Saturday, May 1, 2004
Drop Down, Choke Down
Once you have your pairs down, all you need to do is resist the temptation to hit the ball too aggressively. The harder you hit a shot, the more backspin you’ll put on the ball, which will drive it up into the air—just the opposite of what you want in the wind. Stay committed to your plan: choke down to shorten the distance and drop down two lofts to lower the flight. The swing itself is soft and simple. You don’t want to “punch” the ball (it’s more of a love tap), so focus on delivering a soft hit by making a syrupy swing back and through the ball.
Practice your pairs on the driving range to imprint how well a smooth swing works in producing the same trajectory and distance every time. At first it will feel strange to grip down so far on the club handle because you’ll stand a little closer to the ball than normal, but it won’t take long for you to settle in comfortably every time. I encourage you to dedicate entire practice sessions and actual rounds to the Drop Down/Choke Down technique and, remember, you don’t have to wait for the wind to blow to take advantage of a lower trajectory.
Â• Playing in the wind or having to keep it low out of trouble is tough enough without having to invent a swing.
Â• Having to change ball position and changing your swing to “punch” the ball leads even the best players astray.
Â• To get the distance of a 9-iron with the height of a 7, grip down on the handle of the 7 until your right index finger (for right-handers) touches the shaft itself and make your regular swing.
Â• Use pairs for distance control: choking down as described above lessens distance by two full clubs.
Â• Practice your pairs on the range before you try it on the course.
Â• This technique isn’t just for amateurs—Jim Furyk, Briny Baird and Sergio Garcia use the Drop Down/Choke Down technique.
PGA pro Dr. T.J. Tomasi is regarded as one of the top 100 teachers in America.
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