A tee-to-green guide to great score-saving plays
Shotmaking is a broad term and one that’s typically reserved for highly skilled players. Yet all golfers, even those who have a tough time breaking 90, should consider themselves shotmakers. Face it, the game of golf constantly demands a degree of creativity, and unless you play on a perfectly flat course with no rough, no hazards and no undulations on the greens, you have to be ready with a variety of plays—just to get through a single round. So stop thinking that shotmaking is a term reserved strictly for the best players and embrace the notion that you, too, are capable of hitting more than one shot with every club in your bag. In the end, you’ll shoot better scores and have a lot more fun playing the game.
1. How To Alter Trajectory
It may sound simple, but adjusting your tee height is the easiest way to alter tee shot trajectory. As expected, raising your tee height will promote a higher trajectory shot with more carry, while lowering your tee height will promote a more boring shot with more roll. Another key is adjusting your weight placement at address—if you put more weight on the rear foot, the ball will tend to fly on a higher trajectory; if you place your weight on your forward foot, you’ll hit the ball lower. Finally, you change ballflight by moving the ball in your stance. Playing the ball forward will cause you to hit the ball higher; playing back hits it lower.
2. Power Fade
At address, aim your body slightly left of the target while keeping your club pointing at the target, and swing along your body line. Because you’re aimed left, making a regular swing in this alignment will produce a slightly out-to-in path and promote a left-to-right ballflight. Adding slightly more pressure in the last three fingers of your leading hand through impact also is a good way to prevent the clubhead from closing, which further promotes a fade. The secret to this shot is to follow the line of your body and “hold” on to the club through impact. Swinging aggressively after you’ve perfected this move will only cause you to hit it further!
3. How To Get It In Play
When you must get the ball in play, try these tips: 1) Tee the ball lower to the ground (you’ll have to experiment with your brand of driver), which will tend to produce a lower and flatter trajectory and more control; 2) Make a connected and full weight shift into your forward foot, allowing the arms and hands to be controlled by the pivot of your body; remember to stay relaxed and try to minimize any extra acceleration; 3) Don’t be afraid to choke down on your driver or 3-wood—the idea is to get it in play, not hit it far.
4. How To Play Alternative Clubs Off The Tee
Once you’ve selected a hybrid club to hit from the tee, take at least four practice swings to adjust to the different weight and feel of the club—particularly when you’ve been hitting woods for several consecutive holes. Next, tee up the ball slightly higher than you would a normal iron, which will make it easier to achieve square contact. Finally, focus on swinging with a moderate tempo, and don’t be overly concerned with hitting the shot with a lot of power.