Driver Toe up at Address: Is It Optimal for Strike?

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Key Takeaways

  • Set up your driver with the toe 5-7 degrees off the ground. This improves strike, alignment, and maximizes distance.
  • A toe-up position gets your hands ahead at impact for solid contact. It also allows a more comfortable grip.
  • Ensure your driver shaft is the correct length for your setup.

How do you hold your driver at address? Is it toe up, heel up, or flat?

Naturally, many golfers think the driver should rest flat on the ground.

But guess what? Having the driver flat in your setup position could actually be costing you distance, accuracy, and consistency off the tee!

Instead, you should have the driver toe up at address.

In this article, I’ll explain why having the toe of the driver raised slightly off the ground will help you unlock a better, and more consistent strike.

Should the Driver Toe Be Up at Address?

Yes, having the driver toe up at address by about 5-7 degrees will help you make contact in the correct spot on the clubface, maximize your distance, and increase your overall speed through the ball. A proper setup position with your driver also improves clubface alignment and shot trajectory.

how should the driver sit at address

How Should the Driver Sit at Address?

Optimally, the driver should sit with the toe in the air by a few degrees. To do this, simply drop the handle of the club slightly in your natural setup position.

Adopting a proper setup position like this makes it significantly easier to control the clubface and maximize distance with your tee shots.

It also helps to negate the nasty slice experienced by many everyday golfers.

How exactly does it help? Let’s dive into the details.

Address Position vs Impact Position

When setting up with the toe of your driver even just slightly up, you will get your hands in a better position at impact. Returning your hands to impact so they are just slightly ahead of the ball (as opposed to behind it) is ideal.

Simply put, a toe-up position allows this to happen.

Try it now with your hands and you will see that when you push the bottom of the club flat on the ground, your hands start to push behind the ball. 

In addition, getting this correct impact position will allow you to maximize distance with a center strike. Not only will you get more yardage, but also a straighter shot.

Longer Shaft Length

Also, having the driver toe up at address will help you manage the shaft length.

The length of your driver is likely between 44 and 45 inches. This is significantly longer than any other club in your bag.

With the longer shaft, you’ll naturally stand further away from the ball. Keeping the hands lower will feel more comfortable, which pushes the toe off the ground. 

In addition, the swing plane for clubs with longer lengths is a bit more shallow. A more shallow path with your driver is certainly not a bad thing!

However, if you force yourself to keep the driver head flat on the ground, it could very much throw off your swing plane and club path. 

Bottom line: If you want to hit straight shots, don’t force the toe down at address.

how does shaft length affect club head position

Grip Positioning

Another benefit of having the driver toe up at address is that it forces you to grip the club more in your fingers, rather than in your palms.

When you try to force the toe down, the grip will sit in the palms. The problem with using the palms is that you lose a lot of inherent power in the swing.

To maintain plenty of power in your drives, you’ll want to keep the grip of the driver in your fingers. Likewise, having a slightly stronger grip is a smart choice.

Ultimately, having the correct grip position goes a long way to generating more ball speed and distance. This sets you up for shorter approach shots.

Test this one for yourself, and you’ll see that the higher you put your hands (to get the driver flat), the more the club will slip into your palms.

Optimal Launch Angle

Finally, having the driver toe up at address also allows you to achieve the proper launch angle at impact. This results in optimal flight and distance.

Higher swing speed players, like PGA Tour players, often have a launch of around 10-12 degrees, whereas slower swing speed players will have a higher launch of around 14-16 degrees to promote an optimal ball flight. 

When the driver is slightly more toe up, you can achieve that ideal angle of attack, reduce backspin, and get a more solid and centered strike.

Golf instructor Mark Crossfield discusses this theory in the video below:

The Importance of Club Fitting 

When going in for a custom club fitting, make sure to discuss this “toe up” concept with your fitter. This will help you understand the ideal lie angle for your driver.

If you can’t get your club into a position that feels comfortable, don’t buy it! 

Some players feel like the driver head is too far away from them, so they end up forcing the toe down when they move closer to the ball. 

If that’s the case for you, get a shorter driver! 

Importantly, if you’re not of average height and arm length, you shouldn’t worry about playing with a standard length driver.

Instead, find something that allows your arms to hang naturally and gives you the ability to return the clubface to the ball in a square position. 

Comfort = Confidence 

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that having the driver toe up at address is going to feel so much more comfortable than trying to force a flat-bottomed club. 

Play around with what feels comfortable to you, and then see if you can jump on a launch monitor to get some personalized data for your unique swing. 

I also recommend taking some videos of your swing and looking at how the path and plane are impacted by where you set the driver at address.

effects of hitting the driver off the toe


By now, you know my vote is to have the driver slightly toe up around 5-7 degrees.

But, this concept comes with some concerns for golfers. Below are a few common questions regarding the concept of having the driver toe up at address.

How Do I Stop Hitting My Driver on the Toe?

If you’re hitting your driver on the toe, it’s likely because of an issue with setup.

To fix this, make sure you’re not standing too far from the ball and that your spine angle is not changing throughout the entirety of your driver swing.

By standing in the correct position, with your hands resting naturally below your shoulders, you can deliver the clubface consistently with each swing.

Similarly, maintaining a consistent spine angle helps to remove any inconsistencies from your driver swing. Focus on a rotation, rather than a swaying action.

Does Hitting off the Toe Cause a Hook?

Yes, hitting off the toe of a golf club can certainly impact the direction of your golf ball and put a little hook spin on it. This happens because of the gear effect.

Pro tip

When the ball makes contact with the heel or toe, it will cause the clubface to close or open at impact. This affects the spin of the ball, forcing it to turn towards the center of gravity. This is the gear effect.

However, to hit a severe hook the clubface will need to be closed to the path. A toe shot is weaker than a center strike, but on its own, it should not cause a big hook.

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Britt's passion for golf began at age 7, and she's been playing for over 30 years. A Division I College Athlete with a +1 handicap, she's also a former PGA Teaching Professional. Now a business owner and published author, Britt's love for the game continues to inspire golfers of all levels, as she shares her insights and expertise.