I hate to admit it, but the most important golf club in your bag is probably the driver. Why are drivers the most important? Because if you can’t drive the ball far and accurately, you will probably not feel positive about the rest of your game. If you have no confidence, it’s very likely that your game will fall apart. In other words, if you can hit your first shot long and straight down the fairway, you will feel like you can score well, and that positive reinforcement will very likely help you to play well. Not only that, but that first shot sets up the rest of the hole. If you can hit your first shot to set up a second shot with no obstructions, and within range of a high iron (like a wedge club), you will have a much better chance of scoring a par.
On a personal note, when I was young, in shape and healthy, I could hit my driver better than just about anyone that I ever played with. I had a lot of confidence and “swagger” because of it. There is an honest to goodness psychological effect of knowing that your ball is going to end up right down the middle, and 30 to 50 yards past the next guy’s. As for the guy’s that I used to play with, they knew that they were going to be playing from behind. I had many of them tell me that playing with me made them feel like a girl. I’m not saying this to brag really. In fact, nowadays I can hit my long irons further than my driver quite often. There are even some guys out there that can hit the ball off the tee further than me with their dang putter! I’m sharing this story to try and explain that knowing how to hit off of the tee box can make the rest of your game a heck of a lot easier. You will end up in a mental position to play the best game that you can, and you won’t be down on yourself and angry because you know that the rest of the hole will require you to play catch up.
A driver (also known as a 1 wood) has the lowest loft of any of the woods. While fairway woods are made to hit the ball long and low to the ground, your driver will it even lower and farther. A driver’s loft is only nine to thirteen degrees. The club head is much larger than any other club, and the shaft is the longest of any of them. On most holes, outside of par 3’s, this will be the first club that you use when teeing off. It’s also one of the most difficult ones to hit, for many people.
It is also the most expensive club, with many of them costing more than a complete set of irons. You can buy a new driver for as little as $20, but these are usually very cheaply made ones that are usually sold for junior or beginner golfers. Most modern ones today will cost you anywhere from $100 to around $500. In fact, the ones that are made for professional golfers (or very rich ones) can cost thousand of dollars.
You can now get a driver that has been finely tuned for you, These customized clubs can be tailored to your specific style and swing. You can select your flex of the shaft, which will decide how the energy is released and stored in your swing. You can choose your loft angle, which will determine the backspin of the ball and the launch angle. You can pick the offset, which will determine the angle that the face of the club will have to the golf ball at impact. You can also pick the mass of the head, which will help to maximize the club for your swing speed. Lastly, you can even choose the center of mass, which will also help to determine the spin on the ball and the launch angle.
So how do you feel about hitting a driver? What kind do you have? How much did it cost you? Can you hit it well?