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Shot Cones - Page 2

post #19 of 39

Re: Shot Cones

I love the idea of shot cones, and while the pictures are two dimensional, on the course I have a three dimensional mental image of a "shot cone" and it includes the flight path, so it is a curved cone in the vertical dimension. I use a mental picture up in the air as the starting center of the cone, because a shot that might be OK in left and right relationship might be wrong in trajectory (think wind, or landing area, etc.) I may hit a drive that is above the cone and directionally it is fine, but I don't like that kind of shot any more than a scoring iron to a short pin that is too low (maybe hit thin and too driving in path.) My cone is always club dependent and unfortunately a 3 wood off the tee does not have a smaller cone than a driver in my case -- obviously some kind of head case.

The original post is a key bench mark skill to have and know well in order to get your score down. The pictures and descriptions in the starting post are spot on. Personally, I hate the shot that winds up left of my personal image of its shot cone (which is that 95 percent little draw for me,) and the ones that go right are not as objectionable unless they curve right or slice unintentionally. I know how to fix a straight push and they may still land on the green, just a long putt.

This is an A+ concept to study and know for your game. When your unsatisfactory shots still stay in your cone, even at the extremes, you know you are playing reasonably well. As a confessional disclaimer, please note -- I hit a lot of shots outside my intended cone and I don't care how solidly they are struck, I don't like them. Even when the result turns out to be acceptable, I know it was a miss. Example: the drive needs to be right of center for the best angle into the green, and you wind up in the fairway on the far left side. Now bunkers, short sides, or bad slopes might come into play -- much harder to deal with.

Anyway... great topic.
post #20 of 39

Re: Shot Cones

Hmmmm is it just me ..... at a course I visualize the shot before hitting it to a target ..... line up and give it a good solid whack ..... no need to think of this, of that, of whatever theory ...... mostly thinking of all $$$##%$%% only makes you missing the shot....... I like Paradox comment ..... K.I.S.S. !

I normally hit my irons at the planned distance, sometimes too far left or right ....., but if I am left with a chip and maybe one putt I am pleased enough ...... and well if it is right 30 ft of the hole ..... I am now pleased to know it was just inside my cone
post #21 of 39
Thread Starter 

Re: Shot Cones

Originally Posted by Paradox View Post
I think it would be silly to go out and then all the sudden start worrying about how big your cone is and where it should be and keeping the ball inside it. I dunno, maybe I'm just a K.I.S.S. person and I just don't feel like this would be a beneficial thing on the course. As Calboomer said, we pretty much should always already be doing this..no need to overcomplicate it.
The problem with your statement is that doing this is simple. We've all seen a guy who has a horrible slice, it's 40 yards with the driver and he somehow even slices his pitching wedge. Yet he shoots 79 time and time again. Because his shot shape repeats.

Shot cones are simply about developing a repeating shot shape. If you have a flag tucked on the LEFT side of a green with water to the LEFT of the green, and you are a pull-fader who sometimes pulls the ball, you'd put the left side of your shot cone against the flag and the right side well away from the trouble.

It's the shot that leaves that cone - left is wet in this case and right will be 40 feet away or more (depending on how large your cone is) - that causes trouble. So not only can properly aligning your cone for the shot at hand, but working to develop a repeatable cone that is smaller and smaller over time will help your scores.

Imagine a guy (most people know someone like this) who slices every drive 40 yards and even slices his pitching wedge. His shot cone might be large just because it'll account for how much his ball curves, but because his shot is so predictable the guy can play some decent golf. He'll have trouble with the wide cone on chutes or situations like that, but overall, he'll be better off than a guy whose shot cone is half the size but who hits half of his shots outside of the cone.

Believe me, PGA Tour players think about their "cones" whether they call them that or not. They'll pick a starting line and say "I don't want the ball to turn past the right-center of the fairway..." or "if anything you want to miss it right". Those are shot cone phrases.

If you hit a shot that leaves your cone and it turns out okay, you can still be "happy" about it on your scorecard, but you should be unhappy about the swing that produced it because most of the time, a shot leaving the cone pays a price. And if you want to get better, shot cones matter. If you're content to maintain your current handicap, go ahead.

Originally Posted by RC View Post
I love the idea of shot cones, and while the pictures are two dimensional, on the course I have a three dimensional mental image of a "shot cone" and it includes the flight path, so it is a curved cone in the vertical dimension.
Yeah, I considered mentioning height, but there's typically very little variation in trajectory (intended, anyway) for most amateur golfers. But RC's right - good players consider a "vertical shot cone" as well. Blend the two together and you get kind of a cyclone or tornado looking 3D shot cone.

