It can feel like you’re really getting somewhere when you first learn how to hit the golf ball straight.
It is important to be able shape your golf shots. If you want to play in the low handicap range, shaping your golf ball is essential.
We will be looking at 9 different shot shapes in golf, and whether or not it is necessary to learn how to hit them before you play your next round.
The 9 Types Of Shot Shapes In Golf
Shot shaping is not only about the left to right turn of your golf shots, but also the height and position of the ball. You will have more options on the course if you take low or high shots.
The basic shot in golf is the straight shot. It has a clubface square, a mid trajectory, and is your preferred ball flight. Sometimes, the straight shot can get you into trouble if the pin is tucked in the corner or on a hole with a dogleg.
I’ve always called the low straight shot my wind cheater. The low straight is an option that you should consider if you are in difficult conditions and need to keep your equipment moving.
High straight shots can be used to overcome trouble or take advantage if there is a downwind. High-quality shots on the green are much more softer.
A fade is a shot that begins at your target and fades to your right. While most golfers learn how to hit a fade by changing the address position, it is also possible to change the swing path and clubface.
Fade shots are usually quite high because the fade spin can increase trajectory. However, if your skills are strong enough to hit different shots, you may be able to learn the low fade. This is an excellent option for control and a soft landing onto the green.
High fade shots are the easiest to learn. The high fade will impress your playing partners if you have a slightly open stance with the clubface traveling in the right direction.
The draw is my preferred ball flight. My natural swing tendency is for me to hit a draw so I need to know how to hit fade and straight when I work the ball. The draw begins to the right of your target and then turns left.
A low draw is great when you need extra distance. Draw shots are more likely to have more spin, so it is possible to get one of these down the fairway and have it run for the green.
Since a draw doesn’t always have the same spin as a fade, adding a bit of height back into the shot will help you stop it on the green.
How advanced golfers shape their shots
Every hole will look slightly different when you stand on the box.
Some have trees on the left, while others have water on the right. Other tees are open off the tee. However, to hit the green, one must be on the left side. Amateur golfers learn more about course management and layout.
Each hole is best viewed in its entirety.
The bottom line is, that if you don’t know how to shape your shots, you will miss out on opportunities on the golf course.
What Shot Shapes Should Average Golfers Focus on?
It’s a lot for amateur players to head to the range and try and systematically learn 9 different golf shots. This will happen with practice and time. But, amateur players need to work on controlling their trajectory.
Even if you can’t hide a fade or a draw, see if you can learn to hit the golf ball high and low. Your natural shot shape will typically be the mid trajectory. To control the ball flight and overall distance, there are only few adjustments that you need to make.
Once you’ve learned how to control your ball flight, it’s much easier to learn how hit a draw or fade. The punch shot is the best way to learn if you haven’t already. This type of shot can help you move the ball when you are in a difficult spot on the course.
Tips for shaping your golf shots
There are many ways to shape your shots depending on which golf professional you speak to.
You might find that one type of shot shape or flight is better than another if you practice with your natural shot shaping skills. These are the top tips I use when playing golf and teaching it.
1. Use golf alignment sticks
When learning how to shape your shots, alignment sticks are your best friend. A reference point is needed to help you understand how your setup works and what you should change in order to shape the ball. This is what the golf alignment sticks do.
I like to practice with a few alignment tools on the ground. This helps me see where my feet are going, where my clubface is heading, and then how I want things to turn when I shape my golf shots.
The best thing about using the golf alignment sticks in your practice is the ease of visualization when you go to the fairway. Picture what you did at the range and then try it out on the green. This is made easier if you use alignment sticks.
2. Video: Understanding Swing Path
Swing path is a key component of shaping your shots consistently. The impact position will determine your swing path. Golf clubs can either travel straight down a line from the outside or from the interior.
Video your golf swing to get an idea of how your swing works and what you can do to improve it. The video will show where your swing is flourishing and where it might need work. But, having an awareness of your swing path makes shaping the golf ball much easier.
3. Keep adjustments to a minimum
Overcorrection is a common mistake made by amateur golfers when shaping their shots. Have you ever seen a professional drop his front foot back six inches or turn a clubface in their hand so it’s obvious to the viewer? Chances are, no.
Because the professionals make a lot of adjustments, this is why the changes are kept to a minimum. Golf is a very exacting game; you don’t need to do much or to make a huge change in order to see a big difference.
Overdoing shot shaping is the most common reason golfers fail to shape their shots. Think about the fade or draw you are trying hit. Most times you only want to move your ball a few yards. This requires the slightest adjustment in your stance and your play.
This technique should be learned at the driving range. This is a mistake. You don’t have enough confidence or experience to truly pull this off until you spend a bit of time getting a feel for it.
4. Choose the Right Club
Golf clubs that are lower in the loft become less forgiving. This is why most golfers don’t have a 3-iron in their bag. They are too difficult for them to hit. You should stick to a club you feel confident in when learning how to shape your golf shots.
The 7-iron is my favorite place to start. This club has a loft that is high enough to be somewhat forgiving. You can also get good distance with the shots you are hitting.
Don’t work on hitting a fade or a draw with a 3 wood or 4 iron until you can successfully do it with other golf clubs in your bag. The 8 and 7 are great clubs to start with. You can then move on. Great players can control their driver’s shot shape and their wedges and irons.