Power Shots

Shape Your Long Ball

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Golf instruction can sometimes get too complicated. When it comes to shaping your shots, all you really have to do is follow a few key setup fundamentals that you see me demonstrating here.

To hit a high draw, first strengthen your grip. That is, your hands should rotate to your right a little bit to promote a release where the club will turn over through impact. Also, close your stance a bit. Aiming your body down the right side of the hole promotes a swing that will come a little more from the inside. Combining this with a good release of the club should start the ball along your body line and then draw back to the middle of the fairway.

To hit a power fade, rotate your hands to the left a little, weakening your grip. (Just because it’s a “weak” grip doesn’t mean you’ll hit a weak shot. It just means, by turning your hands a little to the left, your hands and wrists will release the club in a manner that will keep the clubface slightly open at impact.) Aim your body down the left side of the hole (an open stance). This promotes a swing path that travels more “left” at impact. This gets the ball started down the left side. Your release position should help the ball curve back to the center of the fairway, a perfect power fade!

To escape gnarly rough, you have to approach the ball from a steep angle. Consider the photos you see here. In the first photo, my angle of approach is shallow, and the club is coming from the inside. Typically, this is a pretty good thing, but in thick rough, a club coming from the inside is liable to catch a great deal of grass before impact. If this occurs, the grass will tend to turn the club over so there’s very little effective loft at impact. Plus the thick grass will slow down the clubhead speed. No speed and no loft is a bad idea when trying to escape from the hay.

Instead, you want to swing your club on a steeper angle of approach, so the club can avoid most of the tall grass. Make sure to take a club with plenty of loft, place a little more weight on your left side at address and make a conscious effort to swing the club from “high to low.” By doing this, I not only limit the amount of interference between the clubhead and my ball, but my steeper angle of attack makes it easier for me to hit down and launch the ball out.


Need help finding the proper grip? The Thumb Caddy ($19.95 for three) slips on your club’s shaft and then slides up to the handle so you can find the perfect left-hand position every time. Just the thing that’ll help you keep the club face square and generate power. Visit thumbcaddy.net for more information.

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