Straighten Your Tee Shots

Quick tips for straighter hits

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Set the club. Using this drill is a great way to become a more consistent ballstriker and hit straighter shots. (Use an old club and tape it up. You’ll see why below.) Start in the setup position as you normally would before you hit a ball.

Hinge the club up. Once you’ve set the club, hinge the club, using only your wrists, so it’s hovering about a foot above the ball. By doing this, you’re moving from a static position to a dynamic one. If you’ve done it right, you haven’t lifted your body. Only your hands should hinge.

Swing! From the hinged position, go ahead and swing! This drill is designed to teach you proper downswing fundamentals, as well as the importance of a good plane angle, focus and control. By using a taped-up club (to prevent unsightly marks, just in case), you’ll also lessen the tendency many golfers have to swing with too much force from the top of the swing.

Head back for more control. When it comes to hitting straighter shots, if your head isn’t in it, your shots won’t be either. But is it true that the head should move? Should I stay in the same spot through the swing? The reality is, yes, the head will move. But what direction and how much it should move are key. In the above sequence, notice how close the shaft that Karen is holding is to my head. As I initiate my backswing, my head drifts to my right, all the way up to the top of my backswing. Now, although it has drifted to the right, my head is still centered over my body, meaning my head drift was a product of my coil and weight shift to my right side. Now, as I drive into the downswing, notice my head. It barely moves! As I uncoil, my body rotates around my core, and my head stays back to ensure the needed ascending blow required to hit both straighter and longer drives. So to answer the question, the head can in fact move, and if it does, it ought to drift to the right. But on the downswing, my head stays behind the ball through impact and behind my forward leg so I make a full extension through the ball.

Try for yourself with a mirror, and use a piece of tape on the mirror to indicate your head position at address. As you watch your head move, let it drift back, and focus on keeping your head behind the ball through impact.

Finish in perfect balance. Whether you finish with the club in a horizontal position or more of an angled position, the most important aspect of your finish is balance. Here, we’re demonstrating two different finishes. Derek’s finish represents a longer, more rounded finish, which befits his long swing perfectly. His head and belt buckle face the target, his weight is on his forward side, and his upper body is rotated past his lower side. As for Karen, she too is in an ideal position, especially for players with shorter, more upright swings. As in Derek’s, her weight is mostly on her forward leg, but because she has less turn in her swing, her finish has less rotation in it as well. The less rotation, the higher the hands.

Check your finish position and see if it matches your swing style and if you feel like you’re in a steady and balanced position. Once you develop a good finish pose, practice holding it a few extra seconds after you hit the ball. Also, don’t hesitate to think of a balanced finish before you hit your tee shot. That mental picture will help you relax and swing more smoothly.

Finish strong and in balance and you’ll see more fairways throughout the round.


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