Getting your lead arm in the correct position on the downswing is critical to bringing your shot-shaping skills to life. In fact, the path that your lead arm travels into impact determines how the ball will fly. Learning to command that path is your main objective. And just as you would for any great performance, you need to rehearse. No biggie. A single range session can get you on track. Here's what to do.
HIT A DRAW
To practice drawing the ball, lay one club on the ground pointing down your target line. Place another club inside that line and angle it about 30 degrees right of the target (as in the first position shown in the image above). Stand with your toes along the target line, then take the club back and start down. When you get about halfway through your downswing, your lead arm should be inside your toes and parallel to the angled club. (Check that the shaft is also running up your trailing forearm). This shallow, inside-out path can't help but produce a draw.
HIT A FADE
To practice fading the ball, do the opposite of the draw drill, angling the second club left of the target. Again, at mid-downswing, your left arm should match the angled club. If you do it right, the shaft will cut through your right shoulder. Thanks to this steeper, outside-in approach, the ball will curve right.
HIT IT STRAIGHT
This is arguably the most elusive shot in golf. For this drill, set the second club parallel to the one that points at the target. Halfway down, your left arm should mimic the angle of these clubs. Check that the shaft is bisecting your right arm, with the butt end pointing directly at the ball-target line. Nail these positions, and you'll crush one that never leaves the target.
By Mark Blackburn, Greystone C.C., Birmingham, Ala.