Three-time PGA Tour winner Patrick Reed can bomb it. But he’s also developed an alternative for when the driver is unreliable. Here, in his own words, is how you can do the same.
I hate to admit it, but I’m one of those guys who can drive the ball far [295.5 yards per drive in 2014], but who doesn’t always know where it’s going.
And while I’m hitting more fairways than ever before [57 percent], I honestly don’t love hitting driver on every hole, like Hunter Mahan or Justin Rose do. [Those guys are long and straight!] For a while, I wouldn’t even carry a 3-wood. Then the guys at Callaway worked up a special 1-iron for me. I rarely miss with that club, and I can hit it 290 yards without blinking. If I didn’t have that club, I wouldn’t have won the 2013 Wyndham Championship—my first victory—and if I hadn’t won that tournament, I might still be searching for the confidence I enjoy today.
The lesson: Work on your driver swing, but find a reliable backup. You don’t have to use a 1-iron; a hybrid or a 3-iron will do. Don’t try to mash the ball like you do with a driver. Practice swinging at 50 percent, and swing your driver alternative with the same tempo as, say, your 8-iron. This makes it easier to sync up your body rotation with your arms, a secret that good players use to catch the ball flush without losing their balance. After five or six slow-motion swings, gradually add speed. Soon you’ll be knocking your hybrid or long iron so far, you may forget you even own a driver!