2 practice tips from one of the PGA Tour’s best ball-strikers

will zalatoris swings

Hit lots of shots in slow motion, Zalatoris says

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Will Zalatoris technically isn’t even a PGA Tour member yet, but his play at golf’s highest level over the past year has made it seem like he’s been there for year. He vaulted at one point into the top 30 of the Official World Golf Ranking, finished solo second at the 2021 Masters, and collected more than $3.4 million in prize money.

The engine of Zalatoris’ rise has been his ball-striking: 23rd in Driving Distance, 8th in SG: Approach, and 12th in SG: Tee-to-Green. He’s also, alongside Max Homa, recently partnered with Gillette deodorant to help golfers improve their own games: As part of Gillette’s new “72 Club,” any golfer who signs up using TheGrint and shoots a net-score of 72 will receive special prizes from Gillette Deodorant.

“We’re taking your everyday golfers, people who work on their games throughout the summer, and giving them a goal to shoot a net-score of 72,” he says. “It’s pretty cool, trying to help everybody else improve their games.”

And he’s got two snippets of advice from his own game to help you do just that.

1. Swing in slow motion (literally)

When we go to the range, we can’t hit balls fast enough. It’s like pulling the handle on a slot machine. You don’t know what you’re going to get, but you wont waste anytime doing it. From an early age, Zalatoris did the opposite. He’ll make abbreviated and full swings in slow motion.

“Whenever I’m working on something I rarely ever do it full speed. A lot of slow motion work,” he says. “It’s something my dad really drilled into me growing up. It helps me with my body awareness and matching stuff up.”

2. Practice alternating draws and fades

A wonderfully simple solution that Zalatoris goes to often. And when that’s not working, he’s got a another go-to drill that helps him straighten out the shots when they get wayward.

“If I’m ever having issues with my start lines, I’ll start alternating cuts and draws on the range,” he says. “I’ll take a six iron and cut, draw, cut, draw…That neutralizes my club path, and also gets my timing back.”

And if you’re worried that you may not be good enough to try hitting draws and fades, it’s time to disregard yourself of that notion. It may seem like a scary proposition at first, but simply trying to hit the ball both ways will improve your swing and give you more control over your ball flight.

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Luke Kerr-Dineen

Golf.com Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com. In his role he oversees all the brand’s service journalism spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University and in 2017 was named News Media Alliance’s “Rising Star.” His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.

James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is an assistant editor at GOLF, contributing stories for the website and magazine on a broad range of topics. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and utilizes his broadcast experience across the brand’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James — and evidently, his golf game — is still defrosting from four years in the snow, during which time he cut his teeth at NFL Films, CBS News and Fox Sports. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from.