3 tips to drive straight choke down on club

While most golfers and equipment companies focus on driving length, accuracy off the tee is every bit as important.




In fact, straight driving is even more critical to amateurs than pros. Why? Because pros have the strength and skill to advance the ball from deep rough, out of fairway bunkers, or over and around trees. Most amateurs simply lack this ability.

If you hit less than 50 percent of fairways in a typical round, try these tricks to hit it straighter:

• Choke up on the club: Instead of gripping your driver near the butt of the shaft, place the hands with at least an inch showing at the top of the club. This makes it easier to control and find the sweet spot.

• Don't overswing: If you tend to miss the center of the club and finish off-balance, slow down your swing to about 80 percent. Not only will your shots fly straighter, they'll be longer because you'll make better contact.

• Don't automatically reach for the driver: If a hole is tightly bordered by rough, trees or other trouble, use a 3-wood, hybrid or iron from the tee. You're more likely to hit the fairway, more than making up for any loss of distance.

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Three Tips to Drive the Ball Straighter

Three Tips to Drive the Ball Straighter



It always feels good to send a drive flying right down the middle of the fairway. Even if you aren't the longest hitter in the world – or even the longest hitter in your group – hitting a straight drive gives you a good feeling and puts you in position to play the rest of the hole successfully. While most amateur golfers usually think about their driver first and foremost when playing from the tee, these straight drives don't have to be hit with the big stick. You can use a variety of different clubs to play your tee shots, depending on the length of the hole in question, and the feeling will always be a good one when the ball settles in the middle of the short grass.

This article is going to focus on three tips that you can use to drive the ball straighter starting in your very next round. The tips we are going to provide will be relatively easy to use, they shouldn't take long to learn, and they can apply to nearly everyone's game. You probably spend more time thinking about distance off the tee than you do control, but this article should help you to see that it is just as important to focus on your ability to keep the ball in play. At the end of the day, it usually isn't the longest hitter who winds up on top of the leaderboard – often, it is the player with the best ability to control his or her golf ball.

One of the mistakes commonly made by amateur golfers is holding the belief that they don't need to hit particularly straight drives if they play on a course with wide fairways. When you look down the fairway and see plenty of room to work with, you might allow yourself to relax and think more about distance than control. That is an error. While you might not need to hit a perfectly straight $drive to keep your ball in play, you do still need to drive the ball accurately to set up your second shot. For instance, if the hole is cut on the left side of the green, you will probably want to play down the right side of the fairway for the best approach angle. Even if there is a wide fairway to work with, driving the ball with precision can always benefit your game.

While this is not going to be one of the three tips we include in this article, you can always make it a little easier to hit the ball straight simply by not swinging so hard off the tee. Too many players swing at maximum effort on every single tee shot, when a swing with about 80% effort would work just fine. It is hard to keep your balance when swinging as hard as you can, and balance is a critical part of hitting fairways. You can gain control by turning down your effort level slightly, and you probably won't even have to sacrifice much (if any) distance in the process.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

Tip #1 – Play the Ball Near the Front of Your Stance

Tip #1 – Play the Ball Near the Front of Your Stance



This is an extremely simple tip, but it is one which will be highly effective for the majority of amateur players. It is common for amateur golfers to play the ball too far back in their stance, as this is the ball position that looks the most comfortable from address. After all, doesn't it make sense to position in the ball in the middle of your stance if you are going to stay balanced while you swing? Well, yes and no. A center ball position does make sense if you need to hit down – as would be the case with an iron shot – but it does not work so well when trying to hit a drive from the tee.

For most golfers, lining the ball up with the inside of the left foot when hitting a driver is going to be a good position. You may need to move forward or back from that point slightly to find the right spot for you, but starting out with the ball even with the inside of your left foot is a good plan. Use some time on the driving range to see if any adjustments will be needed before you take this method onto the course.

So how does a forward ball position help you to hit more fairways? Consider the following three benefits.

