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What's up with everyone's fascination with working the ball? - Page 2

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 #19 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

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.

You are right the smart safe play with a pin on the right would be to play to the middle and trying to cut the ball is a big risk.  But for the sake of possibly needing to do it in a tournament or having to cut around something, it is fun to try once and a while.  a3_biggrin.gif  The risk for me is a shank, I did it yesterday on an approach shot trying to cut into a back right pin.  I put another ball down and hit my stock shot and GIR.  

post #20 of 63
When I think "working" the ball, I think something that's deliberately different than that person's stock shot. Since many (most?) higher handicap players don't even have a consistent stock shot, I tend to chuckle when they begin to talk about intentionally working the ball.

Having said that, there are a couple of times each round where I'll vary from my stock draw with irons and hybrids or fade with the driver. If a drive calls for a draw to gain a significant advantage, I'll do it, but it needs to be significant, because I'm fully capable of turning a nice little draw into a snap hook in a heartbeat. The second place I'll play something other than a stock shot is to a tucked pin, where I can start the ball at the center of the green and cut it towards the pin. If it comes off, great, if not, no harm done. Other than those two circumstances, I very seldom deviate much from what I know will be a pretty consistent result from my stock shots.
post #21 of 63

I work the ball a good bit...Sometimes it's even on purpose. (Just joking!)

 

Actually I do work the ball more than most of the people I play golf with but it's no more a risk for me to hit a draw or a fade than it is for me to hit a straight ball.

 

That said, I answered "less than 50%" because even as much as I work the ball I certainly don't do it more than half the time.

post #22 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post

Since many (most?) higher handicap players don't even have a consistent stock shot, I tend to chuckle when they begin to talk about intentionally working the ball.

I do, it's called a mishit. Usually anywhere but where I would really like it to go. The general direction of the green is close enough for me. I'm a master of the half decent chip and the resulting 2 putt.

post #23 of 63

I never try to work the ball on the course.   I am simply not good enough at this point.  So if I am behind something I just lay up or something of that sort.  However, I think the reason so many people want to work the ball is because of the premis that being able to do so is a sign of a decent to good golfer.  Whether true or not I don't know but I think that stigma is there.

post #24 of 63

I want my ball to fly relatively straight and that is what is does when I am playing well.  Don't care if it leaks a little either way.  I can hit the big hook or the big slice but only want to do it if something is my way.  

post #25 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by clearwaterms View Post


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

you're funny - but just in case that's a serious question.....

 

but it really is a close statement.  If you want to hit a consistent shot, you should learn what causes variation and how to control that so you don't do it accidentally.  Don't you think someone that has even a slight understanding and skill at causing a slight bend both ways would also be better at hitting his regular shot right in the middle of that?

 

I consider "shaping" to pretty much be having the ability to bend it slightly more or less in the area around my 'stock' shot.  Major curving?  that's a different animal that I'm not yet ready to take on....but if I did, I think I'd learn things that would make me better at my normal game anyway.

 

Let's try some analogies - 

  • My "stock" SW Pitch is a regular grip and a 1/4 swing (see the pitching thread, it's a good one) and it's a nice 30 yard flight - I mess with choking up, I mess with 1/4 and 1/2 swings to learn to pitch - as a result, my "stock" 30 yard pitch with my SW is much more consistent because I know how much a slightly bigger or slightly smaller swing affects my shot - I know how much a more or less choked grip affects my shot.  Heck, I might even mess with how much I open and close the face of the club.  (In fact, I now have a "stock" 20 yard shot and a "stock" 40 yard shot...c3_clap.gif)
  • My "stock" 8i shot goes a nice 150 yards?  Yet, from messing around and trying to hit 145 and 155 on purpose, I am much more confident that when I am at 150 yards, I can get very close.
  • etc etc ad nauseum

 

I'm just playing with the swing and trying to learn more to tighten the sigma.....i.e., suck less at this frustrating sport

 

Granted, I think shaping a shot is a lot more involved than messing with length and uplofting and downlofting.  But playing around with it has taught me so much about my swing.  Even if I hope to avoid having to apply it.....

post #26 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwlee7 View Post

I want my ball to fly relatively straight and that is what is does when I am playing well.  Don't care if it leaks a little either way.  I can hit the big hook or the big slice but only want to do it if something is my way.  

Pretty much me as well.
post #27 of 63

I work the ball on just about every shot with the only exception being layups where it doesn't matter although even then I may alter the shape to get the desired length (if I want it to roll out I may hit a little draw, if I want it to stop at a certain distance I hit a high fade). I play blades (I consider them blades at least) explicitly to work the ball.

 

I do it for 2 reasons: 1) Its fun and 2) its tangible.

 

I don't know how to hit it "straight". I do know how to draw it or fade it. So if I am thinking about a nice fade, I can set up and execute that. Same with a draw. If I try to just hit it straight its like I am just trying to not mess up with no specific plan. That's just me though. Everyone is different.

 

I also like the fade because it stops better on greens vs the draw I use to hit no matter what. Mainly talking about my longer irons here.

