This easy visual technique will help you stay in the fairway

Having trouble hitting straight shots off the tee? Golf instructor Grayson Zacker says using a simple mind hack can lead to better results

Using this little mind trick can bring out the best in your tee shots.

Image via Grayson Zacker

Welcome to Shaving Strokes, a new GOLF.com series in which we’re sharing improvements, learnings and takeaways from amateur golfers just like you — including some of the speed bumps and challenges they faced along the way.

I’m a big visual learner, which sort of catches folks off-guard considering the majority of my time is either writing tons of words or talking into a camera. But when it comes to digesting information as a student, I prefer to envision how something should look.

For instance, during several of my golf lessons over the past half-year, I’d always remind my coach — GOLF Top 100 Teacher Brian Mogg — to keep things simple for me. So he did a good job of providing me visuals in order to improve my golf game.

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So instead of trying to explain something with too much detail, he’d simply say something like “it should feel like you’re shaking my hand as you bring the club back.”

We all know how to shake a hand, so this made it easy for me to apply the feeling to my swing.

I often carry this same technique to the course when I’m playing, too, which helps me visualize a plan of attack prior to hitting each one of my shots. As you might imagine, it can be pretty effective.

One way to use the power of your mind is by visualizing a 3-lane highway from the tee box, argues Grayson Zacker. By doing so, you can increase your chances of hitting the fairway and avoid trouble.

Zacker, the Director of Instruction for Jim McLean Golf Schools, explains how and why this technique can be successful. So look below at his tips!

This mind trick will lead to hitting more fairways

This is a driving tip that GOLF Hall of Fame Teacher Jim McLean received from his first instructor, Al Mengert, back in Seattle years ago.

Mengert wasn’t only a great player, having competed in 27 major championships, but also a great teacher. And one of the easy tips he passed along to McLean is the idea that the fairway can be looked at as a 3-lane highway.

The photo below is a simple way to visualize this technique.

Zacker visualizes a 3-lane highway for straighter tee shots. Image via Grayson Zacker

Instead of aiming down the middle, as many golfers do, you should aim down one side of the fairway and work the ball back towards the middle.

So if you tend to play a fade, you can aim down the “left lane” and plan to land the ball in the center lane. This way, even if you fade it too much, you’ll still be in the “right lane” with a good approach shot. And if you end up hitting it as straight as an arrow, your ball will be in the “left lane” and still in the fairway.

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For players who tend to draw the ball, do the opposite from the above, focusing on how to utilize your natural shot type to your advantage.

By visualizing the fairway as a 3-lane highway, it will allow you to use the entire landing area, thus increasing your chances of staying in the short grass. So if the fairway is 40 yards wide, you have 40 yards to miss. But if you aimed straight, you only have 20 yards to miss each way.

This little mind trick allows you to play smarter, using a strategy that fits your current game. So give it a try and see why it help you hit better tee shots immediately!

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