It’s the worst feeling in golf – watching your ball sail out of bounds off the tee.
And it always seems as though you hit your worst drive, your biggest slice, on the very tee shot that punishes you the most for it…
Most golfers would agree that when faced with out of bounds (or dense foliage that gives you no chance of finding your ball) along the side of hole, it somehow gets into your head and increases the likelihood that you’ll hit the ball precisely where you don’t want to be.
When you absolutely have to avoid danger to the left or right of a tee shot, I have a simple tip that will keep your ball safe the majority of the time.
Watch the video or see the summary and diagram below:
In this scenario, we’re on the tee of a long par 4 and we’ve chosen to take a driver for the tee shot. We have a nice wide teeing ground but the entire left hand side of the hole is out of bounds. I’m sure you can imagine a similar hole at your own course.
Where we stand on the tee box can influence our perception of the hole and the way we ‘feel’ about the shot. In this scenario, a lot of golfers would make a beeline for the far right of the tee – the point furthest away from the out of bounds side
However, you can see from Photo 1 below that their alignment will actually point in towards the out of bounds side. And if they have a tendency to slice the ball, they may end up so far right that they’re in just as much trouble.
In Photo 2, the scenario has just be flipped around so that out of bounds is on the right.
Instead of teeing up on the far side of the teeing ground, tee up as close to the out of bounds side as possible. Your alignment (and your ‘feel’ of the shot) will be away from the danger and towards the centre of the fairway.
From a set up point of view this approach will help you keep the ball safe. And from a mental point of view, it helps you to focus on where you want to be (the fairway) instead of where you want to avoid (out of bounds). See this ‘think in positives’ video for more on that.