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April 23, 2016

What To Do When You Absolutely Can't Miss Left

Pronate To Fade (February, 1956)

Pronate To Fade (February, 1956)

After years of struggling with hooking the ball, Hogan discovered a way to cut that dreaded shot out of his game completely by hitting, well, a cut. He did this by pronating his left wrist (turning the palm down) as he took the club back and then cupping it (both part of his famous "secret" he revealed in a Life Magazine article in 1955) at the top. The move got the clubface so open, that no matter how hard he swung coming down, he avoided shutting it too much. The result was a consistent, high, left-to-right ball flight that he relied on to win nine major championships.

Photo by: AP Photo

AP Photo

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Standing on the tee of that long, dogleg left par 5 makes a lot of players want to hit a hard draw for optimum positioning.

But what happens if there's out-of-bounds left?

Hooks can happen when you try to hit it harder -- and when you're facing a pressure situation and the hands get more active than they should.

The trick to hitting a failsafe non-left shot is keeping the path of the club slightly left of the clubface at impact, says top Georgia teacher Mike Granato. "It doesn't take a massive adjustment, like some big change in your stance or fanning the clubface way open to hit a cut," Granato says.

In fact, you do what might be counterintuitive -- aim the face left of the target, while swinging along a path just slightly left of where you aim the face. "Because the face will be open relative to the path -- not the target, the path -- the ball will drift slightly to the right," says Granato. "You'll hit a hard, relatively straight ball with maybe just a hint of fade. It lets you still make an aggressive swing, but without worrying about the big miss to the left."