  • Improved launch angle. The launch angle that you achieve on your shots is the angle at which the ball leaves the club face, relative to the ground. So, a ball that just rolls off of the club face and never gets into the air would have a launch angle of 0*, while a ball that went straight up into the sky would have a launch angle of 90*. Of course, neither of those extremes are really possible, but you should get the idea. By moving your ball position forward in your stance, you should be able to raise your launch angle, which will likely be a good thing for both your accuracy and distance. A ball which has a higher launch angle will often – but not always – have a lower backspin rate, and taking backspin off the ball is going to make it easier for you to find the short grass. If you feel like you currently launch the ball too low off the tee, try moving the ball up slightly toward your front foot and see what a difference such a change can make.
  • Reduced spin rate. You could probably see this one coming after the discussion in the previous section. Many players who hit tee shots with the ball near the middle of their stance hit down too steeply at impact, and they impart an extremely high rate of spin on the ball as a result. This is a bad outcome, as this kind of shot will lack distance and it will also be hard to control. The shot is going to 'balloon' up into the air, and you will be left to simply hope that it comes down in a good place. By playing out of a forward ball position, you can cut that spin rate down dramatically and provide yourself with significantly more control over your shots.
  • Easier alignment. One of the common problems seen in players who struggle to hit fairways is the inability to aim properly at address. This is a point that most players take for granted when it should actually be one of your top priorities. Before the club ever goes in motion, you should be absolutely sure that you are actually aiming at your target. It would be a shame to hit a beautiful shot which flies powerfully through the air – only to see that the shot isn't on target because you aimed incorrectly. Placing the ball forward in your stance does tend to make it easier to aim in the right direction. Also, be sure to practice your aiming on the driving range so you can be confident in this skill when on the golf course.

At first, you may not think that changing your ball position could make a dramatic difference in the accuracy of your shots. However, it would be wise to try this tip out for yourself on the driving range before dismissing it and moving on to something else. While this tip isn't going to overhaul your whole swing, it is going to allow you to hit more fairways in the very near future. Don't be surprised if you suddenly have far more confidence while standing on the tee simply because you have improved your ball position.

Tip #2 – Pick a Specific Target

Tip #2 – Pick a Specific Target



Again, you can see that this is a very simple tip. If fact, you may be reading this while thinking, 'I already do that'. Most golfers think they are good about picking targets for their shots – but most of those golfers are wrong. The average player does a rather poor job of picking out specific targets, especially for long shots. By the end of this section, you may realize that you actually have a long way to go on this point.

When you stand on the tee of an average par four with your driver in hand, what do you use for a target? If you are like most golfers, you may answer 'the middle of the fairway'. This makes sense, of course, as you generally want your ball to wind up in the fairway after striking a tee shot. If you are a more advanced golfer, you might even pick out a specific side of the fairway in order to make it easier to hit your second shot close to the hole. However, even if you are aiming for one side of the fairway or the other, you are still being far too general with your target.

By telling yourself that you are aiming for something ambiguous, such as the 'middle of the fairway', you really aren't giving your brain much to work with. What does that mean? Are you aiming for the middle mowing stripe, or just for a section that you are going to call the 'middle'? The more you look at it, the more you realize that this isn't a target at all. This would basically be like a tennis player aiming to simply hit the court on the other side of the net. Sure, that is the goal, but you can do better.

To improve your accuracy from the tee, one of the best things you can do is select extremely specific targets. Don't settle for a general spot somewhere down the fairway – pick out an exact target and then to your best to hit that target as accurately as possible. Since a nicely-mown golf course won't have much that really stands out in the fairway, you will often need to look beyond the fairway, on an extension of your intended line. In most circumstances, and for most players, this is the best way to get specific with your targets.

For example, let's imagine that you are playing a tree-lined golf course. In addition to having trees along the sides of the fairways, there are likely some trees in the distance as well, beyond the green. One of those trees will serve as a perfect aiming point for your tee shot, depending on the line you would like to take. The trees aren't in reach, of course, as they are beyond the green and way out of range for your driver. However, that doesn't mean they can't serve your aiming purposes just the same.

To use this method, look down the fairway and pick out a line that you believe will set you up nicely for your second shot. Then, move your gaze upward until you find a tree (or another object) in the distance that is on the same line you have picked out. That object will now serve as your aim point for the shot. This technique will give you a specific spot in mind, and you should find that your shots become more accurate as a result.

