4 Steps to Find the Fairway More Off the Tee
By Keith Stewart, PGA
Will Lowery hits his tee shot on the second hole during the final round of the APGA Tour held at the PGA Golf Club on February 21, 2021 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Hailey Garrett/PGA of America)
The culmination of 43 tournaments over 12 months is here, as the PGA Tour has reached the Tour Championship this week. For 18 years, the PGA Tour has hosted their final event at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. This historic venue was made famous by Bobby Jones, who learned to play the game and grew up at the course.
When you first tee it up at East Lake, you’re taken aback by the immense nature of the design. Each of the holes possess the presence of a Championship venue. In short, it is an intimidating layout starting from the tee box that forces you to put the ball in play. Great drivers of the golf ball excel here.
Most of us reading this face challenging tee shots at our home or local course on a regular basis. If that’s the case, follow these 4 steps toward hitting the short grass more often off the tee.
Step 1 – Look for the best landing area
You don’t always have to hit your driver. Many times, the safest landing area might be found with a different club. If driver is the only option, then decide where the biggest trouble spot is and pick a target away from it. The more we select safe targets, the calmer our mind will be during the swing.
Step 2 – Find the best spot to tee off
Selecting the best spot to put the tee in the ground can make a difference. If you play a left to right ball flight, it is best to tee it up as far right in the teeing ground as possible. Conversely, if your driver flight goes the other way (right to left) get next to that left tee marker. This sounds simple, but if you start practicing this habit you won’t believe the positive results.
Step 3 – Pick a small target
This is different from the landing area. After you have selected the best place for your tee shot to land, pick a very small and specific target in line with that area. The smaller your target the better.
Step 4 – The swing is the thing
The driver swing is different. The ball doesn’t sit on the ground. To minimize our misses, it is imperative we hit up on the ball. If you fade/slice the ball, pop it up, smother hook, or top it, you swing down through the ball off the tee. To change that angle of approach on the ball, start by making sure your trail shoulder is lower than your lead one. Second, get the bottom of your swing arc behind the ball. Take some swings and feel where the low point is. If it is ahead of the ball, move it back.
Check the ball position, so many players struggle with hitting up because the ball position is too far back in their stance. It should be off the instep of your lead foot. Watch your tee height as well. Put these three adjustments in play and watch as the ball gets launched higher and farther.
Finding more fairways is not complicated, and incorporating these 4 quick steps can go a long way to improving your stats off the tee.
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