitting session with a certified club fitter who can analyze your swing and recommend the right driver specifications tailored to your game.

3. Shaft Flex

The flexibility of your driver’s shaft also plays a role in controlling the trajectory of your drives. A shaft with too much flex can lead to a higher launch angle.

Adjustment: Choose a shaft with a stiffness that matches your swing speed and tempo. A stiffer shaft can help you achieve a lower ball flight by reducing the club’s tendency to flex too much at impact.

4. Golf Ball Selection

The type of golf ball you use can affect the flight trajectory as well. Some golf balls are designed to produce a higher launch, while others are engineered for lower flight.

Adjustment: Experiment with different golf ball models to find one that complements your driver and swing. Look for balls labeled as “low-spin” or “tour” for a potentially lower trajectory.

Drills and Practice Routines for a Lower Drive

golf trainer helping student practice swing

To consistently achieve a lower trajectory with your driver, it’s crucial to incorporate specific drills and practice routines into your training regimen. Here are some effective drills and exercises to help you develop a lower drive:

1. Swing Plane Drill

Objective: To ingrain a shallower swing plane into your golf swing.


  • Set up with a golf ball on a tee as you would for a normal drive.
  • Place an alignment stick or club shaft on the ground parallel to your target line, about a foot outside the ball.
  • During your swing, focus on keeping the clubhead above the alignment stick throughout your backswing and downswing.
  • This drill encourages a more shallow angle of attack and can help lower the launch angle.

2. Impact Bag Drill

Objective: To improve your impact position and angle of attack.


  • Place an impact bag or a soft cushion in front of the tee.
  • Set up as you would for a drive, with the ball on the tee.
  • Focus on striking the ball first and then the impact bag. This ensures a downward strike on the ball.
  • This drill helps you develop a more descending angle of attack, resulting in a lower ball flight.

3. Follow-Through Control

Objective: To refine your follow-through and prevent an excessively high finish.


  • After hitting a drive, practice your follow-through.
  • Aim to finish with your hands and clubhead lower and closer to your body.
  • Avoid an extended, high follow-through, which can lead to a higher ball flight.
  • Practice this follow-through motion to control the trajectory of your drives.

4. Tee Height Variation

Objective: To find the optimal tee height for a lower ball flight.


  • During your practice session, experiment with different tee heights.
  • Tee the ball lower than usual and hit a series of drives.
  • Gradually adjust the tee height until you find the one that produces the desired lower ball flight while maintaining good contact.

5. Launch Monitor Feedback

Objective: To receive real-time data and feedback on your ball flight.


  • If possible, practice with a launch monitor or a simulator.
  • Analyze data such as launch angle and ball speed for each drive.
  • Make adjustments to your swing mechanics, ball position, and tee height based on the feedback to optimize your trajectory.

Professional Insights: Tips from the Pros

When it comes to addressing the issue of hitting your driver too high, who better to turn to for advice than professional golfers who have mastered the art of controlling their ball flight? In this section, we’ll share insights and tips from the pros, along with real-world examples of how they’ve adjusted their drive height for improved performance.

1. Tiger Woods

Tip: “For a lower ball flight, I focus on a steeper angle of attack and a stronger grip. I also tee the ball slightly lower to the ground. This combination helps me keep the ball down and control its flight.”

Example: Tiger Woods is known for his ability to shape shots and control trajectory. Throughout his career, he has adjusted his swing mechanics and equipment to achieve a lower, penetrating ball flight, which has contributed to his success.

2. Rory McIlroy

Tip: “A more controlled follow-through is crucial for a lower drive. I work on finishing with my hands lower, and I pay attention to my weight transfer. It’s about staying balanced and in control.”

Example: Rory McIlroy’s powerful swing generates tremendous clubhead speed, but he also has the ability to lower his ball flight when needed. His focus on a balanced follow-through and weight transfer helps him achieve this versatility.

3. Brooks Koepka

Tip: “The right equipment setup is key. I’ve experimented with different driver lofts and shafts to find the perfect combination that suits my game and allows me to hit a lower drive when required.”

Example: Brooks Koepka’s willingness to fine-tune his equipment to match his game has helped him become one of the top golfers in the world. He emphasizes the importance of finding the right driver specifications for controlling trajectory.

4. Case Study: Justin Thomas

Example: Justin Thomas, known for his aggressive playing style, has made adjustments to his swing to lower his ball flight for certain situations. By working with his coach and analyzing data from launch monitors, he fine-tunes his angle of attack and ball position to optimize trajectory.

5. Case Study: Dustin Johnson

Example: Dustin Johnson, another long-hitting professional, is capable of hitting both high and low drives with precision. He attributes this to his ability to adjust his swing mechanics on demand, ensuring that he can control the trajectory based on course conditions and strategy.


In your journey to overcome the challenge of hitting your driver too high, you’ve explored various aspects of the game, from swing mechanics to equipment considerations, and even gained insights from professional golfers. Now, let’s recap the key strategies discussed and encourage you to experiment and find the right balance for your unique playing style:

  • Swing Mechanics: Adjust your swing mechanics by focusing on the angle of attack, swing speed, follow-through, and grip pressure to achieve a lower trajectory.
  • Ball Position and Tee Height: Experiment with your ball position and tee height to find the optimal setup for a lower ball flight.
  • Equipment Considerations: Choose the right driver with appropriate loft, undergo custom fitting, select the correct shaft flex, and consider the golf ball’s impact on your trajectory.
  • Drills and Practice Routines: Incorporate drills like the swing plane drill, impact bag drill, and follow-through control into your practice sessions. Use tee height variation and launch monitor feedback to fine-tune your game.
  • Professional Insights: Gain valuable tips from professional golfers like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, and learn from case studies of players like Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson who have successfully adjusted their drive height.

Remember that golf is a game of nuances, and achieving the perfect balance between distance and control takes time and dedication. Don’t be afraid to seek guidance from golf professionals, instructors, or club fitters to refine your technique and equipment choices.

Ultimately, the journey to lowering your driver’s trajectory is a personal one. Experimentation and consistent practice are your allies. Embrace the challenge, stay patient, and enjoy the process of mastering this aspect of your golf game. With dedication and the right adjustments, you can hit your driver with better distance and control.

Now, it’s time to head out to the range, put these strategies into action, and watch your drive height become a strength in your golf game. Happy golfing!

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