Straighten Your Tee Shots

Quick tips for straighter hits

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When practicing, sprinkle powder on the clubface to see where the ball is making contact. Also, experiment with different tee heights to help you find the hot zone of the club.

If you want to hit straight shots, you need to hit solid shots. With today’s 460cc drivers, the clubface has become enormous. As for the sweet spot, even though there’s more forgiveness around it, the sweet spot remains just that: a tiny spot in the center of the clubface. Better players know that hitting the sweet spot sometimes adds spin, which, depending on your attack angle, can make hitting straight shots even more difficult. To solve the problem, they hit in the area located above the sweet spot, known by some as the “hot zone.” The hot zone knocks rpms off the hit and sends the ball away on a higher trajectory for more penetrating and straighter shots. Give it a try and see if you can hit the hot zone. It doesn’t feel as solid, and you’ll lose some ballspeed, but the effect of higher less-spinning drives is worth the effort.

Through the gates. In case you haven’t noticed the red tees, try a few practice hits with tees situated like these. You’ll improve your ballstriking and be able to see if you’re hitting the toe (above) or heel (above right) at impact. If you find out that you’re a toe-hitter, your angle of attack is probably too flat, and/or you’re too far away from the ball. This tends to produce weak shots that drift or push to the right. If you find yourself catching the clubface more toward the heel, you could be too upright or standing too close to the ball.

Add width to your swing for straighter shots. Usually, width is associated with adding power to your shots, but in reality, adding width can help you hit the ball straighter, as well. How so? First, the wider your stance is, the shorter your overall swing will be. The shorter the swing, the less likely something can go haywire and the straighter your shots will fly. Second, by adding width, you’re not only engaging your stronger muscles, but also activating the bigger muscles, which are much easier to control than the small muscles (such as the muscles in the forearms or hands). The more you effectively use your core and your legs, the less you have to manipulate the club with your smaller muscles, and hence, the straighter your shots will fly.

To practice, start as I have, with a wide stance. Initiate your backswing long and slow, and try to keep your hands as far from your body as possible, especially in the early phase of the swing. When you reach the top of your swing, which will come sooner than you think because of your wider stance, stay as wide as you can. As you enter into the downswing, remember to swing long and wide, and retain this type of width well into the finish.

You should feel as though the big muscles in your legs and core are your guides, and the arms and hands are mere extensions of the bigger muscles. Yes, you’ll build power, but our goal here is to get more accurate. Don’t feel as though you need to control the clubface. Instead, stay wide, stay smooth, and you’ll soon see straighter shots.


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