Tee Box Strategy

What you might be getting wrong about picking a target off the tee

August 22, 2022

What’s your thought process when you stand on the tee? If you’re like a lot of golfers, it’s probably along the lines of: Hit it as far as possible, or hit it as straight as possible. It can be an advantage sometimes to simplify your approach, but when it comes to picking a target, there's actually some nuance that goes into choosing a target when you have the most powerful club in your hands. Molly Braid, a Golf Digest Best Young Teachers based in Wisconsin, sees a lot of her students not look closely enough at the landing area before picking their target.

Stand on the tee box and picture very specifically where your ball is going to land—and how it will react.

“The landing area on a hole is often sloped in one direction or the other,” Braid explains.

Take the hole she’s playing in the below video. It's not good enough to aim at the middle of the fairway. As you see in this example, the fairway slopes from the left to the right. That means when your ball lands, it’s going to kick to the right. If you hit the center of the fairway, your ball could end up off the fairway in a matter of a few bounces.

Watch the video here:

@golfdigestwoman Do you pick a smart target off the tee? 👀 Follow this advice from Golf Digest Best in State teacher Molly Braid to hit more fairways. #golf #golftik #golftip #lpga #girlswhogolf #womensgolf ♬ Suns - Official Sound Studio

“My target is nowhere in the fairway, it’s actually on the left side of the rough. From there when it lands, it’ll roll back into the fairway,” Braid explains.

If you’re not hitting first, pay attention to the way your playing partners’ tee balls react when they land and use that information to inform your own target line. Doing this simple analysis on each landing area can help you find the fairway more often and ultimately save you a few strokes.