How easy is it to shape the golf ball? We’ve taken a look at why you should be learning how to manipulate your ball flight
If you want to learn how to hit a golf ball straight, learning how to shape any golf shot will really help. Hitting a draw and hitting a fade will generate different feelings, which you can use to straighten out a ball flight that is going too far in the wrong direction.
So don’t feel like you have to wait until your game gets to a certain level to learn these skills. This shot-shaping skill is fundamental to learning the game of golf and will certainly help your golf game become more consistent.
How To Shape Golf Shots
Shaping shots in golf is a skill that is seen as something only better golfers do to control their ball better, especially into the green. They will manipulate the trajectory and also the sideways movement of the golf ball. It is helpful to be able to shape shots around obstacles, control the ball in the wind and optimise landing locations.
To shape the golf ball you need to know how to adjust your clubface angle, swing path, and ball position to influence the ball’s flight. The two primary shapes that golfers aim to achieve are fades and draws. A fade is a controlled shot that curves gently from left to right for right-handed golfers, while a draw curves from right to left. The ball starts left of the target and moves back into the pin. A draw is a more powerful shot that curves from right to left for right-handed golfers. These shapes are not only visually appealing but also strategically advantageous, enabling players to navigate the layout of a course more effectively.
To hit a draw you need to have a swing path that is travelling to the right of the target. The club face also needs to be open to your target but closed to the path to create a shot that starts to the right and moves back to the centre. With a fade the opposite is true. You want a club path that is left of the target and a face that is closed to the target but more open than the path.
It is often tempting to massively open the face excessively if you want to hit a draw but this will just create a block. So remember your face should ideally point 50% less to the right than the path.
In practice, it is good to hit shots with an alignment stick in front of you on the target line and then try to shape the ball around this by starting the ball left and right of the stick and moving it back to the centre.
Visualisation can really help with shot shaping. Visualising the desired shot shape before stepping up to the ball is crucial as it allows you to really commit to the shot and know what you are planning to do.
Professional golfers are often admired for their ability to shape shots on demand, enabling them to adapt to varying tournament conditions and different courses each week. Tiger Woods has to be one of the best shot-shapers in history. Woods’ ability to manipulate the ball’s flight and consistently find the fairway or set up ideal approach shots was a key factor in his dominance on the PGA Tour.
Amateur golfers, too, can benefit from developing shot-shaping skills. While it may seem like an advanced technique, it is possible for players of all levels to learn this skill. Practising shot shaping on the driving range allows you to experiment with different ball positions, clubface angles, and swing paths. It also stops you from getting too technical and getting stuck in swing changes. Shot shaping can also be used to get yourself back in play after hitting a bad shot. Imagine being able to draw a shot around a tree to get it back into the fairway. That could certainly help your scoring.
In conclusion, learning how to shape shots is a great skill to have in the locker and can also be really fun to practice. It allows you to be more creative on the golf course and start learning to hit different types of shots. Whether it’s a sweeping fade around a tree or hitting a draw to navigate a dogleg, shot shaping can improve your performance and help you shoot lower scores.
Watch our full instruction video on how to shape golf shots here.
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