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Fail-Safe Swing

When things get messy, try my go-to shot

September 2014

There have been times when I'm in the middle of a round, and my swing just doesn't feel right. I'm sure you can relate. Things get out of sync, and I find myself hitting weak iron shots off line. When that happens, I go to this thing I call my "flighted shot." It flies a little lower and shorter than my normal irons, but it helps me start hitting the ball solid and straight again. How? It shores up my swing mechanics and makes it easier to sync my body pivot with the movement of my arms and club. The next time you're struggling, give my flighted shot a try, and see if it can rescue your round before it's too late.

Jason Day

1. GRIP DOWN, AND GET LEFT

To swing in control and hit the ball solidly, grip down from the top of the handle about a half inch (above), play the ball no farther forward than the middle of your stance, and move your weight slightly more to your left side. The ball position and weight shift make it easier to hit down on the ball, and the shortened grip gives you a confident feeling, like you're hitting a wedge or 9-iron. Just remember that the ball will fly lower and about a club shorter than normal.

Jason Day

2. LET YOUR PIVOT LEAD

The adjustments to your setup should make you feel as if your chest is more on top of the ballthat's a good thing. All you have to do now is pivot your upper body away from the target on the backswing. And make sure you don't keep swinging your arms back after your body has stopped pivoting. From the top, unwind with your left hip to start down (above), and then pivot your body back toward the target. I think my hip action is actually better when I hit the flighted shot than when I make my normal swing.

Jason Day

'Resist the urge to swing your arms and club really fast through impact.'

3. HOLD OFF THE FINISH

The goal here is solid contact, so resist the urge to swing your arms and club really fast through impact. Feel like you're swinging at 80 percent of your normal speed, and let your pivot propel the club through the hitting area. The swing should end when your hips and chest have completely rotated—it will feel as if you've held off the release of the club (above). It's a terrific way to get your rhythm and synchronicity back and start hitting greens again.

Jason Day, 26, has two wins on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in February.

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