Improve the Quality of Your Tee Shots with These Simple Tips
I’m known on the PGA Tour as an exceptionally straight driver of the golf ball, yet what most average players may not realize is that certain swing keys that will help you to hit the ball straighter can also help you to hit it longer. How? If you want to consistently swing the club on a sound, accurate path for straight shots, you need to develop a more relaxed, free-flowing motion. By adding more freedom and “flow” to your swing, you’ll also add clubhead speed, which equals greater distance. Following are four keys that will help you hit your tee shots both straighter and longer, starting with your feet and finishing with the club you hold in your hands.
Good drivers turn their shoulders in a full, powerful coiling motion as they swing the club back. A proper, full shoulder-turn achieves several things. 1) It ensures that you complete your backswing. 2) It improves your swing’s rhythm, while keeping it on the proper path and plane, enhancing your consistency and accuracy. 3) It increases your swing speed for optimum added power.
Turn your shoulders until your back faces the target at the top of your swing; at that point your upper body will feel coiled, like a wound spring. Next, allow your shoulders to uncoil freely and naturally, and as they do, swing your arms, hands and the club freely down and through the ball.
Control and power in any sport comes from a smooth and graceful weight shift. Think of a baseball player swinging a bat or a tennis player hitting a tennis ball. A good golfer transfers his or her weight by rhythmically rolling the ankles and turning the hips back and through the shot. To improve your rhythm, count to yourself rhythmically “ONE-two-three/ONE-two three,” back and through. At the same time, focus on getting 90% of your weight on your back foot at the top of your swing, and 99% of your weight onto your the front foot at the finish; do that and you’ll literally “step into” better tee shots.
Most amateurs make the mistake of playing the ball too far forward, which leads them to misalign their shoulders to the left (for right-handers), creating an out-to-in swing path that results in either a pull or a slice. Proper ball position is essential proper alignment and solid contact, which in turn are essential for accuracy and maximum distance.
Likewise, improper ball position will make it impossible for you to make the most of your driver’s launch angle and spin-rate, provided both of these variables are tuned to produced optimum distance. I switched to a TaylorMade r7® SuperQuad™ driver which has given me the optimum launch angle and spin-rate allowing me to retain my trademark control. However, I couldn’t achieve either of those numbers if my ball position was faulty.
So where should the ball be positioned? With your driver, the ball should be located just forward of the lowest point in your swing arc. That’s typically opposite your left instep, although it can anywhere between your left heel and left toe. Your best bet is to experiment to find which position works best.
There you have it. If you make the effort to improve your weight shift, shoulder turn and ball position, and to find a driver that optimizes your launch angle and spin-rate you’ll no doubt increase both the distance and accuracy of your tee shots, putting you in a position to hit more greens and, ultimately, shoot lower scores.