Don’t Forget, The Hole Starts on the Tee!

Kim Anders
Director of Instruction
John Jacobs Golf Schools and Academies Estrella del Mar Golf and Beach Resort
Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico, AZ

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The hole starts on the tee!! It doesn’t take a single digit handicap to figure that one out. But, far too many people don’t really pay much attention to what they’re doing when they get to the tee box. Grab the driver, march up to the tee, get somewhere between and behind the markersand tee it up, giving little thought to the consequences of what they’re doing.

When teeing your ball, your location side to side on the tee box can greatly determine how you are going to play the hole. For example, if your normal shot turns left to right you are probably concerned about the lake or

out-of-bounds on the right side of the hole. The natural tendency is to get as far away from your problem area as you can by teeing the ball up on the opposite side of the tee box. In reality, this is the worst thing you can do. 

To help prove my point, take a minute and draw a diagram of a straight hole with OB on the right. Next, draw the tee box the width of the fairway. Now, from the left side of the tee, draw a line showing the shape of your normal left to right shot so the ball finishes in the middle of the fairway. In order to do this, the flight of the ball must hug the left side of the hole or even pass over the left rough. Repeat this exercise from the right side of the tee box. The flight of the ball would start towards the left rough and then fade back to the middle of the fairway

By playing your tee shot from the right side of the tee box, you are playing away from the trouble on the right. The ball is over the fairway the entire time and nowhere near the trouble on the right. Play from the left and you are playing parallel to the trouble with the ball working or turning TOWARDS the trouble. The important thing is to determine where YOUR trouble is – it may not always be the obvious trouble. 

There’s a hole on my home course with a lake down the left side and nothing on the right but 5 acres of rough. You would think the lake would be my trouble. However, from the rough I can’t seem to make a par. So now, I tee it up on the right side of the tee and aim down the left side towards the lake. I’m not worried about knocking it in the lake because I haven’t been there for a long time. It’s the rough on the right that scares me to death. Now I’m hitting the fairway most of the time and making a lot of pars.  

Once I start hitting my shots into the lake I will adjust because my trouble will have changed from the rough on the right to the lake on the left! A good example of how your trouble can move over the course of several rounds. I’ve seen this one little tip save many people a lot of strokes. Give it a try. It can help you, too!!

Kim Anders is Director of Golf at Estrella del Mar Golf & Beach Resort in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico. You can reach Kim via email at or call 1.888.587.0609, Ext. 3010. Find out more about the golf resort by visiting