Shot Doctor: Shaping Your Shots
By Mark Keating, Head PGA Golf Professional, OGA Golf Course
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The next two editions of Shot Doctor are going to discuss ways for you to practice shaping your shots with a draw or a fade. Adding these two shots to your arsenal will help you a great deal when your ball rolls inconveniently behind a tree or a different obstacle.
This month's topic is how to effectively draw your shot. First of all, just so we are all on the same page, a draw (whether left or right handed) curves toward your body (or draws in). A fade will curve away from your body (or fade away).
The geometry of a draw (that finds its target) is fairly simple: the face of the club should be aiming to the right of the target (for right-handed players) and the path of the club should be slightly more to the right.
The club face will dictate where the ball starts out, and the difference between the face and the path will determine how much side-spin will be applied. Although it seems strange, neither the clubface or the path are pointed at, or directed to, the target.
Learning to Draw: The draw of your shot is a result of an “inside-out” swing path. When working on your inside-out swing, practice this from a neutral stance. Although some pros may recommend a closed stance when hitting a draw, I recommend you take regular aim at the target - otherwise you may end up developing new bad habits that will be tough to break. Here are a couple of quick instructions for practicing your draw.
- Work on your swing takeaway - become comfortable with that inside path.
- Once you are comfortable with that inside takeaway, find comfort with the inside approach in the downswing. See the sketches above and below - the swing should start inside and work away from your body to the outside.
- When you have comfort with the full inside-out swing, experiment with the position of the clubface (more or less closed), which will determine the amount/type spin on the ball.
- You may end up making adjustments to your grip, choosing to have a more open or closed handle on the club. As always, a golf professional at your favorite course would be a good person to consult further when it comes to grip adjustments.
Try to apply the geometry you learned as a kid growing up. What your teacher didn't tell you in those afternoon math classes is that geometry can be applied to things that you love - like golf.
Applying spin to your golf ball is almost exactly the same as you would in ping pong, tennis, soccer, football, bowling and more. The player who controls the spin, controls the game. Click here to see how an NFL kicker uses an inside-out swing of his leg when kicking field goals.
Most of you who believe that golf is hard are probably attempting to hit the ball straight from Point A to Point B. However, based on our body’s position as we prepare to strike the ball, coupled with the lie angle of the club (tilted from vertical), hitting a perfectly straight shot is very difficult! So adding the draw to your game will be a huge step to shaving scores and being able to play more shots on the golf course.
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