Breaking 90- Mastering The Drive

Welcome back to Breaking 90! Your home for tips, tricks, and strategies that will help you and me finally join our buddies in the 80’s. I hope last week’s focus on warming up left you with nothing but great shots and low scores. I am happy to say that I had a great round. Although, when it was all said and done I shot 95. I was in the sand nine, yes nine, times. A few bad bounces led to some extra strokes here and there, but that’s golf right?

How did you guys make out last week? Did a more concise and regimented warm up help prepare you for your round? Is there something you did that helped you get ready for your round that you would like to share? Let me know in the comments down below.

Now that we are warm, loose, and ready to play, lets head to the first tee. Does anyone other than me get first tee nerves? Oh wait, that’s a stupid question. We all do. I get them, you get them, Rory gets them, and Phil gets them. It is just part of the game.

I will never forget the pounding in my chest I used to get as I stood over my ball. My hands used to shake because I got myself so worked up. Mentally I was wreck. It wasn’t until I stopped thinking about the numbers and all the other distractions out on the course that I started seeing improvement in my game. I found that being mentally prepared was just as important as the physical part of the game. Being able to start off on a positive note from my first swing was a great way to build my confidence for the rest of the round. That easily shaved three strokes off my game.

So hole number one. It is a 427-yard par 4, water up the left side with a nice big fat lovely bunker guarding the green on the front-side left. What a treat right? Just out of curiosity, what club would you play here? I’d venture to say 85% of you say Driver, while another 14% go with some combination of 3-wood/5-wood for accuracy.  Me? Believe it or not I am going to grab my 4-hybrid.


Yeah you heard me. Screw the distance.


My goal on this tee, or any tee for that matter, isn’t to hit the ball as far as possible. Rather, I am looking to land my ball in the safest place possible.  Center cut of the fairway is optimal, but as long as I keep it dry and have good look at the hole for my second shot I am happy. For a beginner golfer it is so tempting to try and wail on it with the Driver like the pros. That is not to say don’t hit your Driver. But if you are not confident yet in the results it is going to get you, I say keep it in the bag until you it becomes a club you trust. And that goes for any club, not just your Driver.

I struggled for months with the nastiest slice in the world when hitting my driver. I mean the thing could cut a block of cheddar cheese in January it was so sharp. But I knew I was money every time with my hybrid. I was more than happy to sacrifice the 50 extra yards when I didn’t have to hunt for my ball in the woods after every tee shot. Is there a club other then the your driver that you like to hit off the tee? Hey maybe it’s a 7-iron, nothing wrong with that. As long as you are comfortable and confident, give it a rip.

Now tell me, what is more frustrating then finally getting to that first tee and as soon as you make contact with the ball you know exactly what you did wrong? Nothing, right? Immediately you think, “My weight was back.” Or “I didn’t rotate my hips.” Or “I bent my left arm on my downswing.” It is times like these that I am thankful the kart girls carry a heavy supply of Miller Light.

So I say give it a rip, but what I really mean is swing your swing. Swing the swing you have repeated thousands of times at the range. Swing the swing that you know works for you. Swing the swing that you are confident in. Swing the swing that’s going to get you into the 80’s. So often we forget about all the hours we spent grinding away at the range the minute each stroke counts. It only makes sense that the combination of resolute focus and total confidence will lead to great results during your future rounds.

That’s all I have for you this week. I hope Breaking 90 gave you a little better idea of how to approach your first swing(s) of the day. It only stands to reason that setting yourself up for success right from the start is the simplest way to start lowering your score. If you would like to share any tips or advice you use to get off the tee I would love to hear them. Please share them in the comments. Remember, this is all about getting you AND me under 90.

Summer may be over, but there is still a ton of golf to play. That 89 is right around the corner. I can feel it. See you next week!

Michael Schiliro

“If aliens came down from space and I had to make a six foot putt to save the human race… Adios Earth.”

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