Justin Thomas is one of the best shot-makers of this generation. From draws and fades to high bombs and low stingers, the two-time major winner can make the ball do just about anything he wants it to. It’s that skill that’s led Thomas to 15 PGA Tour wins and a claim as one of the game’s best ball-strikers.
Easy as he makes it look these days, Thomas was not always a complete ball-striker. During his first half decade in the big leagues, he had some shots in the bag, but he didn’t have all of them. His good friend Tiger Woods noticed, and when Thomas asked him what he saw in his game, he was quick with an answer.
“He said, ‘You don’t move the ball enough,’” Thomas said last year. “For me it was like, ‘he’s pretty good, he said that, I should probably try it.’”
Thomas took the advice to heart, and it reshaped the way he practiced. When he was on the range, his focus became shaping the ball in different directions and creating every shot shape he’d ever need.
That reimagined practice philosophy did wonders for Thomas’ game. Since that conversation with Woods, Thomas has eight victories, including ball-striking clinics at the Players Championship and PGA Championship that allowed him to separate himself from the pack.
One of the ways Thomas has honed in his shot-making ability is by using a drill that he calls one of his favorites. Best of all, the drill is simple and needs nothing more than a few balls and a club of your choice.
“My tendency is to get from the inside on the way down,” Thomas says. “And I like to cut the ball, so swinging from the inside is not good.”
To keep himself from swinging too far inside out, Thomas takes two balls and creates a gate to swing through. He sets the ball up he’s going to hit like normal and then places one slightly inside his swing path behind the ball. He then takes the second ball and places it slightly outside his swing path in front of the ball. You can see the setup in the picture below.
“If I have something there, I just have to miss it,” Thomas says. “And however I miss it, I don’t care. If I miss that, it means I’m swinging far enough left … I do it like this with two balls to emphasize [my swing path.]”
If he has the opposite problem and he wants to swing more in to out, Thomas just flips the positions of the two balls and swings through the gate once again.
This drill might be a simple one for working on your swing path, but it’s used by one of the best ball-strikers in the world. If you struggle with the path of your clubhead through the hitting zone, this can be a great option to get things moving in the right direction.