Big Play: Hit tee shots under pressure like Tim Clark

Tim Clark is one of the most accurate drivers on Tour this season.
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Who: Tim Clark
What: 290-yard drive into the fairway

Where: 462-yard par 4 18th hole at TPC Sawgrass
When: Final round of the Players Championship

Tim Clark’s draw into the left side of the fairway on 18 was as good a tee shot under pressure as you’ll ever see. With his first PGA Tour win on the line, Clark pounded a tight draw toward the lake and into the left side of the fairway. Even for the Tour’s third-most accurate driver, the shot was stellar.

Clark is so accurate, even under pressure, partly because he swings with his elbows exceptionally close together. He had a physical problem as a child that forced him to keep his elbows together, but those close elbows have become a blessing to his swing. Most amateurs have elbows flying around in the downswing, and that causes your club to go off plane and your shots to go wayward. By keeping your elbows close together, especially in the downswing, you’ll find it’s much easier to have a repetitive motion in which you keep your wrists cocked and the club on plane.

The Drill: Mickey Wright had the best swing in history, and she had a terrific practice drill to keep her elbows together. Take something long and supple (a large belt, for example), and gently loop it around your body just above your elbows. In that position, hit soft 60- to 80-yard wedges to get the feel of having your elbows close together. It should feel unusual at first. After getting used to the motion and the sensation, keep the belt around you and speed up your swing to hit bigger shots.

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher T.J. Tomasi works at the PGA National Center for Golf Learning and Performance in Port St. Lucie, Fla.