Originally Posted by RC View Post
When your unsatisfactory shots still stay in your cone, even at the extremes, you know you are playing reasonably well.
And you can score reasonably well during those times.

Originally Posted by RC View Post
As a confessional disclaimer, please note -- I hit a lot of shots outside my intended cone and I don't care how solidly they are struck, I don't like them. Even when the result turns out to be acceptable, I know it was a miss. Example: the drive needs to be right of center for the best angle into the green, and you wind up in the fairway on the far left side. Now bunkers, short sides, or bad slopes might come into play -- much harder to deal with.
Ditto. It's like hitting the ball thin and getting away with it because the ball rolls up on the green. You missed your vertical shot cone, so you failed at making the swing. Sure, it's great that you've still got a birdie putt, but you can't be happy about the swing.
post #22 of 39

Re: Shot Cones

as I said, I know that its something that PGA players do and I also said that its something we should all already be doing. If you're hitting shots without taking into account where a "good miss" would be, then you're failing from the start. I think its a little condescending to say "if you want to get better, then use shot cones. If you want to stay the same then don't".

Just like Calboomer said, this isn't some new philosophy. Its the way the game has always been meant to be played. Know your shot pattern, plan for it, and execute it hopefully to as close to perfection as possible each time. Golf is about managing the misses and part of doing that is knowing that its better to miss here instead of there and erring on that side of things.

The only thing I didn't agree with is overcomplicating things. Pretty simple opinion that I didn't think needed clarification or anything. Too many times I see people freeze up because they have a million thoughts in their head and they end up trying to guide a ball because they worry so much about how its supposed to fly.
post #23 of 39
Thread Starter 

Re: Shot Cones

Paradox, it's not condescending and nobody's claiming that this is "new" thing.

The simple truth is the vast majority of golfers do NOT consider shot cones. They don't "manage their misses."

All this takes is one second of consideration. It's not a swing thought, it's not something you "freeze up" over. If you understand the ball flight laws and the simple physics of how to make a ball curve in the direction you want (and guarantee it won't curve the other way), then you can improve your scoring.

While some people are happy to hit a 10-yard draw on one tee shot and a 40-yard slice on the next if they both happen to get into the fairway, shot cones will tell that person it's something to work on.

If you don't want to do it, that's fine, but you don't have to rip on it or call others condescending for trying to help people. It's one of many, many tools you can use to get better. That's it.
post #24 of 39

Re: Shot Cones

Good thread Eric. It has helped me a lot. With my swing, I open the club face a bit at address (S&T). When I pick my line, I used the face direction to see where my straight push would end up. I know that's the right side of my cone and where my miss will be.

We all have occasional shots outside our cone, but I think it is a great way to set up.
post #25 of 39

Re: Shot Cones

"shot cones" - Mike and Andy sure do come up with some catchy names.
post #26 of 39

Re: Shot Cones

I like the idea a lot. Working on developing a shot shape I can count on. Hit some push draws today at the range that seemed quite a ways off target to the left. I often hear the comentators and pros talk about planning for their misses. The shot cone concept really puts this in perspective. I also can enjoy a FUBU shot. F*****d up but useful. Sad to say some of my best shots in the not so long ago past.
post #27 of 39

I was practicing today and hitting the ball pretty well.  Started playing a little game with the last 20-30 balls that immediately made me think of this thread.  I was hitting my gap wedge to a barber pole that was - I'm guessing - about 130 yards away.  Instead of just trying to get all of my shots as close as possible to the pole, I made a conscious effort to get all of my misses to be to the right.  I did not succeed, however, I thought I did pretty well  I had 2 ugly mishits, but of the remaining 20 or so, only 3 of them missed to the left of the pole.  And those 3 only missed by 10 feet.  Also, I pegged the pole with one of the shots ... that's always fun.  c2_beer.gif

 

The point of this bump/post is mainly to point out that I really felt like this "game" sharpened my focus during this portion of my practice today.

post #28 of 39
Does the size of the cone change depending upon the club your hitting?
post #29 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jakester23 View Post

Does the size of the cone change depending upon the club your hitting?

