With over 30 years of experience as a PGA Master Professional, I’ve coached golfers ranging from beginners to professional major tour winners. Today, I’ll be guiding you through mastering the driver. This isn’t just about power; it’s about accuracy and control. Even seasoned players can face setbacks. We’ll address five common mistakes made by amateur golfers, providing direct, actionable advice for improvement. Ready to enhance your game? Let’s begin.

Mistake 1: Incorrect Aiming

One of the first hurdles you’ll face with your driver isn’t about the swing’s power; it’s about where you’re pointing that power. Incorrect aiming on the tee box is a slip-up that’s as common as it is critical. Imagine this: you’ve lined up your shot, confident and ready, but your aim is off. Not by much, maybe, but golf is a game of inches, not yards. This misdirection means your swing has to compensate mid-swing, twisting and tweaking to correct a mistake that happened before the club even hit the ball. It’s like trying to steer a car back on course after you’ve taken the wrong exit – doable, but far from efficient.

So, how do you fix this? First, understanding that where you aim is where you’ll likely end up. Practice makes permanent. Spend time on the range focusing not just on hitting the ball but on hitting it in the right direction. Visualize your target line, from your stance through to where you want the ball to land. Second, use alignment sticks! Alignment sticks are not just for decoration. Third and most critical of all, aim the leading edge of the club. It is what leads the club and the face of the club to your target (more to come here). 

Consistent practice with purposeful aiming will not only improve your accuracy but also make your swing more natural and less corrective. Remember, every shot starts with the aim. Make aim your #1 priority.

Mistake 2: Ignoring the Leading Edge

The biggest oversight that makes the biggest impact on your game is neglecting the alignment of the driver’s leading edge. This might sound like a minor detail, but in golf, it’s the small things that lead to big shifts in your performance. The leading edge of your driver acts almost like a compass, guiding where your ball will head off the tee. If it’s not aligned properly with your intended target, you’re setting up for a detour right from the start.

The direction of your drive is significantly influenced by this alignment. Think of it as setting the trajectory for your ball’s flight path. When the leading edge is squared up with your target, you’re more likely to send the ball exactly where you want it to go. Misalignment, even by a few degrees, can send your ball veering off course, leading to frustrating inconsistencies in your game.

To ensure your driver is correctly aligned, make use of alignment aids during practice sessions. You can lay a club or alignment stick on the ground, pointing towards your target, to serve as a visual guide for aligning your driver’s leading edge. Practice setting up your shot with this alignment in mind, making it a habit. This practice will translate into more accurate drives on the course, reinforcing the importance of precision in every aspect of your game. Remember, consistency in your setup leads to consistency in your shots. Let’s align our way to more accurate drives.

Mistake 3: Ball/Tee Height Issues

A common snag that catches many golfers off guard is the height at which they tee up the ball. It’s a detail that might seem minor, but in golf, it’s the small adjustments that lead to big improvements. Teeing the ball too low can smother your drive, leading to a lower trajectory and less distance. On the flip side, teeing it too high might send the ball soaring higher than intended, sacrificing control and accuracy.

The height of your tee directly influences the angle of attack and the path of your swing. When the ball is teed lower, your club is more likely to approach the ball with a downward strike, limiting loft and carry. A higher tee position encourages an upward strike, promoting better launch and, potentially, more distance. However, too much of a good thing can lead to inconsistency and difficulty in controlling where that ball ends up.

Finding the sweet spot for tee height is key. A good rule of thumb is to have half the ball above the club’s crown when addressing the ball with your driver. This position allows for an optimal angle of attack, helping you achieve a balance of distance and accuracy. Practice teeing at this height and adjust slightly as you learn how it affects your drive. Remember, consistency in your setup leads to consistency in your shots. Let’s make every drive count by paying attention to the small but crucial detail of tee height.

Mistake 4: Poor Ball Position

Another pivotal aspect that often trips up golfers is the position of the ball in their stance, particularly having it too far forward. This positioning can seem like a good idea initially, aiming to increase the loft and carry of the ball. However, it often leads to a misalignment of the clubface at impact, causing the shot to veer off course.

When the ball is too far forward, the natural arc of your swing means the clubface might not be square on impact, leading to slices or hooks instead of that satisfying straight drive. The key here is consistency; your ball position plays a significant role in ensuring the clubface meets the ball just right, every time.

So, how can you find that goldilocks zone for your ball position? A practical tip is to position the ball so it aligns with the inside of your lead foot’s heel for drives. This setup encourages the club to connect with the ball as your swing reaches its bottom, promoting a square clubface and, consequently, a more accurate flight path. Experiment on the range, adjusting slightly as needed until you find the position that brings your shots home. Remember, the goal is to make your game as reliable as possible, and it all starts with where that ball sits before you swing.

Mistake 5: Stance too Wide

A common myth in the world of golf is the need for an excessively wide stance, especially when wielding the driver. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that a broader base automatically translates to more power and stability. However, this isn’t always the case. In fact, too wide a stance can actually hinder your ability to move and generate the necessary power for an effective drive.

When your stance stretches beyond what’s natural for your body, your hips and shoulders become restricted, limiting the range of motion required for a fluid swing. This can lead to a decrease in the torque generated during your swing, ultimately reducing the power behind your drive. Furthermore, an overly wide stance can affect your balance, making it difficult to transfer your weight effectively through the swing.

The key is to find a stance that provides both stability and mobility. For most golfers, this means setting your feet shoulder-width apart, or slightly wider. This position allows for a full rotation of the hips and shoulders, essential for generating power, while still maintaining good balance throughout the swing. Experiment with slight adjustments to find the stance that feels most natural and offers the best combination of stability and flexibility for your swing. Remember, the goal is to create a solid foundation that supports movement, not restricts it.


We’ve navigated through five common yet crucial mistakes: incorrect aiming, improper ball/tee height, wrong ball position, neglecting the driver’s leading edge, and too wide a stance. Each of these can significantly impact your game, but with the practical fixes we’ve shared, you’re now equipped to tackle them head-on. I encourage you to integrate these adjustments into your practice routine and watch as your drives improve. As always, your thoughts and experiences are invaluable to us, so don’t hesitate to drop a comment or question below. Together, we’re on this journey to elevate our golf game.