A wise man once said you can’t make birdie from the tee, but an even wiser man knows that you can surely make double bogey from there.
An errant tee shot puts a damper on the hole and forces you into scramble mode instead of attack mode. Even though a good drive guarantees nothing on any given hole, it can certainly reduce your chances of making a big number.
You’ve developed your swing and put the work in on the range, but you still spray your drives too often. If this sounds like you, then read this to optimize your tee shots so you hit them straighter!
A straighter drive off the tee shot will relieve pressure on your irons so you can swing confidently and give yourself more birdie chances. Straight drives will also reduce your golf ball expenditure since you won’t have to go looking in the woods as often.
In this article, we will cover:
- Definition Of A Tee Shot
- Technical Explanation Of Straight Tee Shots
- Which Club Is Best For Straight Tee Shots
- 6 Tips To Improve Your Tee Shot
Let’s tee off!
What Is A Tee Shot?
A tee shot is any ball struck from the teeing area or ‘tee box’ at the beginning of any hole.
Tee shots don’t have to be hit with a specific club. For example, if the hole is a par 3, your tee shot may only require an iron to reach the green in regulation.
However, the majority of tee shots for amateurs will be hit with their driver, and accuracy will be a priority.
How Do You Hit a Tee Shot Straight?
A lot needs to happen to hit a tee shot straight, but it all starts with a comfortable posture and then incorporates a controlled tempo. Assuming you’re hitting a driver, straight tee shots are crucial and can be achieved by ignoring the distance and focusing on contact and trajectory; the distance will come automatically.
How Do You Hit A Tee Shot Straight With A Driver?
Your driver is the longest club in the bag and, therefore, comes with the smallest margin of error. It’s all too easy to blast a tee shot two fairways over and have to make the awkward walk over and interrupt another group’s play.
Hitting a driver straight requires precise timing, and the best way to achieve this is through a comfortable yet accelerating tempo throughout your swing.
The number one mistake that amateurs make is swinging too hard and trying to create distance with raw speed and power. Having proper timing and getting the shaft and clubhead to release at the perfect moment should be the focus of hitting straight drives. This can’t happen if you’re swinging out of your shoes.
6 Tips To Improve Your Tee Shot
Save these 6 tips to review on the range during your pre-round warm-up. These are not technical drills but rather theoretical ideas that will help your brain relax and focus on what’s important: hitting straight tee shots with your driver.
1. Tee Height
An easy way to tip the scales in your favor is to always keep your ball teed high.
Drivers these days have deep faces, and the sweet spot sits higher off the ground than older models. Take advantage of this by teeing the ball so at least half is showing over the crown of your driver’s head.
This may seem high at first, but these big drivers need the extra space to activate their forgiveness and accuracy.
A solid base is needed to hit straight tee shots, so a wider stance is necessary. However, wider is not always better, as you don’t want to hinder your hips’ rotation. Slightly wider than your shoulders is ideal to allow for maximum power without giving up control.
In addition to a wider stance, moving the ball a little more forward will also help you hit more tee shots straight. It allows your body to fully release the club down the target line and lead you into a balanced follow-through (more on this below).
3. Takeaway Low And Slow
Controlling your tempo starts at the very beginning of the swing, and straight tee shots rely on a consistent tempo. To give yourself the best chance at a successful tee shot, draw your clubhead back along your target line for as long and as low as you can.
This should relax your shoulders and allow your whole body to contribute to an athletic but controlled motion through the ball.
4. Stay Behind The Ball
This is a tricky one for many beginners. It refers to your spine and head position in relation to the ball at impact.
By keeping your spine slightly tilted away from the target and allowing your head to follow suit, you encourage your clubhead to approach the ball from the inside out on a shallower path.
Don’t tilt too far back, though, as you may hit the ground first or overcompensate and top the ball.
5. Focus On Balanced Follow Through
To further control your tempo and guide your power in the right direction, focus on what happens after you hit the ball. If you think about the details of your follow-through and how you want the club to release, then the rest of your swing will have to adhere. Decide on how your final follow-through position will look, and then work your swing backward from there to end up in an ESPN-worthy finishing position!
6. Aim Small, Miss Small
Use your mental game to trick your body into hitting straighter tee shots by selecting precise targets. Don’t simply aim for the fairway; instead, aim for a specific row of mown grass. Or, you could aim for something on the horizon, like a prominent tree or radio tower.
Choosing a small target will help limit your bad shots because if you miss a small target, you’re still in play, hopefully.
What Are Other Names For The Tee Shot?
Other names for the tee shot include ‘drive,’ ‘first shot,’ and ‘opener.’ You can compliment your playing partner’s tee shot by saying, “Nice drive” or “Great opener.” The terms ‘tee shot’ and ‘drive’ are the most popularly used, but we are always open to more terminology if you want to invent one yourself.
Does The Tee Shot Have To Be Hit Off A Tee?
No, the tee shot does not have to be hit off a tee.
This comes in handy when on the tee box of many par-3s. You may feel more comfortable hitting short irons off the grass within the tee box than using a tee for fear of sliding under it. Of course, many people will still use a tee but push it 90% into the ground so the ball just barely sits above the grass.
What Club Should Be Used On A Tee Shot?
The club that is most commonly used on a tee shot is the driver. Many beginners and high-handicappers will want to take advantage of the distance and forgiveness provided by the longest and largest club in the bag. However, as you improve, you may find that some par 4s and par 5s require a more strategic shot than what a driver can provide, especially on par 3s.
Wrap-Up: The Tee Shot In Golf
Hitting your tee shot straight does not mean you have to hit the driver. You can attain accurate results with many different clubs, such as the 3-wood, hybrid, or even long irons. How you get the job is not as important as just getting the job done by finding the fairway.
Your tee shot can make things a lot easier for you if you can rely on being in the fairway or at least a playable position that grants you access to the green.
For beginners, track how many fairways you hit and which club you used to do so. You may find that your driver is not as efficient as others and may need some attention at the driving range. In any case, use these tips to hit straighter tee shots every time.