Welcome to this weeks tips & tricks. This week we are going to look at ways to shape the ball intentionally. How many of you would like to hit that right to left draw straight towards the pin and more importantly how to repeat it? I thought so, lets get straight into it.
Firstly it is important to note that almost every golf shot we ever hit will have some sidespin. It’s very difficult to hit a perfectly straight golf shot and lots of the best players in the world prefer to hit the ball in one direction (either draw or fade). This is because their natural swing makes it more comfortable to hit one certain shape of shot.
Personally, I believe that you should be able to shape the ball in both directions if you’re going to play at a “good” standard of golf. The golf course can be a very testing place and you never know what it’s going to throw at you. You never know when there might be a tree in the way that you have to shape it around or a tight pin that you can only access with a certain shape of shot.
If a hole is shaped in a dogleg, I personally like shaping my ball flight with the hole because it shortens the angles. I am more confident to shape certain clubs in my bag more than others and I’m sure you’re the same.
This driving range practice set up today will hopefully give you more confidence to shape the ball with clubs you couldn’t before and more importantly understand why.
Now this is the technical bit. This is important to understand but shouldn’t be what’s going through your head when you’re on a golf course or even driving range. The example I have done here is how to technically hit a perfect draw.
I have drawn a line on my ball and given you some guidance lines to follow.
The blue line represents the club path (the direction the clubhead is moving) .
The yellow line (and line on my ball) represents the target.
The green line represents roughly the direction the clubface should be pointing at impact.
With me so far? To hit a draw the path needs to be moving to the right of target to start the ball to the right. The clubface should then be closed in relation to the path but not closed to the target. If the clubface is too closed and doesn’t point right of the target the ball will start and spin too far left.
Just try to remember that the greater the difference between the path and the angle of the clubface, the more sidespin produced.
To hit a perfect fade or for a left handed golfer the same principles apply but it’s reversed.
There are two things to practice when shaping the ball. The club path and the angle of the clubface. In my examples I have used a line on the ball to try and encourage the desired club path. The range balls at Windmill have lines around the “Srixon” so are a perfect way to practice this. I have also set up two clubs parallel to the target either side of my golf ball so I always know where the desired target is.
The line on the ball is aimed directly towards the target. If the path is moving in a straight line and the clubface is pointing pretty much towards the target at impact the ball should start down the target line and stay there as sidespin will be minimal (assuming a centred strike on the clubface). This is the holy grail for most golfers and takes a lot of practice. Just seeing the line point towards the target will help a lot of golfers understand their clubface alignment and path.
This is the path we would require to hit a draw. Set up the clubface towards the target (parallel with the shafts) and then try to get the feeling that the club is moving in the direction of the line on the ball. If you struggle to hit the ball right to left really exaggerate this feeling. The ball will be more than likely going right of your target due to the clubface being open and the path moving right. Try to then get the clubface rotating sooner in the downswing so its closed in relation to the path by the time you get to impact. You should then hopefully see that draw you’ve been waiting for! Start with shorter clubs and gradually work your way up. You can use a tee to help improve the strike also.
This is the most likely path and start direction for the average club golfer. Most of you won’t struggle to start the ball left of target and watch it spin left to right through the air. This is not always a bad thing, if you can control the start direction and sidespin stick with it. I would encourage trying to neutralise it and practice the previous two, just so they don’t feel completely unachievable.
Some of the observant ones out there would have noticed that my phots are taken on a golf course mat. I have been lucky enough to get out on the golf course this week in the Welsh countryside. For those English folk out there the wait is almost over. It will only be a few more sleeps and you will be out hitting balls on a golf course or driving range.
Try to practice hitting the ball both ways. Not every session on the driving should be about trying to hit perfect shots. Be creative and experiment, you won’t know if you can do this without trying! When you have then practised it and feel ore confident, take it onto the course and see the rewards.
If you’re interested in shot shaping and want to learn more then get yourself booked in for a lesson when we open next week…