About ten years ago, I told my teaching pro that I needed to get out of the rut I was in and play golf at a higher level.
What we worked on was my swing. It wasn’t reliable. I could not predictably control the ball. I just hit and hoped. Most of the time it worked out well, but too many times it didn’t.
He gave me five lessons, and gave me the homework of hitting about 100 balls three times a week. This was a three-month process, and when I was finished, golf had become a different game.
He also showed me the nine shot drill.
You might have heard of it. The picture below shows you nine shots. The one in the middle is your standard hit-it-straight shot. The one in the upper right is your standard fade, and the one on the lower left is your standard draw. You might be able to hit those three on command already.
But there are six others that are not so obvious. Few golfers know how to hit them, let alone knowing that they can hit them.
I knew how to hit the first three shots, but the pro left me to figure them out the others on my own, which I did, and learned a lot about what worked, and what didn’t work, in the process.
I won’t go into how to hit them here. That’s a chapter in a book, and not a blog post. Besides, that would just spoil your fun.
The purpose of this drill was not to turn me into a “shotmaker.” Rather, my pro wanted me to learn how to control my swing. If you can hit all those nine shots, you can certainly hit the one in the middle reliably, and really, that shot, medium straight, is all you need to play good golf.
But here’s the real challenge if you want to try it after you have learned how to hit them all: hit those nine shots with nine balls. No do-overs. And you say in advance, “I’m going to hit this one,” and that’s the one you hit.
Here’s Johnny Miller talking about it.
If you can do this, you have complete command of your swing and you have accomplished the second-hardest drill in golf.
I’ll tell you what the hardest one is next week.