Play to your strengths off the tee | by Tim Backhouse (Jumeirah Golf Estates)

I am standing on the 18th hole of the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates. Every season this is the last hole to be played in the Race to Dubai. The pressure on that tee shot for the professionals is massive, so preparation and shot choice is key. This is the same for all levels of golfer, whether it be the 72nd hole on Earth in the DP World Tour Championship or the 1st hole at your home course in the weekly medal – you need to decide what you want to do first! 

In this scenario I talk about a draw and fade shot with a driver and a 3-wood as a ‘safe’ option. 

It is very important to figure out what your natural shot shape is. Too many people try to fight a fade rather than using it as an advantage. There’s a big difference between a fade and a slice so if you naturally fade the ball or draw the ball you should aim accordingly.


With the fade shot I will aim down the left side of the fairway with my feet, hips and shoulders, and the club face just slightly right of that. Now, with my set-up correct, all I have to do is swing on the line of my feet, and the ball will move softly from left to right back into the middle of the fairway. At impact, I feel that my chest clears left, which helps keep the club square to open as I don’t want the club to close at all.


If you are more naturally inclined to draw the ball, you would do the opposite and aim slightly down the right side, allowing for the ball to curve back into the fairway. The draw shot for a right hander suits this tee shot better, as the slope of the fairway runs from left to right towards the water hazard.


With this tee shot on 18, I also think that a 3-wood is a very good option as it widens the landing area. Driver from the tee can bring the bunkers into play much more, whereas the 3-wood for me doesn’t quite reach, so I can aim towards the bunkers, knowing that it’s out of reach and also that I’m aiming away from the water. The chances of hitting the green in two shots is very slim, so hitting 3-wood into position and then laying up with the next shot is definitely the percentage play. 

Watch the video at the top to find out more or if you would like to have your game analysed contact [email protected] 

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