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Go with your natural shot shape whenever possible

March 2013

Some people say you should curve your tee shot to match the direction a hole turns, like playing a draw on a dogleg-left hole. But it has been my experience that most amateurs can't do that consistently. I'd rather see you play every hole, no matter which way it curves, using your usual shot shape. It might not leave you in the best position—for example, you might be on the outside corner of a dogleg—but you'll likely be on or near the fairway.

You can always use the tee box to help you play your natural shot. If you slice or fade the ball, tee up on the far right side of the box, near the marker (above). If you hook the ball, tee up on the far left side. It's OK to stand outside the markers as long as your ball is between them.

Tom Watson

Illustration: Joe McKendry

This teeing tactic gives you more room to curve the ball into play. It's especially helpful if you have to aim at the rough on one side to keep your drive in the fairway.


MORE THOUGHTS FROM TOM

If you mostly hit slices, be more aggressive with your tee shots on dogleg-right holes. If you hook, be aggressive on dogleg lefts. This is particularly true if you have a helping wind.

TOM WATSON is a Golf Digest Playing Editor and the golf professional emeritus at The Greenbrier, in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

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