 

My stock shot now is a fade. I hit it most of the time. It stops faster and at least for me is more controllable. I will hit draw into a wind, when the flag is tucked on the back left behind a bunker (not very common on most NON tour courses but it happens), when I am escaping danger or am otherwise forced to or when the hole calls for it (dogleg left for example).

 

I enjoy playing the right shot even if I fail because I can just as easy fail hitting a safe shot. I'm only a 9 right now but my issues are around distance control inside 100 and the short game in general. I would say that my ability to work the ball is a big reason I am where I am because I have so many more options and can play just about any hole on any course since I am not stuck hitting one type of shot. 

 

Again this is what works for me and I am not prescribing this to everyone. Simply telling my story.

post #28 of 63

I do want to add that the only reason I want the ball to fly "reasonably" straight is because that is my stock shot.  I have never drawn or faded the ball all that much.  It flies relatively straight when I put a good swing on it.  When I am not playing well, my bad miss is a nasty "quail hook" where the ball only gets about 20 feet off the ground and then scampers off into the left woods. 

post #29 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by rehmwa View Post

you're funny - but just in case that's a serious question.....

 

but it really is a close statement.  If you want to hit a consistent shot, you should learn what causes variation and how to control that so you don't do it accidentally.  Don't you think someone that has even a slight understanding and skill at causing a slight bend both ways would also be better at hitting his regular shot right in the middle of that?

 

I consider "shaping" to pretty much be having the ability to bend it slightly more or less in the area around my 'stock' shot.  Major curving?  that's a different animal that I'm not yet ready to take on....but if I did, I think I'd learn things that would make me better at my normal game anyway.

 

Let's try some analogies - 

  • My "stock" SW Pitch is a regular grip and a 1/4 swing (see the pitching thread, it's a good one) and it's a nice 30 yard flight - I mess with choking up, I mess with 1/4 and 1/2 swings to learn to pitch - as a result, my "stock" 30 yard pitch with my SW is much more consistent because I know how much a slightly bigger or slightly smaller swing affects my shot - I know how much a more or less choked grip affects my shot.  Heck, I might even mess with how much I open and close the face of the club.  (In fact, I now have a "stock" 20 yard shot and a "stock" 40 yard shot...c3_clap.gif)
  • My "stock" 8i shot goes a nice 150 yards?  Yet, from messing around and trying to hit 145 and 155 on purpose, I am much more confident that when I am at 150 yards, I can get very close.
  • etc etc ad nauseum

 

I'm just playing with the swing and trying to learn more to tighten the sigma.....i.e., suck less at this frustrating sport

 

Granted, I think shaping a shot is a lot more involved than messing with length and uplofting and downlofting.  But playing around with it has taught me so much about my swing.  Even if I hope to avoid having to apply it.....

I'm assuming you are talking about on the range?  I do that too.  It's definitely fun to tinker around to try and learn more, and like your analogies suggest, maybe even accidentally find something useful.  Heck, this weekend on the range, just for kooks, I was hitting drivers that were not getting more than 15 feet off the ground.  These were absolute rockets that were going just as far as my regular drives (although if I tried it on a course with lush fairways, they probably wouldn't) and were fun as heck.  Not terribly useful unless I play into howling winds on courses with hard ground (I don't).  But fun nevertheless.

 

The bottom line, though, for me at least, is that for the most part, I'm trying to make my swing as consistent as possible and make it do the same thing every time.

post #30 of 63
Well I couldnt get the vote/poll to work for me--think my browser is old but anyway, I would have voted more than 50%, but let me qualify that. As Sam Snead said, you gotta dance with who you brung. My natural shot lately with most clubs is a draw, so I play that most of the time. I set up for it and aim for it and most of the time that is what I hit. I have always thought a dead straight ball is the hardest to hit because every thing must be perfect. I can occasionally pull off the cut with a driver, and sometimes with a hybrid when I am between clubs and want to hit the longer club. I can pull this off as planned may 30-40% of the time, but I only use it when my stock shot just wouldn't be adequate. I was at a driving range once and some people were standing in awe at my shots with a driver. LOL, no matter how bad you are, there is always somebody worse! At this time in my life and with the driver I was using, my natural shot was about a 5-6 yard fade and I set up and played it. These people watching my drives said I don't see how you hit it that straight LOL. So work the ball, if you mean to I try to work it 4 yards vs 8 yards, then almost never. But if you mean how often do I plan for and intentionally set up for a draw or something other than a dead straight shot, almost 100% of the time on full shots.
post #31 of 63
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

 

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.

 

Here is the QUOTE from Erik about Kenny Perry. Funny you should mention it I have used that story numerous times, its funny.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by clearwaterms View Post

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/

 

 

Bingo! I think you hit the nail on the head. I am not making fun of 10 handicaps, because I used to be one, but unless you are the world's worst putter and average 45 putts a round, you are not a good enough ball striker to be working the ball. I mean get real, I'm not a good enough ball striker to be attempting to work the ball all the time. I just think you're kidding yourself; and probably hurting your game.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hendog View Post

I work the ball on just about every shot with the only exception being layups where it doesn't matter although even then I may alter the shape to get the desired length (if I want it to roll out I may hit a little draw, if I want it to stop at a certain distance I hit a high fade). I play blades (I consider them blades at least) explicitly to work the ball.

