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Learn to work the ball to maximize your potential

Tiger Woods Ball Flight 304
Getty Images

Tiger Woods has long been known for his incredible short game and putting. That was definitely on display this week in his four-shot victory at Torrey Pines in the Farmers Insurance Open.

Along with his short game, Tiger was also able to control his ball flight from the tee for the most part.

It’s clear that from the tee Tiger prefers to work the ball from left to right, a fade for the right-handed golfer, but occasionally we would see that get away from him and he would end up way left or right of the fairway.

Many golfers may observe Tiger’s attempts to work the ball and wonder why he simply doesn’t try to hit it straight.

I’ve answered that question below and also explained some basics you can follow to try working the ball yourself:

• The hardest thing to do in golf is to hit it straight, so don’t try. The problem with trying to hit the ball straight is that if you miss you likely don’t know if it’s going right or left. It’s better to practice making your ball curve (slightly) in one direction or the other so that you can utilize the entire fairway off the tee. For example, if you prefer a right-to-left ball flight, you can aim right of center and curve it back to the center.

• You become a much better ball-striker by learning to work the ball in both directions. Every golfer must know how to hook the ball. If you can’t hook the ball, chances are you won't be able to play at a very high level. Try curving the ball by controlling the amount of forearm rotation through impact. The more your trailing arm rotates over the lead arm, the more the ball will have hook tendencies.

• Working the ball requires good, consistent fundamentals. A fundamentally sound grip can allow you to work the ball in any direction you want. Proper alignment is also required so that your body feels like it can produce the swing needed to work the ball. If you doubt your fundamentals, it’s time to get with a PGA professional for a lesson so that you can begin playing golf to the best of your ability!

Take an online lesson with Tyrus York.