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When you’re struggling to control the ball off the tee, choking down on your driver is a good option to consider.
While it helps with control and accuracy, every golfer is different, so it’s important to understand what choking down on the driver actually contributes to.
With that in mind, we explain everything you need to do to choke down on your driver successfully and illustrate what you can expect from your tee shots when you adjust your grip.
What is Choking Down in Golf?
Choking down in golf is an adjustment that you can make in your address, which makes the golf ball that little bit easier to hit. Choking down sees you move your hands to the very bottom of the grip, helping you control your shot.
For most players, choking down on the golf club results in a slight loss of distance, but it can be a smart move if you’re struggling to hit the ball consistently off the tee or out on the fairway.
Most people grip the golf club towards the top or middle of the grip, so choking down reduces the amount of motion you can generate in your swing. It keeps things that little bit tighter, resulting in a more accurate strike in most instances.
Whether you choke down on a driver, fairway wood, or long iron, doing so is likely to result in more accurate shots. Below, we take a look at choking down in golf in more detail and explain what you can expect from this slight adjustment.
Is it OK to Choke Down on a Driver?
It’s perfectly fine to choke down on a driver, and it can make it that little bit easier to find the sweet spot at the center of your clubface. However, you need to be prepared for the fact that choking down on your driver will cause you to lose some distance.
The best way to think about choking down on the big stick is to think about the different lengths of your irons – your four iron is longer than your seven iron, for instance. As well as its loft, the length of a golf club affects how far you can hit it.
So if you move down the grip when you’re setting up and addressing the ball on the tee with your driver, you will lose distance as a result. This might be as few as 5-10 yards for some people, but other golfers will lose a little more distance.
Ultimately, if you’re struggling to hit your driver off the tee consistently, choking down on the club can be a great way to improve your ball striking and is likely to result in fewer wayward shots.
What Does Choking up on a Driver Do?
Choking up on the driver makes it easier to strike the ball and control where the ball lands. If you’re playing golf on a particularly windy day, shortening your grip will help you strike the ball with a lower trajectory, which will help take the wind out of the equation.
Another reason why you might consider choking up on the driver is if you’re having a particularly tough day and you’re struggling to get the feel of your clubs.
Gripping down an inch enables you to exert more control over your ball striking and will keep the ball in the short stuff more often than not.
Golfers often choke up on the driver if they’re playing a tight hole and there’s not a great deal of space to land the ball on the fairway.
Instead of grabbing a fairway wood from the bag and compromising distance, choking up on your driver will help you get the ball down there with more control.
How Far Should I Choke Down on My Driver?
While every golfer is different, the ideal amount to choke down on your driver is about an inch. You should go as far down the grip as you can without placing your hands around the shaft.
If you choke down and it feels uncomfortable or unnatural, don’t hesitate to shift your hands back up the club a little bit. There’s no right or wrong way to choke down on your driver, and as with every golf shot, you need to feel comfortable in your address.
The whole point of choking down on your driver is to feel more in control of your golf shots, so overcompensating by gripping too far down on the club will cause you more problems than it’s worth.
Spend a little bit of time out on the range adjusting the way you grip your driver, and choking down on the club when it’s necessary on the golf course will feel that little bit more natural.
Does Choking Down Change Swing Weight?
Choking down on the golf club changes its swing weight. It also makes the shaft a little stiffer, which results in a lower ball trajectory and a reduction in distance. This is ideal on days when you’re not at the races or if the wind is up.
It’s best not to choke down on every shot, as you won’t be able to strike the ball as far as you can potentially hit it. So, you need to make sure that you only adjust your grip as and when the situation and conditions require it.
Also, when your swing weight is lighter, you will find it you will find that your swing feels almost effortless, making it a tempting habit to fall into.
When you’re just starting out in golf and are working on your swing, it makes sense to choke down on your driver and irons, as the distance isn’t as important as accuracy.
When you increase your skill level, you can begin gripping up the club to hit your shots that little bit further.
Choke Down on Driver vs Cutting Them Down?
You should only cut down your driver shaft if you are choking down on nearly every shot. This is a tell-tale sign that your shafts are too long and need to be shorter in order to suit your style of golf swing.
Some people make the case that instead of choking down on a driver, it’s better to cut your golf clubs to make them easier to hit.
The reality is that the choice is very much yours, and what you opt for is down to personal preference.
If you’re using second-hand clubs and you find that you’re consistently struggling to hit them well, they might be too long for you. If this is the case, then trading them in or cutting them is a good idea.
However, if you’re normally pretty consistent with your ball striking and you only feel the need to choke down on the grip once in a while, then you probably don’t need to alter the length of your clubs.
Remember, if you cut down your driver shaft, there’s no going back! So, while it’s a viable option if your club shaft is too long and it’s affecting the way that you strike the ball, it’s undoubtedly worth taking your clubs to a custom fitter.
What Does Choking up on a Driver Do?
Overall, choking up on a driver makes it easier to hit for most golfers. The driver is often the club that most beginner and recreational players find the most difficult to hit consistently well.
Therefore, choking up on the grip and shifting your hands down, even if it’s only a couple of centimeters, can help you improve your accuracy and consistency on the tee.
If you find that you’re often walking through the long rough searching for your ball off the tee, choking up on your driver is well worth trying out.
After all, if it doesn’t work particularly well for you and you don’t see the benefit, simply move your hands back into the normal position, and you haven’t lost out.
Is Choking Down for Me?
Choking down on a driver and your irons is a good move if you’re consistently struggling to hit the golf ball straight and true off the tee.
Although you lose a little bit of distance, choking down on the club helps you exert more control over your ball striking and will help you find the middle of the fairway more often than not.
So, if the wind is up during your next round or if you’ve started badly off the tee, shift your hands down the grip ever so slightly and see if it makes a difference to the way you strike the ball.