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How to Handle Tee Shots with Trouble Down the Right Side

If you’re standing on a tee box with trouble to the right, you’re probably nervous. Many golfers hit a slice with their driver, so seeing a bunch of trees or a hazard off on the right side can easily produce a moment of panic. Instructor Debbie Doniger is here to help you play this shot without fear.

If the hole demands driver, Doniger says to start by teeing your ball up on the right side of the tee box. This will open up your vision of the left side of the fairway, where you want your ball to go. Tee the ball a little lower than usual. When you set your club down, set it down a little shut. That means, if a square clubface sits at 12 o’clock, a shut clubface will be at 11 o’clock. After the clubface is closed, take your grip.

Check out our full video lesson plan with Doniger: Play Without Fear

Aim to the left side of the fairway, and take your normal swing. Because you closed the face, you’ll see the ball flight behave differently than normal. Your shot will be a little pull, or a pull-slice. Either way, it’s going to end up in the fairway and not in whatever nightmare is lurking on the right.

Doniger also says that if at all possible, opt for a club other than your driver. Try your 5-wood or hybrid. There’s more loft on those clubs, so they’re more forgiving.

Doniger points out a huge reason people have problems with tee shots that have trouble on the right side is mental. You’re probably anxious, which produces tension. Doniger says to try and pinpoint where you’re holding tension -- maybe it’s in your jaw or your shoulders or hands. Once you’re aware of it, you can try to relieve it by focusing on your breathing or counting in your head. Doing this will take the tension down enough to let you swing with freedom. Because even if you do everything right with your setup, it’s not going to be a good shot if you’re tense.

If you want help on other scary shots in golf, check out the video series we did with her, Play Without Fear, where she gives lessons on how to handle all of the scariest shots in golf.