by Frank Peter
The following Golf Lesson is reprinted with permission from the "Golf Beginner Guide", a full 272 page resource for Golf Beginners. For only $29.50 you get an incredible amount of invaluable tips, lessons and advice - great value for money. Click the above link to find out more!
During the course of a round, you'll often find yourself in spots that require specialty shots to get out of trouble. Most of the time, a hook or slice can be the worst thing in your world. However, sometimes you might need to deliberately hit such shots. In fact, the ability to choose your type of shot as the situation requires is what transforms average golfers into great players. This article describes different types of shots and the simplest ways to hit them.
For right-handed golfers, a hook curves from right to left. This type of shot tends to roll farther than a sliced shot. To hit a hook, the clubface must be closed in relation to the target line at impact. The simplest way to hit this shot is to start with a normal stance and grip, and direct the clubface toward the target. Next, pull back the right or back foot a few inches - so that the line of your feet is aiming to the right of the target 10-15 yards. When you align your feet this way, it forces you to swing on an inside-to-outside plane. At impact, this swing path puts a counterclockwise spin on the ball and makes it hook. This technique coupled with a closed clubface produces an even bigger hook. If you're having trouble, make sure there's a feeling of the hands rolling over through impact. For a more pronounced hook, you can also manipulate your grip. Simply rotate your hands to the right more at address.
You can hit a slicing shot many ways. The simplest way to slice on purpose is to reverse the procedure you followed for the hook. Pull the left foot back so your stance points to the left. Leave the clubface pointed toward the target and swing across on the new feet line. You can add more slice by "weakening" the grip - rotating the hands and grip position to the left. When you hit a slice, there's less hand action and rotation through the ball.
Fade and Draw
A fade is a mild version of a slice and a draw is a mild version of a hook. Because hitting the ball dead straight every time is so difficult, good players incorporate slight nuances of the hook or slice, and they attempt to make one of these ball flights their "bread and butter" shot. This way, they'll at least know the direction the ball is curving, allowing for greater control and course management. Jack Nicklaus has always said that the best way to hit a fade is to slightly open your clubface at address and take a normal swing. To hit a draw, slightly close the clubface at address and take your usual swing.
Hitting high shots can be valuable in situations where the greens are very firm or you need to get the ball over some high object, such as a tree. This type of shot lands softer, allowing golfers to carry over bunkers and still keep the ball close to the flag. Start by placing the ball slightly more forward in the stance than you're used to. Next, visualize your spine angle being vertical to the ground at address. When you get near impact on the swing, your spine angle can be at a slightly upward or "launch" angle. You achieve this best by making sure that your head stays back through the shot. It's OK to shift the weight of your lower body, but force your upper body to stay back. A more upright swing plane promotes a higher ball flight.
Low shots are fun to hit especially into wind or under trees. Place the ball farther back in the stance, compared to your normal ball position. As you come through impact, there are two positions to feel. First, make sure that the hands have stayed in front of the ball, keeping the loft of the club low. Second, ensure the spine angle is still vertical and not at a typical launch angle. Often times, a shorter backswing helps here as well. This position gives you a nice controlled low shot. The shot also tends to roll more, so plan accordingly.
These are just a few of the many creative types of shots you can learn to produce in an imaginative round of golf. Keep an eye out for future lessons about specialty shots.