Golf Tips: Eliminate One Side of the Course

Hall of Fame golfer Ben Hogan hooked the ball early in his career and often found trouble, especially when that hook occasionally turned into a snap-hook. In response, he worked tirelessly to learn to hit a controlled fade that allowed him to effectively eliminate the left side of a hole. The hard work he put in helped him achieve his legendary consistency and propelled him to a long and brilliant career.

Jack Nicklaus followed Hogan’s methodology by playing a fade 90 percent of the time and taking the left side of the course out of play as well. He followed that formula to become golf’s greatest player yet, carving out a place of his own in the Hall of Fame and winning the most major golf championships ever, 18, along the way.

Hank Haney coached Tiger Woods to take the same approach, urging Tiger to eliminate half the golf course when he played. During the six years Haney and Woods worked together Tiger won 6 major championships. You, too, can benefit by following a strategy of hitting shots that eliminate one side of the course when you play.

For average golfers the secret to success is to utilize your natural shot shape. Don’t fight your tendencies, use them to your advantage instead to create a repeatable ball flight that lets you predictably eliminate one side of the course and play with increased confidence.

Here’s what we mean by eliminating one side of the course like Hogan, Nicklaus and Woods. If your natural shot shape is a fade, (for right-handed golfers) tee your ball up on the far right side of the tee box just inside the marker, then set up aiming down the far left side of the fairway. Your natural fade will start the ball where you aimed toward the left side of the fairway, then predictably curve right and land on the right side of the fairway, at worst just into the right-side rough. You’ve just effectively eliminated the left side of the hole. Those who draw the ball start on the far left side of the tee box, aim at the far right side of the fairway, predictably curve the ball right-to-left and land down the left side of the fairway, eliminating the right side of the hole.

You’ll find that eliminating one side of the golf course could save you several shots per round. Any trouble (out of bounds, bunkers, water) on the side you eliminate is also eliminated. Playing golf this way gives you confidence that you can predict where the ball will end up. You’ll be able to conceive and visualize shots better and confidently put together a game plan to play each hole. Golf’s much more fun and easier to play when you can predict with relative certainty where the ball will go.