by Frank Peter
The following Golf Lesson is reprinted with permission from the "Golf Beginner Guide", a full 272 page resource for Golf Beginners. For only $29.50 you get an incredible amount of invaluable tips, lessons and advice - great value for money. Click the above link to find out more!
How often have you birdied or even been able to par a hole after finding trouble off the tee? Hitting the fairway consistently is vital to playing well. However, it's no easy task, especially in a pressure situation such as a tournament. The following are a few ideas to help you drive your ball in the fairway more often.
Visualize the Shot
Creating a positive visual image is critical in any sport but it's even more important in golf - a very mental game. The next time you're in the tee box, stand behind the ball and pick a target. Be very specific about your target rather than just aiming out there somewhere. As you stand behind the ball, picture yourself addressing the ball with the proper posture and alignment. Now, focus in on the desired ball flight. See the ball launching off the clubface - high in the air and heading right toward the target. Draw back on a positive drive from another day in the same situation. Finally, step into the address position and let it happen. Remember, "seeing" what you want gives you a much greater ratio of success.
Swing within Yourself
Many good drivers will tell you they have a "bread and butter" shot and an all-out shot. When the fairway is wide and the situation allows, it's fine to grip it and rip it. But when you really need to be in the fairway, go to a swing you can trust. Use the swing that gives you the highest percentage of accuracy. This swing is usually an 80% swing speed accompanied by good rhythm and tempo. In addition, reducing the hip turn on the backswing is helpful. Remember, the key with this type of shot is to get the ball on line and rolling. Tiger Woods used this tee shot often during the U.S. and British Opens this year. When executed correctly, your ball will fly low, straight, and roll a lot - almost knuckle down the fairway.
As I've mentioned in other lessons, balance is critical in achieving consistent results with the driver and all other parts of the game. After you've swung, you should be able to stand tall with your body fully turned toward the target for a few seconds without losing your footing. If you're at all shaky, it's time for some work. A good drill is to make a slow and complete practice swing. This slower motion will help to train your muscles and makes it easier to keep your balance. Eventually, you'll be able to increase your practice swing speed while retaining the balance at the end of the follow-through.
Use the Right Tools
This is the hard part and can take some time if you're just randomly trying clubs. This is where club fitting can really speed up the process of improving your game. No two golf swings are alike. The best club for you might be the worst for someone else. Having the perfect fit is very important in helping you find the fairway. Nowadays getting custom fitted is easy and painless with web-based fitting tools like the 'club fitting wizard' at Pinemeadow Golf (click here to find out more) or the 'e-fit System' at GigaGolf. Of course good equipment also helps a lot. Most importantly, appropriate clubs that are proven for long drives while still being very forgiving are a good way to add extra yards. A good example is the new Pinemeadow Golf Doublewall 400cc Driver which features a exclusive proprietary design to maximise distance while increasing the sweet spot for improved forgiveness.
NOTE: If you have trouble hitting your clubs correctly there is a good chance that your clubs don't suit you properly.
The reason for not improving your game may well be is due to badly fitted clubs. Think about it: people come in all different shapes and sizes, but most golfers simply buy their clubs off the rack in the golf shop.
Unless you are completely 'standard' and 'average' you should consider custom fitting for your next clubs. This can be done online, and it is free, quick and easy (and doesn't hurt a bit). Visit these two sites for free online club fitting, just follow the instructions given there:
'Club Fitting Wizard' at Pinemeadow Golf
'e-fit System' at GigaGolf