Become A Shotmaking Artist
From tee to green, all the plays every golfer needs
The one constant in the game of golf is that each round is different. Weather conditions, course conditions, course layout and even a golfer’s physical and mental state on a given day create a unique set of challenges. That means that to play well you have to learn to adapt. Golfers who maximize their scoring potential know how to do things like shape the ball around the corner of a dogleg, handle uneven lies on a hilly course, and hit the ball back in play from under low-hanging branches. Being able to change your strategy and technique to execute shots under conditions like these qualifies you as a shotmaker—and that’s when you’re really playing golf.
Put A New Spin On Your Game
One of the basics of shotmaking is understanding the art of applying spin to the golf ball in special ways. If you understand the way in which spin influences the flight of the ball, you’ll have a better chance at intentionally applying that spin when you need it. Because the shortest route between your ball and the target isn’t always a straight line, being able to curve the ball at will is a must for maximizing your scoring potential.
Fading The Ball
Clockwise sidespin makes the ball move from left to right. You impart this type of spin when the ball is struck with an open clubface relative to your swing path. As such, the easiest way to intentionally produce a shot that fades from left to right is to preset the appropriate clubface angle and swing path at address.
To fade the ball, aim your body (feet, knees, hips and shoulders) slightly left of your target or where you want the ball to start out. Now, open the clubface slightly and grip the golf club so that the clubface is aimed directly at the target—or where you want the ball to end up.
Because you swing along the path established by your body alignments, the club travels on an out-to-in path relative to the target line, starting the ball left of the target. However, because the clubface is open relative to the swing path, left-to-right sidespin is produced, curving the ball gently back to the target. Because the bottom of the swing is more forward than normal due to the “open” stance, position the ball slightly ahead of normal. Also, firm up the grip pressure in both hands slightly to prevent the clubface from closing too soon through the hitting area. A fade produces a shot that flies higher and stops faster with little roll once it hits the ground, so consider taking one more club than normal. It’s as simple as that.
Drawing The Ball
A shot that curves from right to left naturally demands a setup position that’s opposite of that for one that curves left-to-right. First, align your body slightly right of your target or in the direction you want the ball to start out. Now, grip the club so the clubface is slightly closed and aimed at the target or where you want the ball to finish. This “closed” body alignment promotes a takeaway that will be more to the inside than usual, resulting in a swing path that travels from inside-to-out and imparts counterclockwise spin. The path and counterclockwise spin will cause the ball to start out right, then draw back in toward the target. The more curve you want, the more you aim to the right, keeping the clubface aimed at your intended target. Because a closed stance effectively moves the bottom of the swing behind where it is normally, the ball position should be slightly back in your stance. Grip pressure should be a little lighter than normal in both hands, encouraging the clubface to close sooner through the hitting area. Since the clubface closes down at impact when you play a draw, you’ll get a lower ballflight with more overspin than a straight shot. The trajectory will be lower and the ball won’t fly as far in the air, but it will roll farther once it hits the ground.
Play The Over-Under
Trajectory control is just as important to playing great golf as being able to curve the ball left or right. Mastering the high and low shots will help you escape trouble, hit the ball low on a windy day or hit a high shot over an obstacle or into an elevated green.