10 ways to guarantee you hit the perfect tee shot
Hitting great tee shots can make the game so much more fun, allowing yourself to be in better positions to shoot lower scores. But how can an amateur experience a perfect tee shot more frequently? By having both good technique and a solid game plan.
I often say that the driver has a different set of rules than when the ball is on the ground. That means you must have good fundamentals in order to hit the sweet spot with your driver off a tee.
Players who drive the ball well understand these good habits and techniques. Below, I share 10 ways that you can develop them for yourself.
Your guide for hitting the perfect tee shot
As mentioned above, hitting a perfect tee shot is a great feeling. Not only does it help set you up for an opportunity to be aggressive and score low, but it also builds your confidence!
To experience better results off the tee, here are 10 things you must do.
1. Perfect grip
Having your hands placed correctly on the grip of the club will help produce a square clubface at impact, which will keep your ball from curving too much one way or the other.
Prioritize your lead hand, making sure it’s in a position that hangs naturally.
When the lead hand is on the grip of the club, the thumb is slightly off-center and the club is held properly in the fingers.
2. Perfect posture
When you set up to swing your driver, you want to be in the same golf posture as you are with any of your other clubs. Don’t use your longer driver as an excuse to stand taller.
So bend properly forward from your hips so that your arms can hang with your hands directly below your shoulders.
3. Setup routine
The best golfers always use a consistent routine and setup. And while there are many different ones to choose from, you want to find the one that works for you in order to play your best.
Many good setup routines include setting the club behind the ball to start. At this point, you would aim the face to where you want the ball to travel before any potential curve.
After the club’s set, bend forward from your hips to place your hands correctly on the grip of the club, and then adjust your setup by stepping your feet so that your posture is correct.
Set the club. Set the hands. Step the feet to adjust.
4. Tee it at the right height
Knowing the proper tee height is important on a driver, and while some of this is personal preference, in many cases it’s better to tee the ball higher than lower.
I like to see approximately three-quarters of the ball over the top of the clubhead. This is to help ensure that the club doesn’t hit the ground in order for the ball to hit the sweet spot.
5. Swoosh, don’t thump
Unlike your irons, any practice swing with the driver should swoosh the air and not thump the ground. You don’t want your driver to collide with the ground, so it’s best to have your practice mimic the true feeling of your shot.
Additionally, the swooshing noise serves as a speed function as well, and since you want maximum distance with your driver, you ideally want to hear a relatively loud swoosh.
6. Focus on aim and alignment
Where you place your tee in the tee box can make a big difference with aim and alignment, angles into the fairways, and how you manage any weather conditions (like wind). So don’t just assume that you should place your tee in the center of the tee box.
For instance, if there’s a large bunker protecting a green on a par 3 hole, moving to one side of the tee box may allow you to go more towards the pin and not have to clear the sand.
I also suggest that you tee up on the side of trouble, as it may be more likely that you aim away from it.
Using some easy strategy from the tee box can make scoring lower much easier.
Being in balance at the end of your tee shot is really important. If you make a perfect swing and you lose your balance, it can be difficult to find the center of the clubface. It can also cause the ball to go off-line very quickly, as your body lines change due to the poor balance.
Watch any good golfer, and see how impressive their balance is throughout the swing. A perfect model for this is Rory McIlroy.
So always practice holding your finish until the ball lands.
8. Ball position and tilt
This is where the driver is different from other clubs, as proper ball position and shoulder tilt will help maximize distance and avoid pop-ups and slices.
When you setup properly to hit a driver, you want your ball position more forward and relatively close to the inside of your lead foot. By positioning your ball more forward, your shoulder tilt should increase, so that your lead shoulder is higher and your trail shoulder is lower.
Doing this will allow you to catch the ball on the upswing, maximizing the distance with your driver.
9. Use a driver that fits your swing type
While I think it’s critical for all of your clubs to fit you, the driver is likely the most important — since the right one will help keep the ball in play and maximize distance.
Some amateurs don’t want to invest in equipment that costs a lot. But I would argue that having the right manufacturer, loft, shaft, and club settings are all parts of the process in making you a better player.
I personally send my students to True Spec Golf, who are brand agnostic fitters with top-notch fitters. They can provide high-level insights to get the clubs that work best for your swing.
10. Keep moving
Using momentum in your setup will tend to work its way into your golf swing. So if you keep yourself moving throughout the process, you’re more likely to swing freely with that same momentum.
Remember, objects in motion stay in motion, so I want this to be a part of how you play your best golf.
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