Something that really sets us pros apart from average golfers is that we know exactly what our strengths and weaknesses are, so we can practice with purpose.
At the end of each year, I review my stats. And when I looked at 2019, I saw that I was weakest in wedge shots, especially when it was less than a full swing. The problem was, I used to have only one shot with wedges: a high fade with a lot of spin. Playing a high fade all the time made it tougher to control distance, like when it was windy or the pin was back. If you look at the best players in the world, like Tiger, they can hit their wedges low and high, fade or draw them, so they can reach any pin. Slowly I’m learning to hit different shots with my wedges, mostly by changing how I set up for them. For example, ball position can change trajectory. You can hit it higher if you play the ball forward of center in your stance, but you never want to play the ball farther forward than that because you might catch it fat or thin. The adjustments need to be subtle, like setting up with your body slightly closed to the target to make it easier to draw the ball. These adjustments are a work in progress.
I’m working on other things, too. My game is all about driving. When I’m consistent off the tee, I’ve got shorter shots into the green, and that helps your accuracy as much as anything.
With my driving, all I’m trying to do is repeat the swing I’ve always had. I get asked a lot about bowing my left wrist when I take the club back. What it does is allow me to swing my body as hard as I want and not worry about the ball going left, because the bowing shuts the clubface. Knowing I can turn as hard as I want frees me up mentally. I don’t play well when I restrict my swing. I’m an aggressive player.
As for the look of my driver swing, my wife, Kelley Cahill, said it reminds her of Andy Roddick’s tennis serve—super quick and short. But that’s what I want to see when I practice. If I tried a longer swing like Dustin, it’d be a disaster. —With Keely Levins
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