Hold it off

June 13, 2007

Photo: Dom Furore

Practice your finish

One of the things I like best about my swing now is that I have the ability to hit different-shape shots without drastically changing anything. I couldn't do that before. As a matter of fact, if you watch closely, you can now tell what kind of shot I'm playing by how I finish.

I've learned to simulate my finish through a couple of practice swings to get a feel for the shot. If I want to draw it, I rehearse releasing the clubhead through impact, my right forearm rotating over my left. If I want to cut it, I practice holding the release a split second through impact. That keeps the clubface open just enough to impart left-to-right spin on the ball for a gentle fade. A held-off finish (like the one in this photo) is a good sign that I've executed the fade as planned.

When you want to shape a shot, visualize it, then practice the swing, especially the finish. You'll become more of a shotmaker. It works for trajectory as well.

Mark Soltau is a contributing editor to Golf Digest and the editor of