Straighten Your Tee Shots

Quick tips for straighter hits

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POINT THE GRIP AT THE BALL
Stay connected to the tee. One of the best ways to become a straight hitter is to learn how the club should swing through the ball and not at the ball in a smooth, centered motion. To do that, the body ought to rotate all the way through the shot, and the arms should extend into the finish. Without thinking too much about your body, try this simple tip. Take a few slow swings and clip a tee in the process. As your hands reach about chest high (as you see in the photo), see if the butt of the club is pointing directly at (or close to) the tee. If your arms collapse, or if you sway and slide during your swing, you won’t be able to point at the tee in the way I am. Practice this tip daily until you can point the grip at the tee without thinking about it, and you’ll likely see fast improvements in your ballstriking. Remember, the better your ballstriking, the straighter your shots.


Correct Position
X marks the spot. When your arms reach waist high, not only should the grip point at the tee, but the arms should cross and form an X, as I’m doing here. It’s proof of a solid extension through impact as well as full upper body turn. Speaking of which, if you don’t turn fully on the downswing, you can’t extend the arms properly. Notice how my arms are in front of my chest, even though it’s well after I’ve made contact with the ball. This is how you want to look at this point in the swing.


InCorrect Position
Not for drivers. There are some shots in golf where this follow through works—bump-and-runs, maybe even some bunker hits. But with the driver, if I don’t release my hands, I’ll lose a ton of consistency, not to mention power. See how I’m leaning away from the ball? That’s not a good sign either, both for my back and for producing solid tee shots. Allow your hands to release through the swing and keep your weight forward to improve your tee hits.

SETUP VS. IMPACT
QUICK TIP!
Get fit! Driver fitting is crucial, especially when it comes to shaft length and flex. Stiffer, shorter shafts tend to help golfers hit it straighter, as does more clubhead loft.

Setup vs. impact. You’ll learn a lot about the differences between setup vs. impact in this magazine, but here’s a drill you can incorporate to improve your fundamentals for both. Start with a solid impact position, and be sure your feet are shoulder-width apart, your arms are comfortable, your shoulders are slightly tilted to the left and your head is behind the golf ball. This is a steady, athletic position with which to start a swing, especially with a driver.

Pump your way to impact. From the setup, start by pumping your body into the impact position as I’ve done here. This means move your hands forward, turn your body toward the target and shift your weight to your left side. Once you get here, pump back to the setup. Repeat this drill again and again, paying attention to what stays the same at setup and impact, as well as what changes. A few pumps into it, you’ll gain a better feel for your whole swing.


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