How Straight Is Straight?
How straight is straight? How straight can you hit your golf ball off the tee with your Driver? How straight should you hit it?
Is there anyone in the world who can hit the ball perfectly straight?
The constant cry of the Golfer is that they want to hit the golf ball straighter. For the Monkey – if their tee shot curves more than 10 yards, they’re complaining that they’re not hitting it straight enough. Yet, the Player expects for their tee shot to curve at least 10 yards.
Isn’t that funny? The Golfer that’s not happy with their game gripes when their ball curves more than 10 yards – yet the Golfer that’s happy with their game has no problem with their ball curving over 10 yards.
A lot of it has to do with your PLAN. Now I write constantly about having a PLAN. And some people might be getting tired of hearing about it. Though, your ball striking and how you feel about it is directly affected by how you PLAN.
The Golfer that knows that their golf ball is going to curve 15 yards to the right, yet continually aims down the middle – obviously has no PLAN. They’re still playing golf on the assumption that on one swing something magical will happen and their 15 yard curve to the right will be gone forever. And they end up going 3, 7, 11, 15 years of tee shots with the same hope on every tee shot.
It’s not going to happen!
The best Players in the world – the LPGA and PGA Tour Players all have at least a 10 yard curve on every tee shot they hit. They can’t hit it straight if they wanted to!
For example – if you know that you’re going to hit a golf ball off the tee that’s going to curve 15 yards to the right – why not aim down the left side of the fairway. If you haven’t hit many straight balls off the tee, why force it – play it. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
The Monkey has this fascination with being in the middle of the fairway. They believe this is the best place to be. Though, on most holes, it might not be the best place. It’s just that they’ve heard other Monkeys talk about being in the middle and they start to believe this is where they need to be.
Tiger Woods is ranked 163rd on the PGA Tour as far as the number of Fairways Hit. He hits just barely over 50% of his fairways – yet out of the 8 tournaments he’s played this year, he’s won 3 times and came in 2nd once while averaging 3 under Par per round.
Phil Mickelson is ranked 153rd on the PGA Tour as far as the number of Fairways Hit. He hits only 1% more fairways than Tiger does – yet out of the 13 tournaments he’s played this year, he’s won 2 times, came in 2nd once and 3rd twice while averaging 2.5 strokes under Par per round.
So these two Players – two Golfers that will go down as legends, two Players that you would give just about anything and everything you have to be able to hit the golf ball half as well as they do – don’t hit the ball anything close to being straight. Yet, the Monkey thinks they should hit their golf ball straight.
So if they don’t hit their golf ball straight – how are they so successful? They have a PLAN to avoid trouble on the golf course. For example – if your ball has a tendency to curve 15 yards to the right and there’s water down the left side and trees down the right side – where should you aim?
The Monkey would possibly say either down the middle to avoid both the water and the trees. Or down the right side to avoid the water. On the other hand the Player would say they’d aim down the left side at the water.
And what might happen is that the Monkey would be so worried about hitting it straight between the water and the trees that they would possibly top the golf ball about 50 yards barely making the fairway. Or they would aim to the right and then watch their ball start down the right side and curve into the trees. On the other hand – the Player will aim down the left side and watch their golf ball start towards the water, but because their golf ball curves 15 yards to the right – their golf ball will end up on the fairway or if it curves a little more than normal, they’ll end up in the right rough.
So as the Monkey only hit their golf ball either 50 yards and now has a long way to go – or has to waste a shot out of the trees (if they can even find their ball) – the Player has kept their golf ball in play and has put themselves in position to score. And this has nothing to do with your ball striking skill. The Monkey didn’t mess-up because they made a bad golf swing. They messed-up before they even put their tee in the ground by not playing to their PLAN. Because they had such an unrealistic PLAN – either hitting it straight down the middle or aiming right and hoping the ball wouldn’t go in the trees – that their chances of success were maybe 10%.
What’s more important – keeping your ball in play or keeping it in the fairway? The answer is neither – and that even goes for the US Open with its notorious rough.
In the 2006 US Open – the winner Jeff Oglivy was ranked 21st in Fairways Hit – hitting just over half the fairways. Colin Montgomerie, who tied for 2nd place was also ranked 21st in Fairways Hit. And Phil Mickelson, who also tied for 2nd place was ranked 51st in Fairways Hit – hitting only 43% of the fairways.
So stop working so hard to hit the golf ball so straight. It’s going to curve and there’s nothing you can do about it! So stop griping and just ‘Play for your PLAN’.
The Monkey is waiting for a miracle – a straight shot – and is racking up strokes waiting for it to happen
The Player has a PLAN
Go Ahead, Be A Player!
Marc Solomon -Your Instructor For Life