One of the things that build consistency into your golf swing is being able to line up shots professionally, whether it’s off the tee, in the fairway, from the rough, from the sand, or when you’re on the green. If you master the ability to line up all your shots, you’ll definitely notice an improvement in your scores, a lower handicap, and you’ll have a much more repeatable swing than you’ve ever had before. Below you’ll find some proven methods of lining up all your shots from any of the typical places on a golf course that your ball might end up.

From the Tee

The best way to approach your tee shots with a driver is to begin by using a long tee, which situates the ball about three-quarters of an inch above the top of your driver, as it rests on the ground. This method is intended to promote a higher launch angle, which, in turn, leads to greater distance and less spin on the ball. 

The next thing you should do is aim your left shoulder (assuming you’re right-handed hitter) slightly to the right of your target because this will promote an in-to-out swing that counteracts a fade or slice. Left-handed golfers can reverse this tip to achieve the same effect. Since most amateur golfers are troubled by a pronounced fade, setting your shoulder like this should help to keep you online. 

From the Fairway 

With Woods

When you have to hit a fairway wood, you’re probably looking to get 200+ yards out of your shot, and that will tempt you to swing harder than you should. Any increase in the force of your swing is likely to distort the swing and cause the ball flight to be offline, or to make a poor connection with the ball. That means you have to fight the temptation to swing harder, as difficult as that may be. Most golfers find this to be extremely difficult, especially when they’re hitting into the wind.

You may also be tempted to look up too soon from the ball, and lose good eye contact with the ball at the crucial moment of impact, and this will almost certainly end up poorly. 

With Irons

When you’re hitting irons from the fairway, the main thing to remember is to hit down on the ball, rather than to make a scooping motion along the surface of the ground. If you scoop the ball, you’ll almost always skull the ball, and it will never get airborne, because you’ve hit the ball in the middle or on the top, rather than at its base. Hitting the ball at its base is the only sure way to get the ball airborne and online toward the target.  

From the Rough

Chip Shots

When you’re faced with chip shots from the rough, you should choke down on your wedge so that you have better control of the golf club, and it’s also a good idea to have a slightly stronger grip on the club, so it doesn’t twist in your hands at impact time. Play the ball more toward the back of your stance, and make sure your weight is shifted more toward your left foot than your right one.

Then, you need to concentrate on making a very smooth and rhythmic kind of swing, with the backswing and follow-through being approximately the same height. Your hands should be forward of the club and should lead it through impact. 

Low Punch Shots

When you need to get a low punch shot out of the rough, that calls for a slightly different technique. You might be obliged to hit a low punch shot when you need to stay beneath a branch, which is between your position and the hole, or you may want to hit a low punch shot just for better control of the ball.

To successfully use this technique, start with a club that would typically give you more distance than the actual distance you have to travel. For instance, if you’re about 150 yards away and you would typically use a 7-iron from that distance, take a 6-iron for your low punch shot. At address time, make sure the ball is set further back in your stance than it would be for a normal swing, even further back than the middle of your set up.

Again, you need to make sure that your hands are forward of the ball at address time and that most of your weight is on your front foot. Swinging mostly with your arms, take the club back to a point which is about three-fourths of your normal backswing, and then swing down, while accelerating through the point of impact.

From the Sand

Many amateur golfers are terrified by having to make bunker shots, which is understandable since the potential for disaster is greatly increased when your ball has landed in the bunker. When you do find yourself obliged to blast out of the sand, you should begin by setting up with a normal stance, and the ball positioned forward of center. Then you should point your front foot toward the target, and shift your weight onto that front foot.

Next, you should grip the club lightly, but at the same position on the shaft which you would use if you were taking a full iron shot. Then you will need to open the clubface slightly so that you can add loft to the shot, and this will allow you to generate a full backswing and downswing. Stare at a spot that is approximately one inch behind the ball and accelerate your swing right through that part of the sand.

Don’t be intimidated by the possibility of blasting the ball 100 yards over the green – if you have picked out a spot behind the ball, the force of the sand should successfully explode the ball out of the bunker and onto the green.

From the Green 

There is a pretty uniform method of lining up your putting stroke so that you can achieve consistent results. Set your feet approximately shoulder-width apart, and position the ball slightly forward in your stance. Position your hands so that they are slightly forward of the ball, and so that your putter grip points toward your left hip. This action is what takes much of the loft out of the putting stroke, and improves how your ball rolls along the surface of the green.

From here, all you have to do is to make sure that your putter stays online with the ball through the backswing, and online with the ball through the downswing, with a slight acceleration at the moment of impact. Follow this routine, and you should see consistent putting results during all your rounds of golf.

With a Little Practice, Your Shots Will Improve

Don’t expect to have the perfect game overnight. It takes time and practice to develop the muscle memory to line up your golf shot, as well as the pros do.

A great way to try all the tips mentioned in this article is with bulk golf balls and a practice mat from Rawhide Golf Co. Our reconditioned balls and mats will help you get your swing, and your game in shape in no time.