Golf Tee Box Tips, Navigating The Tee Box Deceptions
Today’s golf tee box tips are about how to keep from being tricked by the golf course designers. When people are learning how to play golf they generally don’t get too excited about playing the fanciest course that is available. City owned public courses offer plenty of challenge for the beginner and generally are less expensive to play as well. The reason I mention this is that most private courses make a special effort to insure that all their tee boxes are groomed nicely. One course that I played recently had bent grass tee boxes all dead level and in pristine condition. You never see that on a public course
Let’s explore some of the subtle challenges that you will find on many courses. These are things that can and often do affect your game and score yet you tend to not realize that they are part of the problem until you have a seriously bad shot and start wondering why.
Take a look at the choices that this tee presents. Rich Harvest Farms Hole #4
The famous fourth hole Devil’s Elbow has one of the most intimidating tree-lined tee boxes and fairways of any golf course.…
So on to the tee box. That place where you take your first shot. Generally these are rectangular, giving the grounds keepers the ability to change the location of where you tee off so they can keep the grass growing over the whole tee off area.
Speaking of grass on the tee box many courses with low budgets have tee boxes that have multiple divots making it difficult to find a level place to stand or tee off. Even if it is only a subtle difference, the ball can wind up above or below your feet which can contribute to a slice or a hook.
So far so good, but what about the direction that the tee box points to? In an ideal world the tee box would be pointing directly at the middle of the fairway. In the real world that is rarely the case. I’ve inserted this crude little drawing to illustrate my point.
Now it is rarely the case that this exaggerated picture is what you will see, but this is very often present in a subtle way. Simple mis-direction in your setup will lead to a number of difficulties. I can think of several holes where the tee box is pointing straight at an obstacle or some form of trouble. There may be trouble on the opposite side as well. Your task is to thread the needle by aiming slightly to the left or right to avoid the obstacle. The challenge is that it is almost instinctive to align your body to the tee box, and you may find yourself hitting directly at the obstacle. In other cases your body will sense that you are lined up wrong and try to adjust the swing to point in the proper direction with equally disastrous results.
Driving range tip
Many of us are affected by the geometry of our environment. Think about the driving range mats for instance. Most of them are square with an embedded tee in the center of one side. It is only natural to figure that aligning yourself to the square of the mat will align you square to the target. To illustrate the point, go to a nice range that has a number of target greens dotted around the driving range. Take a tee block in the center (if you can get it) now intentionally turn your body and aim at the green that is one fifty out on the center left. Take one shot, where does your ball land? In the center?
Take your next shot at the more distant green on the right you get one shot (just like playing on the course). How about that shot did it head toward the center of the green?
Now for full effect, change up and hit a shorter pitch to the green that is 80 yards out on the near left. This shot requires you to align your body almost diagonally with the driving mat. What are your results? If your shots tended to favor a center of the fairway direction you are being affected by the placement and direction of the mat or by extension the tee box.
While we are on this topic another place to pay attention is the not so subtle placement of the tee blocks. You know the golds the whites the blues and blacks. The fellow running the mower picks those up when he mows, then quickly throws them down again as he races off to mow another one. Quite often he will not take the time to align the blocks to be square with the direction of the fairway. The casual golfer will draw a mental line between the blocks, line up squarely between the blocks and be aimed way off target. Remember it is quite easy to set your feet and knees in one direction then turn your shoulders to point a bit differently; the results are not pretty.
Finally there are the distractions. I could write a book about this one. Have you heard the one about the cart-lady or marshal who is waiting for you to tee off? She is just up there on the cart-path on the right. She thinks she is far enough away that you will not hit her, but she is close enough for you to see her. (Okay, if it is the one who wears the micro shorts maybe you want to see her…) The fact that you can see her and the fact that your eye is being drawn by that distraction will often cause you to unconsciously hit toward or away from it. Courses that have back and forth fairways often have golfers who inadvertently hit into the oncoming fairway.
I have seen it a hundred times; the cart driver comes up the side of the fairway, realizes that your group is teeing off and parks just off the fairway thinking that every golfer in your foursome is “Mr Accuracy,” sure enough before we are finished teeing off one of us will be yelling fore! Why? He is in our field of vision, he does not belong there, he is distracting our focus from the target and subconsciously we aim toward our last dominate thought as we swing.
Three Tips to help you hit the fairway
- Decide on your ideal landing area. Now pick a target beyond your landing area that is exactly in line with your target. It should be stable (not capable of moving like the flag) like a tree or a even a house off the course. This is the absolute direction you wish to hit your ball.
- Next pick an intermediate target that is inline with your distance target. Your intermediate target should be visible from your setup, no more than 10′ from your ball. This is your sole reference point as you set your alignment for your tee shot. Ignore everything else in the tee box, especially the tee blocks. Align your body to the ball with reference to the intermediate target.
- To get your ball to the target landing zone you need the best swing to get it there. Your final focus should be on the golf ball itself. Look at the back of the ball and imagine the club-face making contact with the ball. By focusing on the dimple on the back of the ball your last dominate thought is making contact with the ball. If you are distracted by anything, step away, go through your setup again.
Filed under: Golf Trouble Shots
Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!