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Uncle Peter

How to stay aligned on non-perpendicular tee shots?

19 posts in this topic

This may be more of a personal thing, but I've noticed that I have trouble lining up for tee shots where I have to aim non-perpendicular to the tee box markers. Does anyone else have this problem and what can I do to help align myself better?

I've attached a photo of what I mean, because it's kind of hard to explain. Basically, I am fine hitting shots in the direction of the red arrow (perpendicular to the tee box markers (straight shots)) but have a hard time aligning my body and legs on tee shots in the direction of the black lines (non-perpendicular to the tee box markers).

Help or any tips would be much appreciated!

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On particularly deceiving teeing ground, I will stand behind my ball viewing a line to the target. I will pick out a spot a few feet in front of the ball as a reference to the intended line and use that as my guide.

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Yea this gets amateurs a ton. Each golf hole has a point were the eye is drawn to. Its the same thing when you look at a painting, your eyes are drawn to one area first. Its just how our mind works. Artist use this to there advantage, and so do golf courses. I think Pete Dye uses it to much. He will give you blind tee shots, and mess with your visual Q's alot.

This one hole i play, the tee box, which has trees lining the right side of the tee box, point you 50 yards right of the fairway. there is a big tree on the left side of the fairway that encroaches on your tee shot a bit. The right side of the fairway some trees, not much, but enough were you can have a good break or bad break. The Fairway slopes right to left. Left is marked as a hazard. So comprehend that, tee box points you into trees, a tree on the left forces you not to want to hit challenge the left, and there's a hazard left. Everything is telling you, "HIT IT TO THE RIGHT".


Its taken me a year to get comfortable hitting this fairway. I use to just tee up the ball, and wonder why my good shots were going into the trees on the right. Even today i still think when i line up, i am aiming to far left, but i usually just play a draw off the right side of the fairway, using the slop to get it to roll to the middle, middle left of the fairway for a good angle into the green.

But here's what i do. I stand behind the ball. I will hold my club in front of me so the tip end is pointing down the fairway, and the butt end is over my ball. I will lower the tip end, tracing a line back to my ball. This helps me pick out a spot in front of me i want to align myself to. Then i will line up the club to the ball first. I am pretty good at this, but i can imagine a line from that point through the ball, and i get myself square to that. From there, i waggle a few times to get loose because i was just doing some heavy thinking on my alignment, and don't want to get stiff over the ball.

I think a good tip is, learn were your shoulders are aiming as well, when your hitting good shots into the green. If you can turn your head, were you think your ball should go, and you see more of your left shoulder, your probably aiming to far right. Just some visual Q's.

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This is another reason that when you're on the range, you MUST hit to a specific target, not just beat balls. Just knocking balls down the middle simply reinforces your reliance on the tee markers and tee box orientation. On the range, make it a point to pick out target areas that are significantly off line from you and hit to them. You'll find that you gain a lot of confidence on the course when the tee box points you in a direction you don't want to go....
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I've never even thought about using tee markers for alignment. Sounds difficult to me, with one behind you and one 3-4 yards ahead of you. I just use an intermediate target. Works wherever you are on the course.
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Stand well behind them (within two club lengths though) so they don't form quite as strong of a perpendicular line. One will be behind you, after all, and the other so far in front of you that your brain won't try to draw a pair of perpendicular lines between the ball, your target, and the tee marker.

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Originally Posted by TourSpoon

On particularly deceiving teeing ground, I will stand behind my ball viewing a line to the target. I will pick out a spot a few feet in front of the ball as a reference to the intended line and use that as my guide.

+1 on this method (Jack Nicklaus) and what Erik added.

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I've never seen it as a problem.  I use the same method for alignment for every shot I make, from driver to putter.  While standing behind the ball, I pick a mark about 2 feet in front of the ball that's on my line of play, then that is my only focus for the rest of the setup.  Since I can only see one tee marker in my peripheral vision, how it's aligned is irrelevant.

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Originally Posted by Zeph

I've never even thought about using tee markers for alignment. Sounds difficult to me, with one behind you and one 3-4 yards ahead of you.

I just use an intermediate target. Works wherever you are on the course.

I don't think he's saying that he actually uses the tee markers to line up.  I used to scoff at the idea that this should bother you, but I don't anymore.  When I am at the range I purposely pick the portion that has the mats all "pointing" in the general direction of the flag I usually use to aim.  When I'm stuck on another portion, even with an alignment stick down, it messes with me.  And it can't be my alignment because I have the stick at my feet showing me exactly where I'm supposed to be aiming. ...

Originally Posted by iacas

Stand well behind them (within two club lengths though) so they don't form quite as strong of a perpendicular line. One will be behind you, after all, and the other so far in front of you that your brain won't try to draw a pair of perpendicular lines between the ball, your target, and the tee marker.

... What I think he might be having trouble with is the line created by the cut in the grass in front of him.  And it might even be more of a subconscious thing during the downswing than an actual alignment thing.

Not sure if I'm making sense, but at least in my case, what I believe it to be is more of a fight with my brain and my body where I have to convince myself that I lined up correctly and I am aimed correctly, so dammit, don't try to correct me on the way down and follow the line of the cut in the grass!

