Can’t Get Driver in the Air? Try These Simple Fixes

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Without question, a good tee shot can set you up for success on the golf course.

Longer drives equal shorter approach shots. This gives you a better chance of finding an accurate shot into the green, which will vastly improve your scoring.

So, what if you can’t get driver in the air? Without the optimal launch angle, tee shots can prematurely return to the ground, and massively restrict carry distances.

In this article, you’ll learn how to launch the ball higher with your driver. I’ll share some simple ways to help you get the ball in the air, and further down the fairway.

Can’t Get Driver in the Air? Try This:

If you can’t get driver in the air, you need to focus on hitting up against the ball. Tee it higher and forward in your stance, with a slight tilt in your shoulders. Then, swing so that the club head bottoms out before the ball, striking up into the ball.

how to increase launch angle with driver

How to Increase Launch Angle With Driver

If you feel as though you can’t get your driver in the air, you need to work on increasing the launch angle. Put simply, a higher launch angle means a higher ball flight.

To launch your tee shots higher, it’s vital to address these 3 phases:

  1. The setup — how you address the ball
  2. The swing — how you swing the club
  3. The strike — how you impact the ball

Within each phase, there are several key areas to focus on. Let’s dive into them!

Phase 1: The Setup

The first step to a successful tee shot is a good setup.

Firstly, tee the ball higher than you would usually.

Essentially, this will allow you to swing up into the ball for optimal launch. A good rule of thumb is to have the ball’s equator in line with the top edge of the driver’s face.

Next, align the ball with the inside of your front heel.

Positioning the ball forward in your stance will allow you to strike the ball on the up, further emphasizing the feeling of launching the ball upwards — rather than flat.

Drop your trail shoulder below your lead shoulder.

In effect, this adds a tilt to your spine to encourage you to hit up on the ball. Keep both shoulders parallel to your target line — simply drop the trail one slightly lower.

PRO TIP: Stand in an athletic stance, with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. This will keep you balanced, and enable you to use the ground to generate valuable power and distance.

the driver setup

Phase 2: The Swing

If you can’t get your driver in the air, it’s likely that you’re swinging down on the ball.

Swing with plenty of speed through the ball.

To launch the ball higher, you need speed. By adding speed to your driver swing, the ball will travel further on the same trajectory before returning to the ground.

Focus on having a wide takeaway to maximize club speed.

By adding width to the driver swing, you’re effectively increasing the distance the club head travels in the swing arc. This will increase club speed and ball speed.

Feel the sensation of swinging from low to high.

Ideally, the driver swing should bottom out before reaching the ball. This allows the club head meets the ball with an ascending angle of attack.

PRO TIP: Rehearse short practice swings to achieve the “low to high” motion as you strike the ball.

driving the ball off the tee

Phase 3: The Strike

The strike has a fundamental effect on how to get the driver in the air.

Find the center of the clubface.

Interestingly, the face of a driver is actually slightly curved. This means hitting the driver low on the face will effectively deloft the club, and launch the ball too low.

Therefore, it’s vital to try and strike the ball as close to the center as possible. Not only will this produce straighter shots, but it will also optimize the launch angle off the tee.

PRO TIP: Use Strike Spray to monitor precisely where you’re striking the ball on the clubface with your tee shots.

Check out the video below by Clay Ballard of Top Speed Golf. He covers some useful tips on how to hit up on the driver to generate high-launching tee shots:


Here are some common questions in regard to hitting better tee shots with the driver.

How to Stop Hitting Down on Driver?

To stop hitting down on the driver, tee the ball higher and forward in your stance. This allows the swing path to bottom out before the ball, striking the ball on the up.

Not only does striking down on your tee shots cause a low launch angle, but it also imparts unwanted spin on the ball. By shifting your ball position to strike up against the ball, you will be able to raise the launch angle while reducing driver spin.

How Much Loft Should My Driver Have?

Most drivers should have between 9 and 12 degrees of loft.

However, lower-lofted drivers can be used by players with faster swing speeds. This enables the ball to be optimally launched at a lower trajectory, accounting for the faster ball speed off the face. This results in greater carry distances.

Conversely, drivers with higher lofts of up to 14º can be useful for higher-handicap golfers who struggle to get the ball in the air off the tee.

Why Am I Struggling to Hit My Driver?

Often, struggles with the driver are caused by an incorrect ball position, a lack of width in the swing, as well as not having enough balance.

Focus on these 5 simple tips on how to hit a driver:

  1. Tee height — Ball equator in line with the top edge of the clubface
  2. Ball position — In line with the inside of your front heel
  3. Width of stance — Inside of your heels shoulder-width apart
  4. Upper body tilt — Slight tilt creates an upward angle of attack
  5. Width & balance — Wide takeaway with balanced follow-through

Ultimately, the driver swing differs greatly from the typical golf swing used for the other clubs in your bag. Rather than hitting down on the ball, you want to hit upwards.

PRO TIP: Try to remove any tension in your swing. This will enable you to swing freely, giving you the best chance of making solid and square contact with the ball.

why am i struggling to hit my driver


In summary, if you can’t get your driver in the air, you need to focus on increasing your launch angle off the tee. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. The setup — tee the ball high and forward, add shoulder tilt
  2. The swing — swing up on the ball with plenty of club speed
  3. The strike — aim to strike the ball with the center of the face

Breaking these steps down helps to visualize the bones of a good swing.

However, we all know golf isn’t a simple game!

Ultimately, you should use these tips to isolate the problems in your own swing. Then, put in the hours of practice and you’ll be launching high tee shots in no time.

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Hailing from the South West of England, Jake has been playing golf for over a decade. He founded Pitchmarks with the aim of helping everyday golfers like himself learn more about the game, through instructional content and honest gear reviews. He has a degree in Architecture and a passion for golf course design, along with a lofty goal to play the world's top 100 courses.