Tips from the Tee

Staff Report

Mountain-oriented putting

When reading putts, keep in mind that the greens will slope toward the water, away from the mountains. It happens on every mountain course you can play; designers plan courses so they drain toward the river basins. Find out where the river is or the lower part of the valley.

Turn when putting

For pitch shots (partial swings), make sure that you turn your lower body toward the target, so that you’re facing the target at the end of the swing. A lot of people think you should keep your body really still, but that’s not true. Many women, however, usually overturn going back and underturn going forward.

Get parallel when hitting on a hill

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It’s important to get your body (i.e., your feet, hips and shoulders) parallel to the slope, not perpendicular to it. People want to lean into a slope to try to make up for it, but you actually want to think of making it level. Then, if you’re hitting uphill, take more club. If you’re hitting downhill, take less club and expect the ball to roll more.

Don’t blame it on your swing

Usually, everybody thinks that there’s something wrong with their actual swing, but if you’re playing poorly, it’s probably that your fundamentals are off: Your grip, your posture, your ball position or your alignment. If just one small part of your fundamentals is not where it should be, it can throw your whole swing off. Revisit the general principle behind each fundamental.

It’s all in the stance

On the tee box, start with about 60 percent of your weight on your back foot and use a wider stance, so you’re working from a more stable platform. Position the ball off your front instep; the result is that you’ll catch the ball on the upswing, which gives you the most distance off the tee.

Gone with the wind

In windy conditions, you’ll have better control if you hit a knock-down shot, which goes lower and stays under the wind. Take one or two clubs stronger than you’d normally use for that distance, then play the ball a little farther back in your stance. Take a half to three-quarter back swing, and keep your hands low on the follow-through. This should produce a lower than normal shot, but still one with plenty of spin.

Getting out of the sand

Imagine that there’s a hundred-dollar bill underneath your golf ball. Your club should enter the sand where the bill would start and exit where the bill would end. Make sure you swing completely through. This will help you lift the ball out of the bunker, rather than scooping it out.

Short shots

Cheating on short, breaking putts is perfectly legal, and wise… Wind affects the roll of putts; don’t worry about it.

A Tiger tip

“Though many golfers are better off teeing the ball higher to hit it farther, I discovered early in my career that teeing the ball low increased my accuracy off the tee. Keeping the club short of parallel on the backswing also helps with control. I make sure I have a nice, wide arc on my backswing and feel that I’m taking the club back a little more upright with my arms. I want a similar feeling on my through swing. That combination helps me hit tee shots that find the fairway — something very important on the long, tight driving holes at U.S. Opens.” – Tiger Woods,

A Lehman Lesson

If you don’t start off holding the club correctly, the rest of your swing will suffer.” – Tom Lehman,

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