I play in a lot of pro-ams with amateurs, and one of the most common errors I see is when players don't make the right shot decision before they hit the ball. Often, these are the players more worried about making a perfect swing and not so much focused on where they want the ball to go. I can tell you this, when you're out on the golf course, it's no time to be thinking about your golf swing. Your focus should always be on the shot at hand and how you envision the ball flying through the air and landing on the ground.
For this particular shot, I've decided that I'm going to hit a fade, and I made that decision before addressing the ball, not after! As you can see, as I approach the ball, I align the clubface where I want the ball to finish, then my shoulders, hips and feet to the left in the direction where I want my fade to start. This setup will help me hit a high fade down the fairway that lands soft with little roll. It's just the shot I need to avoid the creek that bisects the fairway. Am I thinking about my swing at this point? No way! I'm simply setting up my body to let my fade swing happen naturally.
As I take the club back to the top, there's no hesitation whatsoever. I've both decided and committed to hit a fade, and I have to trust that my decision and my setup will help me do just that. Speaking of trust, for me, hitting a fade means I have to trust that I need to make a full rotation of the body on the backswing and also on the downswing. Any hesitation of the body or hands when hitting a fade on purpose often results in a pull or hooked shot.
In this instance, my instincts took over and I did what I was supposed to, which was make a full rotation of the body, allowing the hands and arms to swing slightly from outside in, helping me to hit a nice, high fade. Remember, decide what shot you want to hit based on how the hole unfolds, commit to it, and execute your shot with full trust in your decision. Don't hesitate!
Paige Mackenzie, LPGA, currently plays on the LPGA Tour. To learn more about her, visit paigemackenziegolf.com.