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What's up with everyone's fascination with working the ball?

Poll Results: How often do you really try to work the ball?

 
  • 2% (2)
    All the time, "I can hook a lob wedge!!"
  • 8% (6)
    Most of the time (over 50%)
  • 23% (17)
    Some of the time (less than 50%)
  • 52% (37)
    Only when there's something directly in front of me
  • 12% (9)
    Never
71 Total Votes  
post #1 of 63
Thread Starter 

I have seen numerous threads on this forum about shot shaping and working the ball; and I have added my input on many of them. Then as I was hitting balls this morning some guy comes up to me and asks me about my blades and how he wants to get some so he can "work the ball".

 

I watched him swing, he couldn't make solid contact, what in the z1_censored.gif does he want to try to work the ball for?

 

Am I missing something? What is this obsession with working the ball? I am a scratch player and I very rarely work the ball. In fact I only try when there's an absolute necessity.

 

I guess I am asking how often do you really try to work the ball and why?

post #2 of 63
I am a high handicapper and only attempt to work the ball if there is a tree in between me and the green and the only choices are left of the tree and lay up short or right of the tree and lay up short. My normal shot is a slight fade or dead straight and I am usually able to pull off the shot I want 60-70% of the time and I make sure that I'm not in trouble if I don't work the shot like I plan. As I side note when I started figureing out how to shape my shot I learned a lot about the dynamics of my swing and small ways to help me adjust to get better control of my shot.
post #3 of 63

I want to get to the point where I can start the ball at the middle of every green (or wherever the trouble is NOT) and work the ball towards the hole.  Good 'nuff for Jack, good 'nuff for me.

post #4 of 63

I only try to "work" the ball if there is something directly in front of me. 90 percent of the time i fail to pull off the shot.

 

with the state of my game i have no business tryin to shape anything. Nor do i really have any desire as the courses i play really dont require any shaping overall.

post #5 of 63

I'm glad you started this thread.  I totally agree with you that it makes little to no sense how much fascination it appears so many average golfers here have with "working" the ball.  I spend 100% of my full swing practice time just trying to develop a swing consistent enough that the ball will do the same thing each time.  (Ideally, go virtually straight with just a hint of draw) That's it.  If need be, I can make the ball do things, but that is only required when I'm stymied one way or another.  It's fun to be able to slice it around a tree, or keep it low under some branches, but those are only in emergencies.  Otherwise, I'll try to hit the exact same shot every time.

 

Oh, and I have super forgiving i20's and have no problem whatsoever (that isn't attributable to my own inconsistencies) hitting those shots when they are required.

post #6 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

I'm glad you started this thread.  I totally agree with you that it makes little to no sense how much fascination it appears so many average golfers here have with "working" the ball.  I spend 100% of my full swing practice time just trying to develop a swing consistent enough that the ball will do the same thing each time.  (Ideally, go virtually straight with just a hint of draw) That's it.  If need be, I can make the ball do things, but that is only required when I'm stymied one way or another.  It's fun to be able to slice it around a tree, or keep it low under some branches, but those are only in emergencies.  Otherwise, I'll try to hit the exact same shot every time.

 

Oh, and I have super forgiving i20's and have no problem whatsoever (that isn't attributable to my own inconsistencies) hitting those shots when they are required.

Same here.  I just hit a stock push draw most of the time.  If I have a lie below my feet I will often hit a tiny cut, or if I have a pin tight to the right side I might hit a cut.  Other than that just if I need to get around something.  I would say 85-90% push draw for me.  Start it at the right side of the green and draw it to the middle.

post #7 of 63

In golf, everybody remembers how good they "could" be, not how good they actually are.  Think about this article

http://www.golfwrx.com/82327/golfers-have-ridiculous-expectations/

 

Golfers don't do it intentionally, but they often times believe they are better than they actually are.  Think about this, how many times do you see a guy play with you who claims to be a handicap that represents his/her best round ever and not the typical round that they shoot.  They are not intentionally lying, they just tend to remember how good they are capable of being in perfect circumstances. (mulligans, gimmies, free drops, etc.)

