Most golfers go to the practice tee and just swing away with very little mental visualization about where the ball is actually going. It doesn’t seem to matter if there are fifty more balls laying there with plenty of chances to correct the previous shot. This, however, is not the true nature of playing a round of golf on the course. There, we get only one chance for each new situation, which in actuality is every shot we hit on the course. Each shot we hit from tee to green (and even on the green itself) is from a different spot unless the previous one is out of bounds.
This is why it’s so important to practicing with the visualization of a corridor. A corridor will consist of a starting point and an end point, whether the shot be right to left or left to right. The hardest shot in golf to hit is a dead straight shot, because your hands have to feel a state of total neutrality at impact. It’s easy to feel if the toe of the club is gaining on the heel to hit a draw – or easy to feel if the toe is lagging behind the heel to hit a fade.
Most truly great players can work the ball either direction. When you practice, pick a point to the right of your intended target (ten yards or so), and practice drawing the ball to that target. If the ball crosses the target, view the shot as out of bounds. If it turns right instead of left, it must also be seen as out of bounds. For the shot to be seen as acceptable, it must end up between your intended start line and the flag – but must not cross it. The same parameters are true for the fade as well. The ball must not turn left, and must not cross the flag moving right. A ball that crosses the flag going either direction is said to be “short sided.” When you short side yourself, it is often very difficult to get the ball into the cup with fewer than two more shots.
Once you learn to work the ball both ways through the visualization of a corridor on the range, it is far easier to control your shots on the course. It’s also true that once your hands are sensitive enough to hit a draw or fade, they will then be sensitive enough to hit a straight shot with a high level of reliability. Practice working the ball every time you hit a ball on the range and you’ll soon be on the road to becoming a truly fine player.