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Sunday, March 10, 2019

Nick Clearwater on How to Draw EVERY Shot (Video)

Even Nick says this isn't the ideal way to draw the ball. But today we're talking CONCEPT, so let's take a look at this GOLFTEC video.

Nick is using four main keys here:
  1. Strengthen your lead hand grip
  2. At waist high on your backswing, point the clubface straight down at the ground
  3. At the top of the backswing, point the clubface straight up at the sky
  4. At halfway into the finish, point the toe of the club straight up at the sky
Of course, the idea here is that the clubface is NEVER open, not once, at any point during your swing. What that creates is a pull-draw, maybe even a pull-hook. And while Nick doesn't say so, it's probably not going to be the longest shot you can hit, not just because it could end up out-of-bounds but because you're fighting the natural movement of your hands and arms. That means you're losing the benefit of hand motion that creates extra clubhead speed.

The CONCEPT here, as I said before, is that the clubface is NEVER open. However, this is not the only way to keep the clubface from opening.

Carl Rabito showed me a simple drill decades ago that taught me how to square the clubface -- even close it for a draw -- when I wanted to. After perhaps 15 or 20 minutes practicing it -- on the day he first showed it to me, not weeks later -- I could start a swing, he would call out 'draw,' 'fade' or 'straight' when I reached the top of my backswing, and I could create that ball flight.

Here's the drill:
  • Tee up the ball. We used a 5-iron, although I don't know that you have to. He may have chosen it because the 5-iron was the hardest club in the bag for me to hit. But a 5-iron is a good club for this drill because it's an average-length club.
  • Carl also had me use a neutral grip, with my trailing palm parallel to the clubface. That way, it was easier to think of hitting the ball with the palm of my trailing hand.
  • At waist high on my backswing, I would cock my wrists 90° and make sure the shaft was pointed straight up at the sky.
A bit of explanation here: Please understand that, when you make a full-speed swing, you will automatically put the club on a tilted plane. Contrary to popular belief, twisting your forearms doesn't create this swing plane, it just opens the clubface. We'll come back to this later in this post.

As I was saying, the reason you slice the ball is because you twist the clubface open while believing that you are holding the clubface square. When you force yourself to point the shaft straight up, you will actually be holding the clubface square, just as it was when you addressed the ball. So be aware that it will feel a bit weird at first, and that's alright.

I bet you'll have some trouble doing this consistently at first. It drove me nuts, and that's why Carl had me practice it for so long during our lesson. But given the quick results it gave me, it was the best 15 minutes of drill work I've ever done.
  • At impact, Carl had me hit a soft bag. I tried to stop the club at impact and feel that the clubface was square again. That got me used to the feeling of a square clubface.
  • After that, it was just a matter of feeling that I "over-squared" (closed) the clubface when I wanted to hit a draw.
After decades of practice, I believe you can get the same sort of result by making sure you keep your lead elbow close to your side all the way through impact, which forces your arms and forearms to rotate and square the club. Most players don't realize that your shoulder moves forward (that is, it closes) during your backswing and, in order to get it back in the position it was at address, your shoulder joint has to rotate back open. It's this shoulder movement that creates your swing plane, not twisting your forearms. Otherwise, you've changed the square position of the clubface at address to an open position at impact.

If you want to see what I mean, just stand with your lead arm straight down by your side, then bend your lead elbow so your upper arm and forearm form an L shape. Then put your other hand on the front of your lead shoulder and, without letting your upper arm move away from your chest, swing your forearm across your chest and then swing it back. You'll be able to feel your shoulder move forward when your forearm is across your chest, and move back in position when you swing your forearm back to the start position.

I shouldn't have to say this, but I will because we often miss the obvious: If you "close" your lead shoulder joint on the way back, you have to "open" it again on the way to impact or you won't recreate the square position you had at address. That's clear, isn't it? Good.

Then, halfway through the finish, try to point the toe of the club at the sky or a bit behind you.

With a little practice, you'll feel as if you're hitting the ball with the palm of your trailing hand. When that happens, you'll stop thinking so much about mechanics and more about your target.

And when you start thinking about your target as you swing, that's when you'll start getting better at shaping shots.

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