If there's anything I've learned about golf, it's that all the little things make a huge difference. For example, if you look up a second too early, it will throw off your entire shot. That's why making sure you have the right equipment is just as important as say, oh, I don't know, making sure you maintain your focus and patience longer than three holes. Not that I know anyone who needs to work on patience.
So how the heck are you supposed to pick out a driver? This is the club most often used for hitting those long, powerful shots from the tee to the fairway.
I was lucky enough to interview golf pro Dave Mahoney, a teaching and playing professional who spends half the year in Miami and the other half teaching in upstate New York.
Check out Mahoney's five tips for finding an appropriate driver, or 1-wood, something that will become a great tool for you to learn and improve with.
1) Get a club that is the proper length for you. If you are a woman, get a women's-length driver; don't use a driver that is men's-length unless you are built like a man. Beginning junior golfers should do the same. If the club is too big, it will hinder your development as a golfer and can contribute to bad swing habits. If the club is too short for you, it will take away from your distance potential.
2) Get a driver with a big head on it. The bigger the head the more room for error you will have. The bigger the sweet spot the easier it is to hit decent shots.
3) Loft up. Get a driver that has at least 10 degrees of loft. The more loft you put on your driver the easier it will be to hit the ball straight.
4) Make a rough estimate of how hard you can swing the club, and then pick a shaft that will work for you. Rate yourself against Tiger Woods. In other words, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being your grandma and 10 being Tiger Woods, establish how hard you think you can swing. If you swing closer to your grandma's speed, you may want to get a club with a shaft that is very flexible. If you are somewhere in between, you may want something that is regular in flex. And if you think you can swing as hard as Tiger without falling over, get a stiff or extra-stiff shaft.
Getting the right shaft will help you to maximize distance and control.
5) Go take a lesson or 10. You will progress much faster and enjoy hitting your driver much more. If you don't understand the fundamentals before you start practicing, it will be very difficult to hit good shots at even a somewhat consistent level.
To find out more about Dave Mahoney and how you can schedule a lesson with him or read his eye-opening blogs about the psychology behind golf, go to http://www.davemahoneygolf.com/about-dave.