Not sure that this is a good strategy? You can look to the PGA Tour for proof that it works. When watching golf on TV, you will often hear the discussions that players have with their caddies. When trying to pick a line for a tee shot, or even an approach, the players and caddies will often use man-made things in the distance like part of the stands, flags, signs, or even spectators. While most of those things aren't going to be around when you are playing, the concept remains the same. Find targets in the distance that can serve your needs and do your best to make accurate swings.

Tip #3 – Use Less Club

Tip #3 – Use Less Club



Not all drives have to be hit with a driver. You can quickly and dramatically improve your accuracy from the tee simply by putting down your driver in favor of a shorter club. Most amateur golfers are unwilling to trade distance for control, and that decision hurts them in the long run. It would be great to hit a long drive and still have perfect accuracy, of course, but that is an unrealistic goal in this game. There are always trade-offs to be made in golf, and trading distance for control is an excellent decision.

To make the most of this tip, you should work on developing a strong relationship with your three wood. The three wood is a great club to use off the tee for a number of reasons. First, it still has plenty of length and a relatively low loft, so you can get plenty of yardage out of a tee shot hit properly with a three wood. Also, you will get a bit more backspin and less roll when hitting your three wood as compared to the driver, which means it will be easier to keep the ball in the fairway after it lands. Some professional golfers actually use their three wood off the tee more than the driver, since modern three woods are capable of hitting the ball incredible distances. You may not ever get to that level of usage, but it is a safe bet that your game could benefit from hitting more three woods and fewer drivers.

Of course, the three wood is not always going to be the best club for the job, depending on the length and design of the hole you are facing. For that reason, you need to be comfortable with as many clubs as possible on the tee. Hybrids are a great choice for tee shots where you need to prioritize control over distance, as are long irons (for players who still carry long irons, of course).

The best club for any tee shot is the club which does the best job of balancing your desire to move the ball as far down the fairway as possible, with the need to keep the ball in play. This is always going to be a risk/reward decision, and it will be up to you to make that decision based on the information at hand and your style of play. Some golfers are naturally more aggressive and risky than others, and there is nothing wrong with that. Develop your own style of play and then be true to that style even if others go another direction.

Other Tips on Hitting More Fairways

Other Tips on Hitting More Fairways



Playing from the fairway is a great thing. The game will seem more enjoyable as a whole when you are able to play from the short grass on a frequent basis. You won't have to spend time looking for golf balls lost in the woods, and you won't have to spend money replacing those golf balls that are never recovered. And, of course, the best reward of all for hitting fairways is the lower scores you should be able to write down on your card.

Before we finish up this article, we wanted to leave you with a few final tips on hitting more fairways each time you play. Give these tips some consideration as you work on an overall plan to put the ball in play as frequently as possible.

  • Don't punish yourself for a straight shot. Even if you have a reliable ball flight pattern which turns the ball from one direction to another over and over again, it is still best to aim in a way that will not punish you for a straight shot. For instance, if you tend to play a draw with your driver, don't aim so far out to the right that your ball would wind up in trouble if you hit the shot straight instead of turning it over. Try to find a middle ground where you can allow yourself positive results in either case. So, you could aim down the right side of the fairway, expecting a draw into the left side. If the ball draws, you are in perfect shape, and you still have a chance to hit the right side of the fairway if it flies straight. It is hard to make a relaxed swing when you know that a straight shot will mean trouble, so keep yourself out of that situation to begin with.
  • Think about the roll out. It is easy to focus only on the part of the shot where the ball will be in the air. That is only one half of the equation, of course, so you need to remember to think about what is going to happen after the ball comes down. How firm are the fairways? Will you get a big bounce and roll out, or is the ball going to stay mostly in place after it lands? After all, the goal isn't to just land the ball in the fairway – the goal is to keep the ball in the fairway after it stops moving.
  • Play the slopes. Depending on the slope of the fairway, you might find that a ball which lands in the middle of the short grass won't stay there for long. To give yourself the best chance of keeping the ball in a sloped fairway when the roll out is done, consider curving the ball into the slope wherever possible. In other words, you would hit a draw into a fairway sloping down from left to right, and vice versa. This is an advanced technique, but it can go a long way toward helping you find the right spots on the course.

Driving the ball straighter requires an impressive combination of mental and physical skills. Don't make the mistake of overlooking the importance of the mental side of this game while only working on your physical technique. Keep both halves in mind and bring them together into a winning package. Good luck!