Jeff: Hi, this is Jeff Mitchell with The Golf Standard.
Today we're talking about directional control and we're actually going to include two topics at once.
One, is trying to develop a consistent pattern of direction and that's going to be by really working on our distance control.
The second is taking a pattern of shot, of good directional pattern of shot, and being able to use that on the golf course to really help us with our course management skills.
I think that one of the really interesting things about golfers is, that when they go out to practice, their goal is to always learn how to hit the golf ball straight.
Fact is, that's probably the hardest thing to do there is in the game.
A better way to do it is to kind of find a pattern that suits you, and then work with that on the golf course.
What I do is, I'll go out, I identify what I call a full swing, and then I'll take, say a 9-iron, and I'll setup and I'll hit five shot, and I'll try to hit all five of them exactly the same distance.
By doing that, I'm going to be working really on the rhythm of the swing, the timing of the swing, good ball contact, and what I'm going to find is, I get a really consistent pattern of shot.
Now, that might be straight, but it also might be a slice, it might be a hook.
As long as it's manageable, then I'm going to be okay with that.
If I'm really trying to work on the direction of the shots I'm trying to hit, I'm going to start by working on the distance, trying to create a really consistence distance that I'm trying to hit the shots.
With a 9-iron I hit the golf ball 140 yards.
I'm going to try and take exactly the same effort level with even a driver, and try to keep that really good rhythm, really good balance, good ball contact, and chances are I'm going to have the same pattern of shot with basically every club in my bag.
The process is finding a full swing.
I always go through, hit some shots, work my way up to swinging as hard as I can swing under control, which means I have good balance, good ball contact.
As soon as I identify that full swing, what I'm going to try to do is I'm going to try to take a series of swings at that full level and try to hit all of them exactly the same distance.
If I do that, I'm going to find that my direction is really good.
Now, as you can see here I've taken a couple alignment rods and what I've done is I have lined these up to where the left one is lined up at a fairway at about 275 yards, it's about 20, 25 yards left of the middle of the fairway and this alignment rod is going to be 20, 25 yards right of the center of the fairway.
What that gives me an opportunity to do is, if I have identified a pattern of shot with my irons, all the way up to even a 3-wood or a driver, then what I can do is, when I set up to this ball if I know I'm going to hit a draw, or if I know I'm going to hit a fade, in essence, what I'm doing is I'm taking one side of the golf course completely out of play.
I can take a 3-wood, I can line it up right down the very right edge of the fairway, maybe even five yards into the rough, and as long as I know when I take that swing I'm going to hit a draw, then what it does is it gives me an opportunity to one, I could hit it straight and the ball would still end up either in the edge of the fairway or very close, or I could actually hook the golf ball 35, 40 yards and still be in play.
The same thing would be true if I knew I was going to hit a fade, I could line the ball up down the left edge of the fairway and that gives me an opportunity to hit it either straight, hit that little fade that is my normal pattern, or even slice the ball relatively severely, and still keep the golf ball in play.
The essence of this really puts me in a situation where I'm taking either the right side of the golf course, or the left side of the golf course out of play, and I'm playing the golf course from outside in.
In that situation the one other really positive to that is, that every time I hit a shot going from outside in, the golf ball is going toward my target.
A lot of times if you aim straight at a target, no matter what you do, if the ball starts to deviate it's going away from your target.
It can just be a psychological difference, but any time the golf ball is going away from your target, you kind of feel like you're losing control.
Try identifying the pattern of shot that you have by working on distance to really improve your direction and play the golf course from outside in.
I think you'll find that you get a lot better results, you keep the ball in play a lot more often.