 

I think the same thing can be extended to golf clubs.  Golf club sales is a highly competitive market, so golf club manufacturers rely heavily on advertising, and they all want you to believe that you can buy a better game through technology. Golf club manufacturers want you to believe that the newest SGI clubs are the cure to a bad slice / hook / etc.  They want you to believe that a beginner golfer can make a purchase that will hit the ball straighter and longer.  I think that this idea has forced people to believe that hitting the ball straight is the only thing and SGI club is capable of doing.


So now take a golfer who in his own mind who always plays to the max of his ability, add to that the stuff you see on weekend golf coverage (professionals make this game look easy) and all of the marketing hype around golf clubs and you create a micro society that starts to believe it's BS. 

 

You have a person who believes that because he/she hits a nice straight golf ball, they are ready to hit fades, draws, etc.  Because they believe that you need to make a purchase to enable this new shot shape, they assume that purchase is with different tools. 

 

I am not innocent of this fact.  A perfect example is my recent golf club purchase.  I decided I wanted new irons and went to get fitted and hit the ping G25's and the i20's.  I believed that I was capable of hitting the i20's and that the G25's were too "beginner" for me.  I hit both, the fitter was totally honest and said "I could sell you the i20's you will be happy with them, but the G25's forgiveness will give you better scores"  I took his advice, and am VERY VERY happy. 

 

One of my other passions is a workout regimen named Cross fit, and while I admit that I have not been to the gym in a few weeks due to work schedule and golf in the budding spring season, one of the very FIRST things that the coaches teach a new person is to check your ego at the door.  Because in weight lifting (Crossfit) you can easily get hurt thinking well that guy is clearly not as big / strong as I am, so if he can lift that much weight so can I.  In golf, nobody bothers teaching check egos at the door.  On a golf course, the only thing you will hurt is your wallet and/or your pride. 

post #8 of 63

I certainly don't have a need for it. My goal is putting it in play with a good look at the green for the 2nd shot, even if that means taking less club knowing the next shot will be longer than I'd prefer. Occasionally there are holes that move left or right enough where it would be benefical to hit a big high draw or fade and typically I hit a hybirid from the tee because I'm mostly certain I can control it. The strategy being if I hit driver or 3w and it doesn't move it's long and into trouble. Especially of there are trees around. Just seems like a smart way for me to play.

post #9 of 63

I want to learn how to do it......

 

Why--- so I know what inputs from my swing are most effective in shaping the shot....

 

Knowing that--- I hope to control those aspects better, so my stock shot becomes more consistent.....

 

as a bonus--- so I can feel good about attempting it if I ever have to

but mostly--- so I can avoid putting myself in a position to ever have to

post #10 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by cipher View Post

Same here.  I just hit a stock push draw most of the time.  If I have a lie below my feet I will often hit a tiny cut, or if I have a pin tight to the right side I might hit a cut.  Other than that just if I need to get around something.  I would say 85-90% push draw for me.  Start it at the right side of the green and draw it to the middle.

Yeah, for me on a good day, everything is a push and my misses just don't draw enough or at all.  So I basically aim towards the left side of the fairway or green (assuming there isn't something over there like OB or hazard, in which case, I'll cheat away from it).

 

I've seen Erik or somebody else reference a quote from Kenny Perry where he says something along the lines of "when the hole is on the right side of the green, I will aim for the center" and then the follow up question is "what do you do when the pin is on the left side of the green?"  And he says, "I make birdie."  Obviously, I rarely make birdie no matter where the pins are located, but I still follow the logic.  There is no reason to try and get cute when it goes against what you know how to do.  If you play a draw and try to hit a cut to the right pin, you're risking a bad score because a cut isn't your go-to shot.  If you try to play a draw to a pin on the right, you're risking a bad score because now you're bringing in the bunker/rough/what have you off the right side of the green.

 

And, yes, I will hit things other than push-draw when the lie dictates, but I'm not "working" the ball.  I'm just taking my normal swing and aiming such that I take into account what I think the lie is going to cause it to do.  If the ball is above my feet, I'll aim further right, below and I'll aim further left.  That's it.

post #11 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by rehmwa View Post

I want to learn how to do it......

