Perfecting The Long Game

Tips, Tricks, and Tutorials to Improve Skills With Drive and Irons

Male golfer preparing to hit tee shot
Thomas Barwick/Iconica/Getty Images

In golf, drivers and irons are used for what's called the "long game," which consists of hitting the ball as far as the golfer can to drive it closer to the hole. This skill, also known as full swing, is essential to completing regulation holes under par, but oftentimes beginners struggle to perfect their long game.

Fortunately, there are a number of resources out there for self-starting beginners who want to work on hitting those long, straight, consistent drives down the fairway toward the hole.

The following helpful tips and tricks cover everything from how to fix ball flight issues to sources of power in a swing including the angle of attack and preventing clubhead lag.

No matter what level of expertise a golfer is, knowing the fundamentals of drivers and irons, of the long game itself, is essential to better a player's end score on each hole. As always, practice makes perfect so read on and get out to the fairway to hone your craft.

Driver Fundamentals: Identifying Issues

One of the first things new golfers notice after teeing off are the errors in the ball's flight — perhaps it hooks off to one side because the golfer accidentally  sliced the ball or it pushes along the same direction without curving back toward the hole at all — but there are fortunately a number of helpful tips on correcting these common problems.

First, the golfer should understand what a mis-hit is and how to correct common errors like thin shots, which occur when the club hits the ball on or below its center or when the leading edge of the clubface hits the ball first (blading), resulting in a very low, unpredictable flight pattern that may go further than intended.

Other mis-hits include mistaken hooks, topping the ball, shanks, skyballs, and fat shots, all of which can be corrected with a bit of practice and clear instruction and, once corrected, these issues can indeed be utilized instead as techniques in specific circumstances and difficult situations that call for less traditional shots.

Difficult Shots and Unique Drives

Whether you're drilling with a 7-iron or using a driver to launch your ball as far down the fairway as possible, the long game relies on long, straight, consistent strokes to get the job done and make way for the short game, but sometimes a hit goes awry and you wind up in a divot or lost on the fairway.

If you're new to golf, remember the fundamentals even when facing these adversities — keep your head still, don't sky the driver, and hit the ball right where intended. Perhaps you'll need to hit a punch shot, but the important thing is to focus on the skills you already do know and get yourself closer to the hole — and onto smoother fairway, if you're in a ditch!

Again, practice will help in any situation. If you're dealing with a low trajectory, focus on the impact position and slowly walk through the motions of hitting the ball exactly where you need to in order to lift the ball's flight higher. Practicing in front of a mirror, especially while watching a tutorial video, with vastly improve self-awareness and provide insight into how to correct basic posture and style to accommodate for mis-hits.