How to hit a low drive like McIlroy

Golf Tips

Elite coach Dan Whittaker takes a look at Rory's new fairway finder and explains how you can add it to your game

For years we’ve all enjoyed Rory McIlroy launching his high bombs with the driver but, in recent times, he has added a little low cut into his armoury.

As he explained in a post-round interview it should play a big part in his plans for 2019 and beyond.

“I’ve had it for awhile. I’ve been able to hit it but I’ve just never been comfortable doing it. I went to a different setting with my driver at the end of last year, in an M3, and then it was working really well with that. And then I worked with the TaylorMade guys and the M5 and I kept saying to them, I want to have this shot in my bag,” he said.

“I realised last year that I’ve got enough distance. I need to get the ball more in play. I want my driving accuracy to get up into the 60 per cent number. So that’s when I started to try to hit these shots that I know are going to hit the fairway and are going to get in play. Having a driver with a little more spin where you can launch it lower and it holds its line in that trajectory is something that I wanted a little bit more and that’s what the guys built me.”

So how does he do it?

He seems to be hitting a little cut which is an easier shape to hit for this type of shot as it helps you stay on top of the ball through impact more and retain your spine angle.

Rory has always hit a standard draw and that swing is quite in to out and he’s hitting up on it quite a lot. With this shot he has the ball a tiny bit back in the stance and is more open then usual but he then covers the ball and stays on top of the ball throughout the shot and that makes it easier to deliver less loft.

Gripping it normally would mean hitting down on the ball more and creating more backspin so he also grips down the club by maybe an inch.

What is also interesting is that his ball flight for this shot is 181mph which is the highest of the four so it obviously helps him find the middle of the clubface and his smash factor is great.

What to practise: When playing this shot it won’t work if you try to steer it into play, you’ve got to be completely committed to it and it’s all about the chest and spine being over the ball.

There are two ways to do that, the first is to open up the lower half a little bit and get your weight towards your left heel.

And a great feel is to try and get the right shoulder past the ball at impact. The more that is the less loft there will be. You can’t do this artificially with the hands, it happens through having the correct body motion – and that means the combo of the chest staying forwards and the right shoulder leading the shot and that delivers the less loft.

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Dan Whittaker is an elite golf swing and performance coach based at High Legh. For more information, visit his website.

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