Read this sentence then stop for 10 seconds and ask yourself what you think the three most important elements to the game of golf are. Four, three, two, one…
Ok, now I will list mine in the order of importance.
Driving the golf ball in play.
Putting the golf ball with consistent speed control (distance).
Pitching the golf ball with loft.
Today we are going to concentrate on what I consider the MOST important aspect to the game of golf, DRIVING THE GOLF BALL IN PLAY. This aspect of the game is the number one confidence builder in our sport. As you probably know and have experienced, your score adds up quickly if hit your tee shots out of play.
Buckle up – Because if you read this special report every time before you play a round of golf this summer, your friends will think they are playing with Fred Funk come September. Fred Funk has led the P.G.A. Tour in driving accuracies for the past four years. He averages hitting 76% of the fairways every time he plays 18 holes of golf. If you are going to change the way you drive the golf ball you will need to implement the following four fundamentals.
THE PICTURE: Approach every tee shot with a clear picture in your mind of what you want the golf ball to look like in flight
PROPER DRIVER: Choose the proper driver for your swing.
CORRECT TEE HEIGHT: For your golf swing.
CORRECT SWING PLANE: Swing the driver on the correct swing plane for your swing.
THE PICTURE: If you can see it, you can have it. Before you take your driver, or any club for that matter, out of your golf bag, you better start seeing what you want the golf ball to look like during its journey down the fairway. Of the millions of words my mother (the first woman to teach at a golf school in the United States) passed on to me, the one phrase that has stayed with me all of these years is THE PICTURE. You must have a mental picture of how you want the ball to fly through the air and where you want it to wind up. When you have a driver in your hands, you have to pick out an exact area you want the ball to land on. IF YOU DON’T SEE THE PICTURE, YOU ARE HEADED FOR TROUBLE.
Important Tip: During the course of a round of golf, you can find yourself driving the ball well, but all of the sudden you are faced with a difficult driving hole. Shortly after I turned professional, I played a practice round with Tommy Bolt the 1958 U.S. Open Champion. We came to great par four, 435 yards long, water down the right side of the fairway from the tee to the green, out of bounds markers down the entire left side of the fairway from the tee to the green. After I teed my golf ball up I turned to Tommy and said, “What do you do here with O.B. left and water right?” Tommy looked me straight in the eye and said “Son, if you see the water and the O.B. markers, you better go find another line of work.”
That stick with me to this day, and I wanted to pass it on to you. Don’t worry about the challenges, just think about what you want the ball to do. I have benefited immensely during my career, and I want you to benefit from this as well.
PROPER EQUIPMENT: Now that you can see the picture, let’s see if you brought the correct brush to paint with. If you are still trying to buy 20 more yards every time you walk into a golf shop. It is time to stop-NOW! If you own a driver that is metal, has a graphite shaft, and the grip is new then you own what it takes to send the golf ball straight down the fairway.
Let’s back up a foot or two. The loft on the golf club will play a major role in how accurate you are. If you are struggling with your driver you might consider buying a driver with at least 10-12 degrees of loft. The less loft a driver has the more you are apt to slice and hook the ball. If you are driving the ball well you can buy a driver with less loft.
An important side note: If you are driving the golf ball short, low and to the right the shaft might be too stiff. If you are driving the golf ball too high and to the left the shaft might be too weak.
Another item to consider if you have small hands, have the club repair shop regrip all of your grips with either a junior grip or a small grip. If your hands are large, have the shop regrip you clubs with oversize grips.
Bottom Line – worry about getting the ball in the fairway first, and then focus on distance generation. Chances are, you own the equipment right now, that will give you the fairway shots you’re looking for. Remember – It’s the swing, not the equipment. The equipment helps once you have a good swing, but you’ll never FIX your swing with an equipment upgrade.
CORRECT TEE HEIGHT: The tee height does not seem like such a big deal, but it plays a huge roll in whether or not you drive the golf ball consistently down the fairway. Something so simple can often be the biggest challenge.
The two major mistakes are teeing the golf ball too low or teeing the golf ball too high. You may have heard that golf is a game of opposites. This is a perfect example. Let me explain why. If you are constantly swinging your driver too vertical into the ground in the downswing, you probably tee the golf ball to low. Most golfers with a vertical driver swing fear swinging underneath the golf ball so they tee the ball low in hopes of catching it square. For those of you with this challenge, the next time you are on the golf course, tee the golf ball up a little higher and sit back a little bit more on your heels and keep your weight there in the downswing. After your shot has landed, look down to see if your tee is still in the ground. If you are always conscience of leaving the tee in the ground, you will not pop your tee shots up anymore.
If you are topping your tee shots to the right you might have the ball teed too high because you are trying to hit the ball on the upswing. The next time you go out to play, tee the ball down a little. After the golf ball has landed, make sure your weight is on your left foot and meaning you have transferred your weight correctly.
CORRECT SWING PLANE: With this final tip I feel confident you will be on your way to driving the golf ball straighter and with more consistency. The golf club in your bag that swings the most vertical, (up and down) is your sand wedge. The golf club that swings the most horizontal (around you-baseball swing) is your driver. The mistake I have seen most amateur golfers make is that they swing their driver like their sand wedge and they swing their sand wedge like their driver.
A couple of things to remember when you are addressing the driver:
Turn your right shoulder in the back swing level
Swing the golf club around you/not up and down
Leave the tee in the ground after you hit the ball
When you are ready to begin your backswing, keep your swing thoughts to a minimum. Just think about swinging more horizontal.
At the beginning of this special report I promised you would drive the ball more with more confidence, accuracy and more consistent if you read this article every time before you tee it up this summer. This stuff seems simple, but give it a try and send me an email letting me know the results. You’ll get some really good results.
About the Author
Bobby Eldridge is a Teaching Golf Professional for the PurePoint Golf Academy where he teaches “The Simple Golf Swing” theory. You can check out PurePoint Golf here
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