How To Drive More Fairways Starting Now

Golf is a funny game. Some rounds you have it. Your putting is dead on, your approach shots are right at the pin, and your drives hit the fairway. You play so well your score belies your golf handicap. Other rounds, you don’t have it. Your putting is off, your approach shots miss the green, and your drives miss the fairway, sometimes by wide margins.

On those days, you don’t play anywhere near your golf handicap. When you find yourself playing poorly, you should make every effort to salvage the day. It can be frustrating but you can turn a bad round into a good if you try. A good way to do that is to get back to the basics.

Start by working on your driving, it sets you up for good approach shots and creates the right “tone” for the hole. It can also help turn around your game that day. The key is driving it straight and that, as I’ve said in many times in my golf tips, is correct alignment.

Align Yourself Properly At Address

If you’re not aligned at address, bad things happen. You’ll have to make swing difficult adjustments mid-stream to compensate. For example, if you’re right-handed and you’re aimed too far left, you’ll have to swing across the ball at the bottom to correct for the mis-alignment. That’s not an easy adjustment to make. It takes a highly skilled player to make adjustments and still hit the fairway consistently. There may also be clubface issues to address as well.

If you align yourself at address, you’ll dramatically increase your fairways hit per round. That in turn will impact your scores and your golf handicap. Good drives leave you in position for easy second shots and eliminate wasted shots designed to get you out of trouble. But there’s more to hitting straight drives than just aligning yourself correctly. You also have to swing along the target line while the clubhead is in the hitting zone. The longer you can keep the clubhead on the target line the straighter your shot.

Below is a drill that teaches you to do that.

Target Line Drill Helps

This drill trains you to keep your swing along the target line. Tee up a ball. Place two dowels in the ground spaced a foot apart three yards in front of your ball. Your goal is to practice hitting your drives through the window formed by the dowels. With a narrow yet close target like the dowels, you’ll be less likely to come over the top with your swing. On the course, use imaginary dowels to remind you to swing down the line through the hitting zone.

As for aligning yourself correctly, below is a six-step alignment routine that can serve as a model for yours:

1. Stand behind the ball. Pick out a target.

2. Take your stance where you’re standing. Draw an imaginary line from your target back through the ball. Square your clubface to this line.

3. Make a full practice swing from there. Sense the clubhead moving down the target line through impact. Visualize the ball flight you want to use.

4. Focus on the target line in front of the ball. Walk into your stance from the left (if you’re right-handed), keeping your eye on the target line.

5. Set your clubhead behind the ball. Point the face down the line. Maintain your focus on the line in front of the ball.

6. Set your feet perpendicular to the line. Look at the target one last time. Turn your eyes to the ball and pull your trigger. Once you set your feet set, take a slight step back with your back foot.

It’s a trick Tiger Woods uses. It keeps you behind the ball when swinging, increases stability, and provides a firm foundation for a powerful drive. Making sure you’re correctly aligned and staying on the swing path are two keys to hitting straight drives. Use an alignment routine on every driver swing, as I tell students in my golf lessons. It helps you find the target line and align your body and clubface to it.

Practicing the target line drill improves your ability to keep your clubhead on the right swing path. Going back to basics starts in the tee box. It’s a great way to salvage a bad round and keep your golf handicap from increasing.

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