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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Shaping Shots with Grip Tension and Swing Speed

This is a clip from Martin Hall's 2014 year-end show for School of Golf. (You can tell because if you look closely at the big TV screen in the background, you can see the logo for the year-end "Martini Awards" he gave out.) It focuses on a tip from Johnny Miller on how to create different shot shapes WITHOUT changing your stance or swing plane.

Since some of us have trouble figuring out how to get a draw or fade when we need it, this is yet one more method that may work for you when other methods have not.

Again, bear in mind that you don't have to change your stance or swing plane to use this method. That means you don't have to open or close your stance, you don't have to strengthen or weaken your grip, and you don't have to create an in-to-out or out-to-in swing plane.

You always set up for a straight shot; you just aim to one side of the fairway or the other, depending on what shot shape you want to create. For example, righties would aim to hit a straight shot into the right side of the fairway to create a draw (the shot will curve back to the left, toward the center of the fairway) while lefties would aim to hit a straight shot to the left side of the fairway to get a draw.

Once you get set up, you make two changes:
  • For a DRAW, you want to RELAX your grip and make your downswing SLOWER than your backswing.
  • For a FADE, you want to TIGHTEN your grip and make your downswing FASTER than your backswing.
Here's the logic of this, in case you don't understand immediately.

By relaxing your grip and feeling like your downswing is slower than your backswing, you create a "flippy" motion that will help the club head pass your hands as you hit the ball. That will make the face close and give you a draw.

But by tightening your grip and feeling like your downswing is faster than your backswing, you create a "dragging" motion that keeps the club head from passing your hands. That makes you leave the face open and therefore hit a fade.

It's certainly not the only way to get these shot shapes, and it may not work for some of you because there's definitely some timing involved. But it has the advantage of being simple to try, plus it doesn't require any tricky address changes. If you have trouble creating shot shapes when you need them, a little time practicing this on the range may be just the ticket for shaving a few strokes off your score.

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