It was 55 degrees and sunny today; perfect time to resume working on my golf game. I went to the range and tried out the Nine-Shot drill which I had just learned about in The Big Miss. This is the drill used by Tiger Woods while under the tutelage of swing coach Hank Haney. Nine-Shot works you through a swing matrix for high, low, and medium trajectories with fades, draws, and straight shots. There are nine different combinations and the thought is to rotate through every club in the bag. Hitting all 13 clubs would take a significant amount of time and concentration so I modified the drill to accommodate a 50-ball range session.
Not having hit a ball since November 10, I found the drill difficult because I was rusty, but beneficial because my ability to concentrate was better than during a boring old range session. There was an unintended side-benefit as well. There are several ways you can approach this drill but I elected to order my shots by first hitting medium-straight and then going to high and finally low, and then worked the same order for the draws and fades. I did not try to mix the draws and fades and to keep this as simple as possible I only varied my alignment and ball position and did nothing with grip or swing speed. Using a PW, 8-iron, 6-iron, 4-iron, and driver, I rotated through 45 balls and hit a five ball warm up with my PW.
The unintended side benefit was that by changing ball position and alignment, I was able to correct a swing flaw. While trying to hit the draws with the 8-iron, I smother hooked a couple and when I switched to a fade, my shots flew straight. This information indicated, I was taking the club back too far to the inside. I made the adjustment and contact improved immediately.
I also decided that next time I’m switching out the Driver for a 3WD. Hitting low cuts and draws with the Driver is just too difficult, and it’s easier to curve a ball with the 3WD because of the increased loft.
This drill requires discipline when you hit a bad shot. The natural tendency is to rake another ball and try the same shot, but I steeled myself to just move to the next shot. I found this alleviated frustration as there was no urgent need to fix; just move on. The potential is excellent to use this for pre-game warm-up as well. Trying the nine different ball flights should allow you to settle on a comfortable one for your round.
The Nine-Shot passed the smoke test today. It’s going to be 65 tomorrow and 70 on Sunday; perfect to fully develop the concept. Good luck if you give it a try!