Learn a Safety Shot
….What is a Safety Shot?
A Safety Shot is a “Go To” shot that may be 10 yards shorter than your normal shot and it may not be as pretty, but you know it is going to be in play. First, what happens when you get nervous? For many people, the hands get tight which makes the arms slower which then causes the club head to lag behind which causes the face to be a bit open at impact. If you body stops and you slap, this open face closes thru impact creating hook spin. So, you end up with a right to right shot or a low left shot. Sound familiar?
You have two choices: Play for the shot to go right or hope you can time the stop and slap perfectly each time. We know that timing can get a little off under pressure so that option is probably not the best choice. So, let’s learn about how to play the shot to the right, on purpose!
I call this shot a broken bat single up the third base line. The key to success is getting the grip (butt end of the club) coming closer to your body on the way down instead of working farther from your body. This will cause the ball to start left. With firmer hands on the grip, the face will cause the ball to slice/slide right. Effectively you will hit a pull-slice. Aim just to the fairway side of the left rough and watch it work back to the middle of the fairway. Note that most golfers hit a push-slice where the butt end of the club works away from them with an open face and the ball travels right to right. Sound familiar?
How do you practice the “On Purpose” Safety/Pull-Slice?
Go to the driving range and Set up your practice on the far left of the practice tee (for a right-handed golfer). It is really great if you have a rough cut or tree line up the left side. Grip down about an inch on your driver and step about an inch closer to the ball at address. As you swing down, feel like your arms are getting closer to your body (not farther away). I imagine my hands going across my toes thru impact. (You can also put an alignment stick on your toe line and feel as if your hands are going to be on the stick thru impact and travel to the left of the line instead of right of the line after impact.) This helps me get my arms into my body. It is all too easy to allow centripetal force to take your arms away from you body.
After you get comfortable on the range, it is time to take it to the course. Go play 9 holes and use your “Safety Shot” on every other tee shot. When I started applying my broken bat single from my practice to play, my scoring average improved. Anytime I have doubt and get nervous on the course, I use my safety shot.
In golf, you have about six critical moments during a round. When your thoughts wander to the future and past, you will have a critical moment as FEAR will creep into your mind. Getting past these critical moments is the key to a successful round. They will not ruin your round if you are prepared. So, get prepared with a Safety Shot!