Johnny Miller shares the 'greatest' accuracy advice he got from Lee Trevino
LOS ANGELES — Sometimes, golfers are just one tip away from changing their game. Maybe it's a swing tip. Or a feel.
For Johnny Miller, it was a piece of advice from the legendary ball striker, Lee Trevino. He still remembers clearly to this day.
Speaking ahead of the 2023 U.S. Open after receiving the Bob Jones Award, Miller says he always admired Trevino's game. Trevino had won the 1968 and 1971 U.S. Opens, and the pair played together during the first two rounds of Johnny Miller's iconic 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont which, of course, ended with him shooting a record 63 to win.
Not long after that win, Miller says the pair struck up a friendship. They'd often play practice rounds with each other. Trevino, never shy of sharing advice with all who ask for it (and even some who don't) started handing down some wisdom to Miller.
One piece of advice, in particular, stuck.
Trevino's driving accuracy tip for Johnny Miller
One thing I'm always amazed by when I listen to the great players from previous generations talk about golf, is how they figured out things that have been proven true.
For Miller and Trevino, it was Trevino's advice of learning to hit the ball low as a way of hitting more fairways. Lower shots mean straighter shots, Miller said, and it was that simple tip he said changed everything.
"He was the one that taught me, if you're choking, buddy, just hit it low. It doesn't have time to get off line. You guys laugh at that, but that's one of the greatest pieces of advice you can imagine," Miller said.
Of course, most of the rest of us probably want to hit the ball higher. It looks cooler, admittedly, but knowing how to hit the ball low can have some serious benefits, accuracy-wise:
- The key reason why lower shots fly straighter is because they have less spin. Backspin helps the ball get up into the air. The more of it you have, the higher your ball will go, and the more potential it has to be influenced by the elements, like wind.
- Crucially, less spin overall doesn't just mean less backspin. It also means less sidespin, which can limit the side-to-side movement of your golf shots.
Foresight Sports' Director Of Business Development, Tim Briand, explains further:
"Shot elevation can introduce a set of variables which are unnoticeable to the player. Therefore, the higher the shot trajectory, the higher the probability that the player experiences a wind condition which is unobservable to them, which causes errant shots. Additionally, for shots which are curving, the longer those curving shots are in the air, the greater the magnitude of curvature. A shot that hits the ground earlier has less opportunity to curve offline."
Miller says the way he'd learn to hit it low was to tee it down lower, and lean his body more on top of the ball, over his left leg. It became a key shot for him, and one every serious golfer should learn.
"If you get on a tight hole that's dangerous, tee it down low and lean into it like Trevino," he said. "That won me a lot of tournaments."