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You might think that the best players in the world can hit any shot whenever they like.
The high draw, the low fade, a big slinging hook. If required, the pros can pull these off without a second thought, right?
Well, not exactly. While there’s no doubt Jon Rahm could hit all the shots if he really needed to, his comments this week about his win at the BMW Championship back in 2020 show that’s not always the best way to do things.
In fact, for the vast majority of players, trying to hit different shot shapes is going to be a hinderance, not a help, to our game.
Rahm, who is looking to extend his lead at the top of the FedEx Cup standings this week, recalled his electric weekend at Olympia Fields three years back and how a change of strategy after a poor opening 36 holes was key to winning.
He said that the big difference over the weekend, where he shot a 66 and a 64, before beating Dustin Johnson in a playoff, was that he decided he would only hit fades.
No matter what the hole looked like, Rahm was going to play it with a left-to-right ball flight. No more draws.
“The one thing I can tell you, which is funny, I don’t think I attempted to hit one draw on the weekend whatsoever,” the Masters champion explained.
“It was just not happening that week, and I was like, well, we’re going to be hitting fades.
“I just had supreme confidence that my stock shot, my fade, was going to be a pretty good result. Anytime I tried to hit a draw, it just wasn’t happening. I decided not to.
“If it’s not working, why use it?
“There’s many ways to play this game, and it’s funny that the two guys that went in the playoff are two guys that predominantly you wouldn’t see them hit a right-to-left shot.”
As Rahm alludes to, the man he beat in a playoff, Dustin Johnson, is another who likes to move the ball only left-to-right, even on holes like the 13th at Augusta National, where it looks like a draw is the only option.
You might be thinking that Olympia Fields is a layout where hitting a fade is going to suit the shape of every hole. But, as Keegan Bradley, who also spoke to the press yesterday explains, that’s not really true.
“I think most of the holes are draw holes,” Bradley said of this week’s venue.
“There’s a lot of holes where there’s like a tree right off the tee, and it’s a dog-leg right.”
What lessons can we take from this?
Playing good golf isn’t about having a variety of shots, it’s about being able to hit one shot well most of the time.
In this case, Rahm is great at hitting a fade. Rather than change that depending on the shape of the hole, he’ll almost always make it work.
If the best option for you is a 30-yard draw, as long as you know where it’s going, then don’t feel the need to fight it.
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