In the past six to nine months, something terrible happened to me.
I’m not talking about a disease or marital problems or an issue at work. No, it was something far, far worse than that.
I lost a lot of distance off the tee.
Thanks to my world-class short game, I was able to mask those issues and continue to shoot in the 80s consistently. But when you’re barely poking it about 200 metres, it’s very difficult to shoot in the low 80s, and almost impossible to break 80 on a regular basis like I want to.
My driving woes saw me begin the year as a 6.9 handicap and balloon almost all the way to a 12.
Fortunately I was able to claw back to 9, and that was before I had the pleasure of meeting up with three-time major champion Padraig Harrington at the PNC Championship in December.
At 52 years young, Harrington is hitting it as far as he ever as, a byproduct of both the modern golf ball as well as the fact he’s increased his swing speed considerably thanks to hard work and dedication. As a 31-year-old, I have no excuse to not be hitting it far, too. I just needed a little help from Paddy to get on the right path.
During a 20-minute lesson on the back of the range at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Florida, Harrington gave me a number of key drills and swing thoughts to focus on that have already helped me gain some extra speed with my driver – six miles per hour during this lesson, to be exact. First order of business was to go from a weak slice to a power draw, something Harrington helped me pull off in less than two minutes with a drill that requires only a tee and a basic swing thought: “Open the door, close the door.”
And here’s how it works.
Paddy’s draw tip
Paddy had me “open the door” and then “close the door”, essentially getting me to close the clubface since I had it wide open at impact. We accomplished this with a drill where Paddy had me swing at a tee in the ground to promote coming inside to out. Here’s how to setup the drill if you want to try it yourself:
- Set up to the golf ball like you normally would
- Place a tee in the ground just a little in front and off the inside of your trail foot
- Practise swinging to that spot and making contact with the ground/tee
- Try it for real and think “open the door” (backswing), “close the door” (downswing/release)
Padraig making me believe the tee off the inside of my foot was actually the ball helped me achieve that “close the door” feeling I’ve been missing for months. It felt like I was closing the clubface too early; in reality, I needed to feel that to help me square up the face in time for impact.
As you’ll see below, it took all of two swings for me to go from a (very) weak slice to a tight little draw. Golf nirvana, in other words.
You can watch the full video below: