Driver Ball Position: Secret to Longer Drives

By Todd Kolb
March 30, 2023

Are You Using the Right Driver Ball Position? Learn How One Small Setup Mistake Could Be Adding Unnecessary Strokes to Your Score.

Correcting your driver ball position has got to be one of the easiest ways to get more distance off the tee.

And yet, it’s the one detail most golfers are getting wrong. 

Are you among the many who could be launching rockets if you just made one tiny adjustment to your driver setup?

You’re about to find out. I’m going to break it down for you, including:

  • How driver ball position defines the outcome of your drives
  • How to tee up for solid contact and eye-popping distance
  • Where to position the ball so you catch it at the perfect upward angle

Plus, I’ll share two bonus tips borrowed from the greatest driver of all time.

Let’s get into it.

Why Driver Ball Position is the Key to Better Distance

You’ve probably learned the formula for getting killer distance with your driver. If you haven’t, it’s simple… at least on paper.

The goal is to hit the golf ball at an upward angle and nail it in the center of the clubface. That’s going to increase launch and decrease spin, which in turn causes the ball to carry farther and roll out when it lands.

So what does this have to do with driver ball position?

Imagine the shape of your swing as a hula hoop. As you swing down, you’ll eventually reach the low point of the hoop. After the low point, the clubhead starts traveling upward again.

Your goal is to hit the ball after the low point, when the clubhead begins its ascent. (This is why we tee up the golf ball.) In order to do that, the ball must be in front of the low point.

Now, all things being equal, the low point of your swing is going to hit at the center of your stance. That means the ideal driver ball position is slightly forward in your stance.

I’m about to give you some tips to help you find that perfect ball position, as well as a few pointers for ensuring solid, center-of-the-face contact. 

This is advice anyone can follow, but if you have a Vertical Line Board, you can look forward to some bonus tips for using the board to practice these skills. 

If you’re not familiar with the Board, this is a compact training aid designed to help you master a variety of shot-defining fundamentals. It helps with everything from ball position to swing path and something else. You can learn more here.

Now that we know what we’re trying to accomplish when we set up to the tee, let’s talk strategy.

Tee It Up for Ascending, Center-Strike Contact

Before we can get into driver ball position, we gotta tee it up. And the height of your tee is going to determine the success of your ball flight. 

Fortunately, there’s a really easy trick for finding the perfect tee height.

When you set the driver on the ground behind the tee, half of the ball should be visible above your driver.

That’s it. When you tee it up at that height and you find the correct driver ball position, you’re set up to find the center of the clubface effortlessly, every time.

Fine-Tune Your Setup With the Vertical Line Board

If you use the Vertical Line Board, look for the High Launch Slot. This shows you where to place your tee for optimal launch on your driver shots. Combine that positioning with the trick I just gave you for finding your tee height, and you’ll be golden.

Now let’s talk about driver ball position.

Find Your Driver Ball Position

As you now know, you want to hit up on your driver, which means you need to get the ball slightly forward in your stance. (Side note: if you have a lot of skymarks on your driver, that’s a telltale sign that you’ve been positioning the ball too far back.)

So how far forward does the ball need to be? And how do you find that ideal spot?

I’ve got a simple routine I encourage all my students to do until they’re able to find their driver ball position automatically. It’s like this:

  1. Stand with your feet together and imagine a line starting between your heels and leading straight out in front of you. Position the ball on that imaginary line.
  2. Step your lead foot slightly toward the target.
  3. Step your trail foot back as far as you need for a comfortable stance width. (If you’re an experienced golfer who’s lost a little balance over the years, don’t be afraid to widen your stance. It’ll give you more stability.)

Easy, right?

Fine-Tune Your Setup With the Vertical Line Board

For truly precise ball positioning, use your Vertical Line Board.

All you have to do is position your feet along the alignment bar and tee up in the High Launch Slot. You’ll see right away that this driver setup gets the golf ball just inside your lead instep, which is a great position for solid contact and high launch.

Get Better Contact the Jack Nicklaus Way

I promised you a couple tips inspired by the greatest driver of all time, Jack Nicklaus.

These tricks give you a huge return on your effort investment. In other words, they’re ridiculously easy to apply.

The first tip: hover the clubhead behind the ball at address. 

A lot of golfers have the tendency to set up with the head of the driver resting on the ground. This means you’re starting with the ground bearing the weight of the club; you’re going to have to pick that weight up in the takeaway. That throws off your rhythm.

But if you have the weight of the club in your hands from the very beginning, you’ll get a smoother takeaway and a better shot.

The second tip: square the clubface.

I know, I know. Not exactly rocket science. But here’s what you may not know:

The design of traditional drivers makes squaring the clubface tougher than it should have to be. When you take your driver setup and put a little distance between yourself and the ball, you lower your shaft angle. And when that angle lowers, the clubface wants to rotate open.

To make matters worse, your driver’s long shaft puts you a greater distance from the ball, making it harder to judge the orientation of your clubface. That’s why drivers are notoriously difficult to aim. But there is a way to make it easier.

Fine-Tune Your Setup With the Vertical Line Board

If you’re practicing with a Vertical Line Board, use the center gray line to make sure your clubface is square to the target. This long, crisp line makes it way easier to accurately visualize both your target line and clubface orientation when you’re standing so far from the ball.

Driver Ball Position in a Nutshell

Pretty easy tips to follow, right? There’s nothing too complex here, and yet, this advice can utterly transform your time on the tee. It doesn’t take long to turn these tips into habit, but here’s a quick checklist you can reference while you’re getting them down:

  • Tee the ball so that half off the ball is visible above the clubhead when you rest the driver on the ground behind the ball.
  • Position the ball forward in your stance, just inside your lead instep.
  • Hover the clubhead behind the golf ball at address.
  • Make sure the clubface is actually square to the target.

Make these four simple adjustments, and I guarantee you’ll start seeing way more distance and better accuracy off the tee.

Questions? Comments?

Did this advice work for you? Do you have any questions or a difference of opinion?

Jump into the comments and let us know where you’re from and what’s on your mind. I love hearing from you and doing whatever I can to help you play a better game.

Want more tips and resources designed specifically for the everyday golfer? Stop by! We’ve got more articles and products there that will help you improve your game by simplifying it. (Who even knew that was possible?) You’re gonna love it.

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