I guess that would have to depend on how you define "size" of the cone.  In the sense that I imagine you are talking, then yes.  A perfectly repeatable swing that creates a push draw would start the ball on the exact same line relative to the target, so the further out the ball goes, the more those two lines (target line and start line) diverge. 

 

But if you simply look at it in terms of the angle between those two lines, ideally, it would always be the same.

post #30 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvmac View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KyleAnthony View Post
 

thank you. ya i was looking into it, but i still have 3 lessons left at the local course. i was going to wait to finish them and then start the evolvr so i don't have 2 voices going into my head ya know.

 

Yeah the Evolvr guys are awesome.  You're in Orange County?  If you ever want to do an in person lesson we can meet up in Long Beach.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdl View Post
 

 

I agree with this in general and 100% on the course.  But let me throw in a bit of support for spending at least some time practicing alternate shot shapes.  For the longest time I just accepted that my shots were gonna be straight to fade, often with a push exacerbating how far right the shot ended up.  I could literally only draw the ball on purpose with a punch shot.  I felt like I plateaued and decided I need to learn how to draw the ball, sort of a semi-starting over to try to learn to feel more in control.

 

That's forced me to finally get over some of my mechanical issues, and I feel like I'm on a much better path.  I guess my point is that while yes you can have a natural shot shape and it's good to mostly shoot what you're comfortable with and best at (especially on the course!), the different shapes can hide different swing weaknesses, and forcing yourself to practice both can help expose some of those in my opinion.

 

This might not be true for high handicappers, but as someone who at one point could play in the high 70s, low 80s, and who wants to go very low, it seems the OP has the experience and ability for this to maybe be of use.

 

To clarify I did say predictable pattern.  It's not really about "accepting" a certain ball flight, it's about owning one.  That's mean you have control over the start line and the curve.  You can hit 10 shots in a row, all start lines are the very similar and the amount of curve is predictable and effective for playing golf.  All the shots are staying within the "cone".

 

 Shot Cones 

 

Zach Johnson is a great example, I bet 90-95% of his shots at Kapalua were push draws.  Dude owns his start lines and rarely over curves shots.

 

I apologize if I'm coming across as being unable to understand the shot cones thread but the solid black line on the right - is that the path the ball normally beings on and then the dotted line that follows it just a continuation of that line after it hits the ground (obviously it doesn't necessarily have to roll out along that line after it hits the ground)?

post #31 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RFKFREAK View Post
 

I apologize if I'm coming across as being unable to understand the shot cones thread but the solid black line on the right - is that the path the ball normally beings on and then the dotted line that follows it just a continuation of that line after it hits the ground (obviously it doesn't necessarily have to roll out along that line after it hits the ground)?

 

It's just the right edge of the cone. If there's OB right, and shots don't leave your cone, you can set that right edge just inside OB and not fear hitting it OB.

post #32 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by RFKFREAK View Post
 

 

I apologize if I'm coming across as being unable to understand the shot cones thread but the solid black line on the right - is that the path the ball normally beings on and then the dotted line that follows it just a continuation of that line after it hits the ground (obviously it doesn't necessarily have to roll out along that line after it hits the ground)?

@RFKFREAK the black lines are theoretical.  The vertical one is the theoretical "target line" (where you want the ball to finish) and the other one is the "start line" (self explanatory).  Better players are able to keep their shots inside those cones the majority of the time, and the best players are able to have really tiny cones.  (Unless they want to be goofballs like Bubba Watson) ;)

 

The only line related to an actual ball is the red line.

 

Once you get good enough to know you'll always keep your shot inside a cone like that, it opens up a whole new world of the game.  You get to eliminate entire parts of fairways and greens before you even tee off.  When you're like me, then you have a 2 way miss and, like Ebbie Calvin Laloosh, you "don't know where it's gonna go.  Swear to God.  The next one might be at your head."  So you just aim for the fattest part of the fairway or green, close your eyes, and hope.:beer:

 

EDIT:  Whoops, Erik beat me to it.  (But my answer had more flare** so it's better, even if his makes more sense!!)

 

**Get it??  Flare??  In the shot cones thread??? :beer:  Don't forget to tip your waitress!!

post #33 of 39

I feel really dumb when I try to think about this concept.  It seems very simple, but I don't quite understand it.  

 

Is the idea that a player who draws the ball should strive to have his only miss be a shot that doesn't curve enough?  Or would it be equally acceptable for a player who draws the ball to have his only miss be an over-draw?  In other words, is it acceptable to have the flag would be on the black line to the right, and the red line would start outside and then come back to the black line or cross over it?  Is just more difficult to eliminate the push than the over-draw?  

