How to stop missing the fairway: Drop 5 shots in 2023

Do you want to shave five strokes off your game in 2023? It all starts with finding the fairway.

Getty Images

Looking to get better in 2023? How about drop five shots in 2023? That seems like a good place to start. Here, as we creep closer to the New Year, we’ll use this five-part series to explain how you can kiss those five strokes (and possibly more?) goodbye in no time.

Part 1: How to maximize a quick warmup
Part 2: 10 dumb mistakes that ruin your round
Part 3: 1 club amateurs should ditch
Part 4: Practice from this yardage to break 100

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Hitting fairways is a must if you want to drop your handicap. If you can’t find the short stuff from the tee box, you’ll have a hard time hitting it close and making birdies.

A high fairway percentage isn’t unattainable for the average golfer. In fact, it’s quite achievable to hit a bunch of fairways if you know the right strategies.

Check out below for three keys for hitting more fairways.

1. Check your aim

It might sound simple, but your aim is the most important factor in trying to hit more fairways. If you’re not aligned correctly, you have a much lower chance of leaving it in the short stuff.

A great way to check your aim is to choose an intermediate target a few feet in front of the ball to line up with.

“You should choose a target on the ground about 2 or 3 feet in front of the ball,” says instructor Gia Liwski. “And then step over the ball and aim your club at that spot.”

If you can master the art of choosing an intermediate target and hitting the ball over that spot, you’ll quickly see your shots starting on the correct line.

2. Use a line

Using a line on your ball can help your alignment off the tee. Getty Images

You know how golfers use the line on their ball to aim their putts? Well, lots of top pros do the same thing off the tee box to line up their drives. Bryson DeChambeau does it, and Maverick McNealy does, too.

“I use the line on the tee to make sure my eye line is square and my alignment is good,” McNealy says. “A lot of tee boxes aren’t always aligned. Some are aimed left; some are aimed right; if your body alignment is off, that’s a big miss.”

Use the line on your ball to aim yourself off the tee. Then, when you’re standing over the ball, you’ll know you’re aimed right down the center of the fairway.

3. Curve it less

If you want to hit the ball in the fairway, try curving the ball less. Obviously hitting a straight ball will be advantageous over a banana slice, but according to data from analytics guru Mark Broadie, a straight-ball hitters wins out against even the best shot shapers.

“Players who curve their drives less tend to hit more fairways,” Broadie says. “For example, the big curvers, Andrew Putnam, Phil Mickelson and J.B. Holmes, hit eight percent fewer fairways than the field. The least-curve group of Ryan Armour, Jim Furyk and Chez Reavie hit 13 percent more fairways than the field, a significant statistical difference between the two groups.”

Stop obsessing over hitting a high draw or a power fade. If you can master the straight ball, you’ll have a much better chance of keeping it in the fairway.

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Zephyr Melton

Golf.com Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF.com, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf.