How Tiger Turned Around His Driving

Aaron Ungvarsky

Aaron Ungvarsky

PGA of America Professional, SwingU Instructor

The FedEx Cup Playoffs have seen Tiger Woods be more than efficient off the tee box. With a notable switch in driver shaft, Woods has jumped considerably in driving accuracy while maintaining above average length. Over the last two weeks, Woods has hit 70% of his fairways, which would rank right around 10th on Tour if extrapolated throughout the season. 

The new shaft works well with the desired swing speed and tempo he is working on. This bodes very well as he looks to finish the FedEx Cup race strong and help the U.S. capture a Ryder Cup on foreign soil.

Note: Always check with a PGA professional to make sure you have the right shaft for your swing speed and characteristics. Just like Tiger, a change in flex, weight and kick point can significantly help.

Tiger’s tempo and smooth transition are a big reason why he is finding more fairways. Looking at his driver swings, we can see that he is smooth away from the ball into a perfect position at the top. He has allowed his arms, hands and club to collect at the top while his lower body begins the downswing.

When Tiger is struggling, the tempo gets quick and the overall motion looks more like a lash at the ball instead of a swing. His arms and hands outrace his body from the top. These are similar flaws that many amateurs have.

Here are steps you can take like Tiger to improve your driving stats.

The Setup

  • Make sure your feet are slightly wider than shoulder width. This will provide stability as you make the biggest and most aggressive swing with the longest club in your bag.
  • Rehearse a smooth and measured takeaway to become comfortable with the proper tempo. We rarely see Tour pros make full-out practice swings. There is a reason for that.
  • Position your right shoulder lower than your left (for a right-handed player) with your head behind the ball. This sets the club on a shallow path for optimal contact and minimal spin. For a driver, the ball position should be just inside your lead foot.

The Swing

  • Feel the club and your left shoulder start together. Doing this ensures the body and club are moving together and there is less of a timing issue involved at impact. Since it is a long club, we need to be patient and allow for a long and smooth backswing to take place.
  • Allow the arms and hands to set the club at the top so the club shaft is pointing down the target line. Once you have achieved this position with the lower body, the legs and hips will start the downswing by uncoiling and rotation through impact.
  • As the lower body begins the downswing sequence, the upper body will follow. At impact, regardless of swing speed, you should find that your hips have rotated open the to the target while your shoulders are square to the target. This allows players of all skill to swing and release the arms, hands and club down the target line, ultimately leveraging power from the differential of the hips and shoulders.
  • Finally, swinging in the proper sequence and with a smooth tempo provides you the convenience of reaching for your tee before the ball lands…because you know you split the fairway like Tiger.