Tip of the Day: Hit Around a Dogleg

The art of making a hole shorter
Fred Vuich
1. Study the corner

Good players rarely work the ball toward potential danger. So examine the area inside the corner you want to clear: If you curve the ball too much, you don't want to bring a hazard into play. If the corner is safe and reachable, and a mis-hit shot that flies straight would leave you in fairway or light rough, the risk is worth taking. If not, use less club and aim for the middle of the fairway.

2. Set up for success

You want to play to the largest section of fairway posible, so start from the side of the tee box that's closest to the corner. This way the shot will curve in the same direction as the hole. Here, the fairway bends from right to left, so I have teed the ball on the left, aimed my clubface where I want the ball to land and aligned my stance toward a tree that is right of my final target.

3. An aggressive swing

To avoid troubl, aim conservatively, but make sure your swing is aggressive. Waggle the club a few times to keep your arms and hands free of tension. Trust your aim and swing along your bodyline to get the shot started in the proper direction. Swinging confidently will help you impart the necessary spin on the ball to work it around the corner.

Man bites dog

Golf's most famous dogleg encourages the pros to bend their drives like Beckham. It's short by today's standards, but drives that fly dead straight run through the fairway and into a bed of pine needles.

An attacking draw around the dogleg leaves a shorter second shot from an excellent angle. However, Rae's Creek runs up the left side of the hole, so overcooked draws that become hooks find trouble. In his legendary back nine run at the 1986 Masters, Jack Nicklaus hit a perfectly drawn drive that left him a 6-iron approach and led to a birdie.

Here's a trick you can borrow from the Bear:
Nicklaus used his 3-wood from the tee for precision and control. When you want to turn a right-to-left corner, use a 3-wood rather than driver. It's less likely to turn into a hook, and the ball will fly higher and land softer, so a mis-hit will be more likely to hold the fairway.

Tee it high, let it fly

When you want to hit a draw, tee the ball a little higher than normal. This will encourage a shallower swing that moves the ball from right to left. If a big fade is your choice, tee th ball slightly lower and your downswing will be steeper.


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