 

Also, assuming that you have a cone like those in the original diagram, and no particular feature of the course requires that you play to one side of the flag or the other, do you pick a target that is left of the flag so that a perfect swing places you left of the hole or do you target the flag?  Sort of putting the hole in the middle of your likely dispersion area?  Or do you target the hole even though it means your misses will be further from the hole?

 

And finally, does this mean that when I'm at the driving range and shooting at flags or sticks or signs or whatever, that I should pretty much always be trying to hit the target and keeping any miss to once side? 

 

I think I just get caught up thinking that a shot 5 yards left of the "target" can't be worse than a shot 10 yards right of the target. It seems like walking a tight rope to me.  Or like aiming just inside the lip instead of the center of the cup when putting.  I don't actually question that Erik is correct, I just always get stuck on this when trying to understand it myself.

post #34 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsc123 View Post
 

Is the idea that a player who draws the ball should strive to have his only miss be a shot that doesn't curve enough?  Or would it be equally acceptable for a player who draws the ball to have his only miss be an over-draw?

I think so, yes.  If you have confidence in your start lines, and in staying in your cone, then you have a defined window where you "know" your ball will end up.  An over-draw is a vague concept because how much are we talking about?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dsc123 View Post
 

 In other words, is it acceptable to have the flag would be on the black line to the right, and the red line would start outside and then come back to the black line or cross over it?  Is just more difficult to eliminate the push than the over-draw? 

Sounds like you are slightly misinterpreting the black lines based on this statement. If you intentionally hit the ball to the outside of the black line on the right, then that isn't where the black line would be in your case. By definition, the black line on the right (since we're talking about push draws here) is where you WANT to start the ball.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dsc123 View Post
 

Also, assuming that you have a cone like those in the original diagram, and no particular feature of the course requires that you play to one side of the flag or the other, do you pick a target that is left of the flag so that a perfect swing places you left of the hole or do you target the flag?  Sort of putting the hole in the middle of your likely dispersion area?  Or do you target the hole even though it means your misses will be further from the hole?

This answer sort of goes with the answer to the first question.  Let's say that you have a flag tucked to the right of the green and you are a 5 yard push draw guy.  You are probably not going to want to fool around with missing the green, so you're going to rotate your cone to the left.  Perhaps you'll put the flag on your start line, and your "target" will be 15 feet left of the flag.  You might be looking at Erik's diagrams and be thinking that this qualifies as an "overdraw" but it doesn't at all ... it's precisely how you planned it.

 

If the pin is left, then you'd likely make that your target, with your start line 5 yards to the right, and as an expert, you'd expect anything from a 15' putt for birdie to a hole-out.

 

If the pin is in the middle of the green with no specific side being desireable, perhaps you would center it in your cone.  Put your start line 2.5 yards to the right, and your "target" 2.5 yards to the left.  Now, at worst, you're left with a 7 or 8 foot birdie putt.

 

Anyways ... I'm no expert, just a fool who thinks he understands the 'shot cones' concept, so hopefully this is correct and it all makes sense. :)

post #35 of 39

Makes sense now!  Thank you!

 

@Golfingdad, did you get a writer credit in "Office Space?  :beer: 

post #36 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

Sounds like you are slightly misinterpreting the black lines based on this statement. If you intentionally hit the ball to the outside of the black line on the right, then that isn't where the black line would be in your case. By definition, the black line on the right (since we're talking about push draws here) is where you WANT to start the ball.

This answer sort of goes with the answer to the first question.  Let's say that you have a flag tucked to the right of the green and you are a 5 yard push draw guy.  You are probably not going to want to fool around with missing the green, so you're going to rotate your cone to the left.  Perhaps you'll put the flag on your start line, and your "target" will be 15 feet left of the flag.  You might be looking at Erik's diagrams and be thinking that this qualifies as an "overdraw" but it doesn't at all ... it's precisely how you planned it.

If the pin is left, then you'd likely make that your target, with your start line 5 yards to the right, and as an expert, you'd expect anything from a 15' putt for birdie to a hole-out.

If the pin is in the middle of the green with no specific side being desireable, perhaps you would center it in your cone.  Put your start line 2.5 yards to the right, and your "target" 2.5 yards to the left.  Now, at worst, you're left with a 7 or 8 foot birdie putt.

QFT. a1_smile.gif
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