 

Why--- so I know what inputs from my swing are most effective in shaping the shot....

 

Knowing that--- I hope to control those aspects better, so my stock shot becomes more consistent.....

 

as a bonus--- so I can feel good about attempting it if I ever have to

but mostly--- so I can avoid putting myself in a position to ever have to


is this along the same lines of, want to stop slicing the ball, learn to hit a hook?

post #12 of 63

I voted for "Only when there is something in front of me" as I probably intentionally "work the ball" 1-2 times per 18 holes.

I play with a fade, naturally, and I've never tried to correct it or fight it. It generally plays into my advantage and I usually play it smart to set myself up for success with it. For example, if I have a fairway fading left and there is a lake in front of the green, I will play my first shot further left to fade it on the right edge of the fairway to give me a more clear path to the green with less risk. This would allow me to hit another fade to the green playing another left-to-right shot.

However, if I am close enough to reach the green and it requires a draw (against my natural fade), I will most likely not play it if the risk is just as great as the reward (ie: miss and you're F'd, make it and you're smiling for 5 holes). I do see a lot of people force shots and I don't get it.

In fact, I'm about to go respond to a "Working the ball, Cavity Backs vs Blades" thread in the Instruction and Playing Tips section (http://thesandtrap.com/t/66538/draw-fade-on-command-cavity-backs-vs-blades).

post #13 of 63

I voted never as in the last four years I have only tried to hit a hook on purpose one time. Even then I would have normally just advanced the ball safely and kept well in play but there were other overriding considerations.

 

Add flop shots to the list as never for me too.  When I was a beginner though I tried to hit all those type shots because when you don't "own" any shots, every shot has about the same chance of success.

post #14 of 63

I'm not sure what I do is qualified as working the ball - because I do the same thing every time.  But I definitely try to draw it every time.  I - like many - have difficulty hitting it from inside to out.  But I really want to. And when I do, I really love that shot.  Mostly my attemps to hook it a little make it go pretty straight.  Attempting the draw seems to help keep me out of trouble.

 

I would never try to slice it any - even if the hole goes that way. 

post #15 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave2512 View Post

I certainly don't have a need for it. My goal is putting it in play with a good look at the green for the 2nd shot, even if that means taking less club knowing the next shot will be longer than I'd prefer. Occasionally there are holes that move left or right enough where it would be benefical to hit a big high draw or fade and typically I hit a hybirid from the tee because I'm mostly certain I can control it. The strategy being if I hit driver or 3w and it doesn't move it's long and into trouble. Especially of there are trees around. Just seems like a smart way for me to play.

Agree 100%.  When I read the stories of people who explain why they want to work it, oftentimes its for situations like this.  There's a dogleg in a hole and I can't cut the corner so I want hook it around the corner.  Basically, the "hero" shot.  We are all guilty of it at some point or another, but lately I've come to realize that there is no requirement that I leave myself with a 120 yd or less approach.  The goal should be to leave myself with a shot at the green at all.  If that happens to be from 180 or 200 ... so be it.  I can certainly reach a green from the middle of the fairway from 200 yards a lot more often than I can from the forest from 120 out.  The last round I played I hit 4 iron off the tee 7 times when I could have hit a driver (and I hit the fairway 7 of 7 times).  3 of those were on holes over 400 yards, and one of them I made a birdie!

post #16 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

  The last round I played I hit 4 iron off the tee 7 times when I could have hit a driver (and I hit the fairway 7 of 7 times).  3 of those were on holes over 400 yards, and one of them I made a birdie!

Heck I should probably play that way all the time. When I got back into it last year I didn't use anything longer than 4i for several months. Almost embarrassed to admit it but my lowest 9 hole scores to date are from that time.

post #17 of 63

I voted only when there is somthing in front of me. All I want to do is hit consitant shots streight each time,  from there i can get in a decent round. 

I may mess around here and there but never if I am keeping a score card.

 

If hitting a slice is working the ball then I am a master at that...ha-ha.

post #18 of 63
I have trouble working the ball gently. I am pretty good at hitting a huge push slice or a nasty hook, but not really anything in between my relatively straight stock shot and the extreme hook/slice.
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