Recently we conducted the following poll on Twitter for #TuesdayGolfClinic.
What area of your game do you think needs the most improvement? #TuesdayGolfClinic
— Golf Discount (@GolfDiscount) April 10, 2018
As you can see, the top answer out of four choices was “driver/off the tee.” About one in three people said that was the area of their game that needed the most improvement. So let’s take a look at this common challenge.
There’s no easy way to know or diagnose each individual’s problem with the driver and tee ball. However, it’s reasonable to assume the problem falls into one or more of the following categories:
Early Season Rust
Expectations and/or the Mental Process
Part of its Course Survival series, the above PGA.com video offers some pearls of wisdom about the tee shot that can help no matter the problem. These are solid tips for all players and skill levels. Here’s a brief summary.
Play the hole as designed. You don’t necessarily have to bomb your tee shot. You might not even need to hit a driver. Just get the ball in play. That bears repeating, especially since two of the three pros explicitly mention it in the video.
“It’s really not about how far you hit it,” says PGA pro Scott Heyn, “but it’s about if you can keep it in play, keep it between the lines, and get up on the green and try to make some putts from there.”
“I think the most important thing is to get the ball in play,” says PGA pro Tony Letendre. “We’ve all heard the cliché, ‘Drive for show. Putt for dough.’ But really if you don’t get the ball in play off the tee, you can’t putt for dough.”
This approach can improve your mindset. When you focus on making solid contact and getting the ball in play, you have realistic expectations that can decrease pressure. You’re freed up, including your golf swing.
Letendre offers another pearl for all golfers.
“The best tip that I give somebody for a tee shot is really just believe in yourself,” he says. “I’m not a believer in one perfect golf swing. So use your swing to your advantage. It’s your swing—you own it. I don’t have a perfect golf swing but it’s effective and it works for me. That’s really what I try to instill in people. Have some confidence in your ability.”
For more tips on teeing off, see “How to Conquer First Tee Jitters.”