Can You Hit a low fade or a high draw?
Neither could I before I knew how to practice them, but you won’t believe how much being able to shape the ball will help your game. This drill is designed to get you visualizing and feeling shots (not thinking about technique).
The pros get so precise about their visualization. I hear top players talk about “a low 5 yard fade” or “a high 10 yard draw”. I’m going to show you how to practice, so you can get closer and closer to this level of acute visualization. Even if you don’t honestly believe you can hit those sorts of shot, just visualizing properly and making some small changes to your set-up can get you closer to hitting it.
If you can make these shots part of your repertoire, you’ll have a full scoring game.
Just ask Tiger about The Power of “The Nine Shots”
Tiger used to work on this drill on the driving range with Hank Haney.
Hank would have Tiger hit a high fade, a regular fade and a low fade and then do the same hitting 3 straight shot and 3 draws, making a total of 9 different shots. For these drills I recommend using alignment sticks or putting 2 clubs down to for a cross, like this:
Let’s start with the easy part. In my early days of playing, I was told countless times by pros how important it was to be able to play shots of different trajectories.
1. With a 7-iron, hit 3 shots, one from the back of your stance, one from the middle and one off your front heel (change nothing but your ball position). Notice what happens to the trajectory.
2. Try to become aware of how each shot feels. With practice you’ll instinctively know where the ball should be in your stance to hit the trajectory you desire.
3. Notice how far the ball flies too, so you can begin to get a feel for yardages as moving the ball around in your stance changes the loft of the club.
Hitting a fade
1. Align your feet where you want the ball to start (using the alignment sticks or clubs). For a right-hander this will be left of the target
2. Align your club-face where you want the ball to finish
3. With this combination of the alignment of your club-face and body, you’ll be forced to grip the club more “open”. But don’t think about this. All you need to worry about is having your grip look neutral from above with the “v’s” of your thumbs pointing between your chin and shoulder.
4. Make a normal swing and watch the ball fly left to right.
After each shot, become aware of the feeling the shot shape.
Hitting a draw
For your draw set-up, it’s exactly the opposite. Align your feet to the right of the target – where you want the ball to start and align your club-face to the target (always have a target whatever your practicing on the driving range).
It’s important not to force a shape, just let it happen with the change in set up.
Try this exercise in practice and during your warm-up to synchronize your body and mind (I have a good warm up technique in an upcoming lesson).
Now Play “The Nine Shots”
Now you can hit the ball low and high, left to right and right to left, now you can plan the nine shots.
1. Start by putting the ball back in your stance and hitting a fade, so you hit a low fade then move it forward to the middle and then to the front heel, so the fade gets progressively higher.
2. Then do the same with a straight and the draw shots, giving you a total of 9 shots.
This practice does a number of things:
Giving yourself a greater repertoire of shots will help you score. E.g. If you’re hitting to a pin back left with trouble short left, a better “scoring shot” is one that moves right to left.
Focusing on the type of shot you want to hit, not what you don’t want to hit will lead to a positive execution (you squeeze out self-doubt).
It gets you thinking non-technically, the mind sends images to the body, telling it what it must do subconsciously.
Hitting a variety of shots on the range will simulate the golf course, where you’re constantly having to change clubs and shots (not just hit it straight).
Find a “go-to” shot
Hopefully, what you will also discover is a “goto” shot – under pressure that you feel most comfortable hitting.
This could be a fade or draw, whatever it is, when you’re under pressure you’ll have it in the bag and you’ll know you can pull it off.
Develop a “Shot Library”
A “shot library” is like a DVD in the players brain where he can instantly recall previously having played the type of shot required perfectly. Tiger Woods is said to have a library in his head of 100 shots he knows he can comfortably hit.
Start building your shot library now!