Friday, October 2, 2009

What You Can Learn from a One-Shot Pro

I think it was Johnny Miller who called Kenny Perry a “one-shot pro” on Sunday. From Johnny’s perspective, that’s probably a bad thing.

But that one shot―the draw he hits with every club―was good enough to land him 9th place in the FedEx Cup (worth $500,000), even after that terrible last round at the Tour Championship, a 74 that dropped him to T4 (worth $330,000) in the tournament.

Wouldn’t you love to have a “one shot” game like that, that allowed you to pocket $830,000 and still call that a bad day?

Many weekend players go nuts trying to learn how to “work” the ball, or just change their natural shot to its opposite shape. (Which usually means they hit a fade/slice and want to hit a draw.) If you want to use your precious practice time to work on a change, learn how to alter the trajectory of your ball. Regardless of whether you draw or fade, the fact is that low balls travel farther and high balls stop more quickly. If you’ve heard that draws fly farther and fades stop sooner, you should know it’s because most people hit low draws and high fades.

As a general rule, very high draws are harder to hit, as are extremely low fades… but a “power fade” off a tee isn’t too difficult to learn, nor is a draw that’s higher than normal. So, if you’re a natural fader of the ball (like most weekend players), you may actually be in luck; a fader can learn to get distance with less practice than a drawer needs in order to learn to stop the ball. But if you’re a natural drawer… well, you saw Kenny stop his shots pretty well, despite hard greens, so it’s not that hard.

My point is that if Kenny Perry can compete with the best when he has “only one shot,” then maybe you should consider just learning how to control the shot you hit naturally. It’s a rare situation where you can’t figure how to play a hole well with only one shot shape.

Maybe this advice isn’t worth $830,000… but it might help you pocket an extra Nassau or two. Isn’t that worth something to you? (And bragging rights, as the Mastercard® commercials might say, are priceless!)

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