There might not be a better feeling in golf than splitting the fairway with a powerful tee shot that stretches out past your playing partners. A good tee shot gives you an advantage on your next shot, and builds confidence for the rest of the round. Not having to play from the rough on each hole will make you feel more in control of your round, and your game as a whole.
However, for many players, the tee shot is one of the most troublesome parts of their game. The slice plagues many, and others are just haunted by inconsistency that has them visiting each side of the fairway equally. In order to raise the level of your game over time, you will need to achieve a consistent ball flight that allows you to face the course with a specific game plan, and follow through with executing that plan.
This article will look at three different tips that you can use to build some consistency into your game off the tee. Think about how these tips can change what you do with the driver, and you are sure to see the middle of more fairways as a result.
One of the best ways to gain consistency with the flight of your driver shot is to round out your swing and make it flatter overall. The driver is the longest club in the bag, and therefore should be swung on the flattest plane. However, many golfers make the mistake of swinging the driver in a more up-and-down fashion, such as with a short iron. That swing path is a common cause of the slice, as well as a loss of power. Golfers who swing the driver to steeply also will see a ball flight that has a lot of extra spin and floats too high into the air.
In an effort to swing more ‘around’ instead of up-and-down, try the following drill. Set up with your driver to make a practice swing and place an extra glove under your right armpit (for a right handed golfer). As you start your backswing, focus on keeping your right elbow down and holding the glove in place. If the glove falls as you make your swing, you will know your right elbow has lifted too high away from your side, and the backswing has gotten too steep.
Match Your Shape to the Fairway
While you might not think you are a good enough golfer to adjust your ball flight to the shape of the fairway, you should give it a try. If you are able to make a repeatable swing from hole to hole, you can make some setup adjustments to change the shape of the shot. One of the easiest adjustments is to change how high you tee the ball before you hit your drive.
For a hole that sets up for a draw, you will want to tee the ball higher and give your club more room to attack from the inside. A higher tee height will allow you hit up into the ball and impart the draw spin to get a nice high launch and a draw-shaped shot. For a fade, simply do the opposite. If you wish to fade it, tee it low and make sure to stay down to get it. With less room under the ball, your driver will be coming on a more descending angle and an out-to-in swing path will be easier to achieve. You might sacrifice a little distance by teeing the ball lower, but you should be able to easily match the shape of the hole and increase your chances of finding the short grass.
Pick a Specific Target
One of the most common mistakes among golfers that have trouble finding fairways is the failure to pick a very specific target. It is easy to walk up to the tee and see a big, open fairway and just swing away. When you lack a target to give your swing purpose and direction, you can make a sloppy swing and end up with poor results.
To pick a good target, find something very specific in the distance to aim at. It may be a tree, a building, a bunker that is out of reach, or even a cloud (that isn’t moving too quickly). As you prepare to make your swing, focus on that specific target and ensure that your clubface is aligned perfectly. With the confidence that you are set up in a good direction, make your swing aggressively and watch the ball sail right down the middle, time after time.
By simply working with these three tips, you can quickly and consistently improve the percentage of fairways you hit. Golf is a different game from the short grass, and you will enjoy helping your playing partners look for their golf ball off in the weeds while waiting to hit your easy approach shot. Best of luck with these tips, and play well!