I’ve always felt more comfortable playing a cut off the tee, and I don’t swing out of my shoes nearly as often as I did in my 20s and 30s. Still, there are certain times when I need to hit a high, hard draw to maximise distance like you see me doing here. Maybe I have to fly it 290 to carry a bunker, or maybe I need to squeeze every bit out of my drive to get home in two on a par 5.

When I decide I’m going to send one deep, the first thing I do is tee the ball a little higher. It’s an old-school trick and something I’ve used for pretty much my whole career. 

A higher tee height promotes hitting up on the ball, which keeps it in the air longer with less backspin. If it has too much spin, the shot will balloon and go nowhere. The high tee also makes it easier to create an in-to-out swing path, which allows you to put draw spin on the ball. That’s key.

I also make a second setup adjustment by dropping my right foot away from the ball and standing a little wider. It’s something I started doing after my back injuries. The foot position does two things: (1) It gives me a wider base so I can shallow my downswing and catch the ball cleanly on the upswing. (2) It helps me make a deeper turn so I can generate more clubhead speed.

My main thought for this shot is to create as much width as possible. It starts with the backswing – you want to feel like you’re creating a massive semi-circle on the way back. I don’t move as much laterally away from the target in the backswing as I used to, but I still want to feel like I’m loading more on the right side than I would for a straight shot or a cut. In fact, the shaft in the backswing might get a little past parallel to the ground.

I continue the width thoughts on the through-swing. With my fairway-finding cut, I feel like I’m slapping the ball with my hands. For the high draw, I feel like I’m throwing an upper-cut punch. I push down hard into the ground with my lower body and let my hands go out and up, completing the big semi-circle this shot requires. 

As always, I tailor the height of my finish to the height of the shot. So for this high draw, I’ll finish high above my left shoulder. Back in the day, this is the swing that would result in a recoil, with the shaft rebounding off my body and finishing in front of me. These days, I save those big swings for special occasions.