For golfers who tend to draw or hook the ball, the same rule applies from the other side: Tee off to the left. Right-to-lefters have the option of standing outside the tee markers, which is legal as long as the ball is inside the rectangle.
"Teeing up to the left or right of the box is a visual trick," says King. "It makes the target area appear larger and safer." Another aspect of his rectangle that golfers don't generally consider concerns par-three holes, where golfers often encounter distances that make club selection difficult. Club down and swing hard, or club up and ease into the ball?Both options often cause mis-hits. The solution, says King, is to move back in the box—up to two club lengths—until you find a distance that fits.
Moving back in the box can also apply to the longer holes. Slicers looking for a spot on the far right might find an uneven lie or a muddy hole where someone has forgotten to replace their divot. Instead of gravitating toward the center to find a perfect lie, take a few steps back. Within two club lengths, a flat, grassy spot is often to be found, while maintaining an ideal visual angle to the fairway.
King stresses that these strategic tips apply to golfers of all skill levels. One glance at the pros proves that even the best players think before they plant. "The whole teeing ground is in play," says King.
Academy of Golf at PGA National Resort & Spa, Palm Beach Gardens, FL; 800-832-6235; pgagolfacademy.com
Individual lesson: $150 per hour
THINK OUTSIDE THE TEE BOX
Course designers have been known to create mischief on the tee, so when strolling up to a tee box, make sure it is pointing in the proper direction—not toward that pond to the right of the fairway. If being invited into trouble, King suggests that you mind your alignment, keeping your feet and leading shoulder to the target even if the tee box suggests otherwise. There's no rule that says golfers have to set up parallel to the markers.