EDIT:  I have never seen it as a problem on the course, because I have never played courses with tee boxes cut that dramatically, that close, and that straight (they're often circles).  But on the range mats?  Yeah, it's an issue for me. ;)

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Most players I've spoken to at my home course agree that we have a number of tees that, if you're not paying attention, will subtly guide you into aiming somewhere other than the middle of the fairway. I think you just need to be really rigorous in sighting your shot from behind the ball, picking out an intermediate spot on the ground, and then trusting that you're lined up correctly in relation to your spot - even when it feels like you're aimed miles left or right.

I do best with a similar approach to putting. I need an aiming spot maybe just a few inches in front of the ball that I can see whilst I'm setting up. Roll the ball over the spot and trust that your read takes care of the borrow and path to the cup. Most people are more comfortable feeling that they're aiming more directly at their target.

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I don't think he's saying that he actually uses the tee markers to line up.  I used to scoff at the idea that this should bother you, but I don't anymore.  When I am at the range I purposely pick the portion that has the mats all "pointing" in the general direction of the flag I usually use to aim.  When I'm stuck on another portion, even with an alignment stick down, it messes with me.  And it can't be my alignment because I have the stick at my feet showing me exactly where I'm supposed to be aiming. ...

I see. Guess I've gotten so used to using an intermediate target that I don't notice stuff like that. I still find it a bit haphazard to just randomly aim in the general direction of the tee markers. I go for the best grass on the range and put down my alignment sticks, not thinking about how the range markers are aligned. Often that is towards one of the ends of the range, which means I'm standing at an angle.

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Originally Posted by Zeph

I go for the best grass on the range and put down my alignment sticks, not thinking about how the range markers are aligned. Often that is towards one of the ends of the range, which means I'm standing at an angle.

Grass ranges are no problem for me ... but I frequently practice at a range that has mats only, and they are little squares (5'x5' maybe?) so if you are aiming at a target that is at a severe angle to the direction the mat is pointing ... it's impossible not to be aware of that because you have the outside edge of your mat and the inside edge of the next mat, and even several more mat edges down the line in your peripheral pointing you in the wrong direction.

I just like to take that little bit of confusion out of the equation and use the mats that are already pointing in the correct general direction so it's not an issue.  Here's a video showing my range: http://thesandtrap.com/t/60622/my-swing-golfingdad/120_30#post_884020

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Agree with you Golfingdad. Notwithstanding my point earlier about finding certain shots tricky to line up on the course, I'm much more aware of the problem if I'm hitting out of a bay, or off a square patch of astroturf, at much of an acute angle.

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Grass ranges are no problem for me ... but I frequently practice at a range that has mats only, and they are little squares (5'x5' maybe?) so if you are aiming at a target that is at a severe angle to the direction the mat is pointing ... it's impossible not to be aware of that because you have the outside edge of your mat and the inside edge of the next mat, and even several more mat edges down the line in your peripheral pointing you in the wrong direction. I just like to take that little bit of confusion out of the equation and use the mats that are already pointing in the correct general direction so it's not an issue.  Here's a video showing my range: [URL=http://thesandtrap.com/t/60622/my-swing-golfingdad/120_30#post_884020]http://thesandtrap.com/t/60622/my-swing-golfingdad/120_30#post_884020[/URL]

I agree there. When hitting off mats I always stand parallel to the mat. If you can't rotate the mat and want to hit towards a different target, I can understand wanting to find the most centered mat. Most mat ranges I've used got loose mats on concrete, so I can rotate a mat on the outer edge to be aimed towards a flag or something. The mat will give you lines during the swing that can mess with your head.

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When our range changed ownership they shifted the whole thing right,to make more room for the campsite that has caravan and tents. All the yardage markers were moved and the mats repositioned. Consequently all the straight lines in your peripheral vision from the Bay and the mat can mess your alignment so I understand. Its quite confusing to hit at an angle from the bay that doesn't even go straight down the range. I now use the back hedge to pick out a shot.. On the course tee boxes even if they align away from the fairway are big enough that once you pick your target when I look down I can only see the grass around the ball so that's not an issue so always be diligent at the range.
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Originally Posted by Zeph

I agree there. When hitting off mats I always stand parallel to the mat. If you can't rotate the mat and want to hit towards a different target, I can understand wanting to find the most centered mat. Most mat ranges I've used got loose mats on concrete, so I can rotate a mat on the outer edge to be aimed towards a flag or something. The mat will give you lines during the swing that can mess with your head.

Same for me.  Maybe it's the OCD part of my personality!  But I do find it distracting in a bay.

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i'm with the OP on this one

i HATE it when the tee box aligns you elsewhere

drives me nuts!

i always feel uncomfortable

i'm getting better though...

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I think its fine that courses do this, i wouldn't want ever hole. But some golf holes always look better to the eye than others. Playing with visuals is a part of a golf course designers arsenal. Pete Dye has made a living off of this. His courses will mess with your head so much, its not funny.

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