December 4, 2007

Train your aim

Zero in on accurate tee shots by using an intermediate target

SIGHTING: Use an intermediate target (1) to align your clubface and body to your ultimate target (2).

SIGHTING: Use an intermediate target (1) to align your clubface and body to your ultimate target (2).

The two best players of all time -- Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods -- use the same intermediate-target process to aim on every full shot, which means it's probably the right way to go for the rest of us.

To do it, start from behind the ball and pick a spot close to you—like the bush in this picture or, better yet, something even closer on the tee box—that's on the same line as your ultimate target. Then picture a line from the ball through both of those targets.

Step into your stance with your back foot, then line up your clubface so it's perpendicular to the intermediate target. As you finish setting up, make sure your feet, knees, hips, shoulders and eyes are aligned parallel to the line that runs from the ball through both targets.

Take a last look at the far target. If your aim feels off before you swing, go through the whole process again. Don't just adjust a single element, like your feet or shoulders. That throws your entire alignment out of whack.


      • __HOW I SEE IT

Two young players to watch in 2008__

Mahan

Fans know what to expect from Tiger Woods -- major championships and finishes on the first page of the leader board week in and week out. But which younger players have a chance to make a big step in 2008? I like two: Hunter Mahan (right) and Anthony Kim.

If you followed golf closely in 2007, you saw Mahan's name a lot. He broke through and won in Hartford in June, and he made the Presidents Cup team. What sets him apart from other young players is his ability to play well on the hard courses, as he showed at Carnoustie with a final-round 65. I consider him one of the best drivers of the ball on tour -- he's the only player in the top 30 who ranked in the top 40 in both driving distance and driving accuracy.

Anthony Kim showed a lot of game for a 22-year-old in 2007. He came close to winning for the first time with three top-five finishes, and they were on courses he'd never seen before. He's long off the tee and a great putter. But I like his confidence the most: He feels like he belongs out there, and he's not afraid to go for his shots.

Ranked No. 3 by his peers among Golf Digest's 50 Greatest Teachers, Haney owns six golf schools/practice facilities in the Dallas and Fort Worth areas. View more tips from Haney.