Some golfers find it difficult to control the ball and ensure that shots are in play due to the length of the driver.
This is why some players begin to choke down on their driver and almost immediately notice the effect it has on how they play.
I’ve tried this concept, especially when I was younger (and even shorter). The results are… interesting and not necessary for everyone. Some people can be quite comfortable with the driver being choked down, but others need to think twice before using this strategy.
Let’s take a look at what choking down on your driver will do for your game.
The Pros and Cons of Choking Down on Your Driver
There are a few reasons golfers might feel compelled to give up on their driver. The club is too long and can make it difficult for some players to adjust. This is the first and most obvious reason why golfers choke down on a driver. Golfers can choke down when they lose control of the club.
Better contact with The Center of The Club Head
If you want to make consistent contact with the center of the club head, it’s easiest to do it with a shorter club.
You may have noticed that you can hit your pitching ball more consistently with your 4 iron than you can with your pitching tool. This is because the 4 iron is much longer and makes it harder to find the sweet spot.
When something is further away, it’s harder to be accurate; when it’s closer, you have more control. If you feel you are touching the heel, toe or bottom of the clubhead, you may need to chew down on the driver in order to find the sweet spot.
I consider lower trajectory both a pro as well as a con.
Sometimes it is a good idea to hit the ball lower than normal. This lower trajectory is great if the wind blows in your face or you are playing in colder conditions and want to get the ball down the fairway.
A lower trajectory won’t necessarily make you hit the ball further, but it does play well to the accuracy of the shot, and you should be able to hit it a bit straighter. Choking down on your club will make the club stiffer and lower the trajectory.
Spin can be difficult for some players to control with the driver in their hands. You can try to reduce the backspin or spin of your driver by choking down. Some golfers notice a greater forward roll and spin when they are using a choked-down driver.
Today’s drivers are more skilled at spin than ever before. So the technology will already be on your side here; it’s just a matter of combining it with the correct swing and setup.
Club Management: Better Control
From the tee box, control is the key to the game. I have played with so many great players that can hit the ball a mile, but if you can’t keep it in play, what is the point of hitting it straight?
You can do so much on the golf course if you can control your golf club. If you are trying to hit a fade, or draw, I recommend that you slow down and take it all in stride. It will be much easier to finish the process if you have a shorter club in your hand.
The Cons of Choking down on Your Driver
Unfortunately, choking on a driver is not an ideal solution. For some players, there are issues with total distance and tempo. Let’s face the facts here if this was a perfect solution, all golfers would do it, but that is not the case.
Distance is less
Expect to lose a little distance if you are too hard on your driver. Although the distance difference should be huge, nobody likes to lose any distance while driving. Drivers can expect to lose approximately 5 to 15 years.
Standard drivers measure approximately 45 to 46 inches in length. By choking down, you reduce the club’s length, making it more difficult for you to get the shot you want.
It’s almost like hitting a 3 wood with a driver’s head on it. On an easy hole with no trouble in front of you, don’t worry about choking down on the driver. Play the longer fairway to get the most distance.
Slower Club Head Speed
Choking down on the driver can also slow down your club headspeed. Of course, you may think that choking up on the club makes it shorter and easier to swing faster, but this isn’t the case.
Some players may lose speed because the club swing weight is higher and the shaft is more stiff from choking down. This won’t be the case for all golfers, but it’s something to consider and think about when deciding if this is a good method for you to use on the course.
Lower Ball Flight
As I said, lower ball flight can be both positive or negative.
It is a good idea to keep the ball in the air for long periods of time. You will get great carry and the best results. However, a lower launch and trajectory will lead to a shorter distance.
Choking up is not the best way to go if you want a high-flying driver that glides down the fairway’s center.
If you’ve ever thought about cutting down an old golf driver shaft in order to make it more suitable for younger players, you’re doing them a disservice. You make the club stiffer by reducing the shaft length.
Slower swing speed players will have a difficult time dealing with a stiffer shaft. Professional golfers don’t seem too affected by this, as this minor adjustment doesn’t counteract their fast speeds.
If you choke down on the driver, your golf swing can become erratic. Players can inadvertently increase grip tension, forget to complete a backswing, or lose their balance when they choke down on the golf clubs.
You can improve your golf tempo through practice on the driving range. Also, learn how to not change your swing if you choke down. This is a good tip to keep in mind if you feel your swing isn’t the same after choking down.
How to decide if you should sit down on your driver
Sometimes the playing conditions and some aspects of our golf swing will help us decide if it makes sense for us to slow down on our driver. Here are the things to consider.
Keep your dispersion rate down when it’s cold, windy and wet. It is difficult enough to play golf. These drives will get you through the rough conditions.
On nice weather days when your swing feels fluid, and you aren’t as concerned with control and a lower launch, choking down on the driver is likely not necessary.
Trouble on The Hole
Golfers who are good at golf course management can accurately assess a hole and decide if it’s wise to swing away or keep things a bit more under control. If a hole is in less trouble, you can expect to have a higher clubhead speed and greater distance.
It is a good idea to keep your driver in check when the hole is full of water hazards, sand traps or out-of-bounds. For holes like these, some golfers may also use a 3 Wood.
The player’s height is another important consideration. If you are a taller player, it makes sense for your club to be held at the top. A longer driver can sometimes feel more difficult to control for shorter golfers. If this is the case then you can simply move the club further down.
A shorter driver may be a better choice if you do this a lot. Instead of ordering a custom-fitted driver after the fact, you can buy this type of golf driver directly from the manufacturer.
When you purchase direct, the club weighting and stiffness of the shaft can be double-checked before it’s put into your hands.
How far you should go
Many golfers don’t know how far down the shaft to choke down on a driver. This will depend on your comfort level and the results you get.
Most players find that choking down to one inch above the top of the driver is enough. Even though it is a small amount, it has a significant impact on the shot’s length and ability to get the ball into the fairway.
Keep in mind that most grips for golf have a taper. This means that the club will feel smaller in your hands the further you choke down. This can have an impact on your ability turn the club around, and some players are unable to do so.
The next time you’re at the driving range, try a few swings choking down on your driver and see how it works out.