Shot Shaping 101

Here is a simple explanation of how to shape golf shots. This information will also help you understand how to keep your ball striking in check any time you play. You will understand how to curve the ball and how to diagnose the errant slice or hook.


Read this carefully. When you strike a golf ball, it will start flying in the direction the clubface was pointed at impact. The ball will curve depending upon the relationship between where the clubface was pointed at impact and the path of the club through impact. Read that until you understand it!! This piece of knowledge will greatly improve your ability to play if you understand it and use the knowledge to manage your game.


Draw: A shot that starts to the right of the target and curves left in the air towards the target. To hit the proper draw, the clubface must be pointed to the right of the target as it impacts the golf ball. The path of the club must be to the right of where the clubface was pointed. The golf ball will begin flying to the right of the target because the face was pointed to the right, but because the path of the club was further right than the face angle, the shot will curve left towards the target executing the draw.


Fade: A shot that starts to the left of the target and curves right in the air towards the target. To hit the proper fade, the clubface must be pointed to the left of the target as it impacts the golf ball. The path of the club must be to the left of where the clubface was pointed. The golf ball will begin flying to the left of the target because the face was pointed to the left, but because the path of the club was further left than the face angle, the shot will curve right towards the target executing the fade.


Here is a simple visual to help you understand the mechanics:


In this picture, the black line is the target line. It would stretch from the ball all the way to the target in a straight line. The yellow line and arrow show the face angle of the golf club and where the golf ball would start flying at impact based on that face angle. The blue arrow shows the path of the club through impact to properly execute the labeled shot. Executing the golf shot shape (fade or draw) is dependent upon the relationship between the face angle at impact and the path of the club through impact.


Take this knowledge to the course next time you play to better understand where your errant shots come from. For example, if you hit a slice and wonder why… think about the shot and apply these rules. Where did the ball start? To the right? Clubface was open (pointed to the right of the target) at impact. Ball curved right? The club path was left of where the face was pointed putting a slice spin on the golf ball causing it to curve way right.


Instead of being frustrated about the golf shot, learn from it! Take a moment to understand what must have happened. Choosing to learn about the game instead of choosing to get frustrated from it will further develop your skills and make you a better player over time!



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