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Tee it high and let it fly? Not really

October 03, 2023
Myth#5 TeeHigh-HiRes

Illustration by George Retseck

Two-time World Long Drive champion Kyle Berkshire swings his driver 145 miles per hour and can generate 230 miles per hour of ball speed. It’s OK for him to tee the ball high and launch it into outer space, but what about you? Berkshire’s coach, Golf Digest 50 Best Teacher Bernie Najar, says you’re most likely dialing up a drive into the rough—or someone’s backyard.

“If your tendency is to swing from out to in like a lot of amateur golfers do, teeing the ball high and playing it more forward in your stance creates a scenario in which you’re going to have impact collisions that are much more off-center—both horizontally and vertically on the face,” Najar says. “Catch it too low on the face and you’ll put too much backspin on it. Swipe it off the toe and you’ll have an even bigger right miss. You’re mostly looking at bigger slices or straight pulls.”

To hit your longest drives, get a little more vanilla with your setup, Najar says: Tee the ball so that about half of it is above the crown of your driver, and don’t let your ball position drift more forward than the inside edge of your front heel. You’ll be able to sweep it off the tee at an optimal launch angle for your speed.