We could learn a lot from these words:
“I don’t chase distance at all. I actually try not to hit it out of my shoes. Usually that leads to injuries for me. I actually think a lot about tempo, trying to swing easy.”
They were spoken by Nelly Korda, who ranks No. 1 on the LPGA Tour and is in the top eight in driving distance at more than 273 yards.
Ask yourself this question:
Do you play better when you swing hard or swing easy?
I’ve got to believe most people would choose the latter.
We have been bombarded for years by instructionals that show us how to get an extra 20-40 yards out of our swing, as if that will cure all our ills.
Never mind that the extra distance might send your drive into the woods or into the lake or past the out-of-bounds stakes. Hey, you hit it farther! Whoopee!
I’m trying to get myself to think of just two words when those long-distance thoughts creep into my head:
Yes, it feels good to bomb one down the middle, past everyone else in the group. There’s nothing like having someone else in the group say, “Well, we finally got to YOUR drive.”
But how often does that happen? Once a round? Maybe?
I’m taking a different tack these days. After a lot of back and forth, I’ve gone back to the power fade for a simple reason: It eliminates the duck hook.
I know that sounds negative. It’s so simple: Just swing slower and you’ll get rid of the quacker.
But it’s not that easy. The power fade is an entirely different move and an altered state of mind from the hook or draw. I’m trying to imagine that there’s a wall on the left side of the fairway, and the ball absolutely cannot go through that wall. It has to go in the other direction.
It doesn’t always work. Sometimes I overcook it and hit it too far right. Playing a dogleg left is particularly difficult – do I trust the power fade or try to hit a hook?
And it doesn’t go as far for me. It probably costs me at least 10-15 yards.
But so far the results have been good. I have not hit a single duck hook since making the switch, and my drives are a lot more reliable. It feels like I have a much better idea where the ball is going.
Even if I come over the top a little and don’t get the fade, it’s not the no-hope hook that’s in all sorts of trouble. It’s a mini-hook or a straight ball that finds the edge of the junk or, if I’m lucky, stays in the rough.
It seems as if more and more pros have gone to the power fade, with impressive results. Maybe their thinking is similar. Obviously, we’re not anywhere close to their skill level, so we can’t begin to know how they think or why they do what they do.
I still play a hook with my irons because that’s my natural, upright swing. I haven’t figured out how to consistently hit a power fade with irons.
And maybe I need to work on that. Maybe trying to fade everything would be beneficial.
But there’s something to be said in our great game about consistency.
There’s something to be said about feeling as if you have a solid idea where the ball is going.
There’s something to be said for peace of mind. And it starts with swinging easy.