 

 

Okay here we go...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hendog View Post


 

I don't know how to hit it "straight". I do know how to draw it or fade it. So if I am thinking about a nice fade, I can set up and execute that. Same with a draw. If I try to just hit it straight its like I am just trying to not mess up with no specific plan. That's just me though. Everyone is different.

 

 

 

And your a 9 handicap? I would expect someone with that much clubhead control to be a +3 at least.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hendog View Post


 

My stock shot now is a fade. I hit it most of the time. It stops faster and at least for me is more controllable.

 

 

 

Then you don't work the ball most of the time. If hitting a fade is working the ball I need to change my answer in the poll because I hit a fade 95% of the time.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hendog View Post

 

 I would say that my ability to work the ball is a big reason I am where I am because I have so many more options and can play just about any hole on any course since I am not stuck hitting one type of shot. 

 

 

 

Probably so, but not for the same reason.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by hendog View Post

 

 

Again this is what works for me and I am not prescribing this to everyone. Simply telling my story.

 

I am picking on you and I apologize, but you are exactly the person I was talking about when I when I started this thread. To each their own, but I just don't think there is a 9 handicap on this earth that has the clubhead control to work every shot. I certainly wish you the best in your endeavors. You are just an unlucky soul that you were the first mid handicap to answer "most of the time"

post #32 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbuck View Post

Well I couldnt get the vote/poll to work for me--think my browser is old but anyway, I would have voted more than 50%, but let me qualify that. As Sam Snead said, you gotta dance with who you brung. My natural shot lately with most clubs is a draw, so I play that most of the time. I set up for it and aim for it and most of the time that is what I hit. I have always thought a dead straight ball is the hardest to hit because every thing must be perfect. I can occasionally pull off the cut with a driver, and sometimes with a hybrid when I am between clubs and want to hit the longer club. I can pull this off as planned may 30-40% of the time, but I only use it when my stock shot just wouldn't be adequate. I was at a driving range once and some people were standing in awe at my shots with a driver. LOL, no matter how bad you are, there is always somebody worse! At this time in my life and with the driver I was using, my natural shot was about a 5-6 yard fade and I set up and played it. These people watching my drives said I don't see how you hit it that straight LOL. So work the ball, if you mean to I try to work it 4 yards vs 8 yards, then almost never. But if you mean how often do I plan for and intentionally set up for a draw or something other than a dead straight shot, almost 100% of the time on full shots.

Then if you voted in the poll, you're answer would have to be C or D (depending on whether or not you like to try and curve it around trees) because you hit your stock shot "almost 100% of the time." :)

post #33 of 63
I work the ball on every shot outside 100 yards... What was once considered a slice is now my controlled fade... when it behaves. I haven't hit a ball straight in a few years!
post #34 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by indyvai View Post

I work the ball on every shot outside 100 yards... What was once considered a slice is now my controlled fade... when it behaves. I haven't hit a ball straight in a few years!

In this context, working the ball does not mean "to not hit it straight."  It means, do you hit a draw one shot, then try to hit a fade the next, then a hook the next, then another draw, etc, etc.  Hitting your "stock shot" most the time, whether it be a draw or fade, is the way most of us should be doing it.

post #35 of 63
Thread Starter 

I think I see the issue. Working the ball means intentionally hitting the ball both ways on purpose. To manipulate something in your swing to make the ball curve one way or another. Very, very, few, if any, players hit the ball straight most of the time. Anyone with a grooved swing has some type of "stock" shot. If you hit that stock shot whether it be a draw or a fade then you are NOT working the ball. My normal "stock" shot is a little fade. I do not have to try to hit it. If a pin is on the right side of a green I can aim at the center and take my normal swing. I don't have to manipulate anything and most of the time it will fade at the pin.

post #36 of 63

I'm with golfingdad and cipher.  Out on the course I'm almost 100% of the time trying to hit the ball straight, managing my shots knowing that my ball tends to end up right of where I'm aiming if I don't hit the shot I'm trying to (straight-fade, push, or push-fade/slice in the worst case).   As my natural shape tends towards the fade, if I'm really feeling it that day I'll sometimes try to hit a power fade off the tee on a hard dog-leg right even if it's not strictly necessarily.  I'm much less consistent with a draw, so even on dog leg lefts I still just try to hit it straight and accept that I'll be a bit farther from the green than if I could consistently call upon a controllable draw off the tee with a long club.

 

I only consistently try to shape the ball when I'm stuck behind something and I'm forced to.  Even then, if I need to hit a big fade/slice I'll often go for it, depending on the layout around the green I'm going for and how much I need to bend it, but when I need to draw/hook around an obstacle I'll only go for it if it won't be disastrous if I end up hitting it basically straight, or if there isn't any protection in front of the green and I can hit a punch draw and run it up on the green.  I'm much more confident and consistent with the shape on a low runner than a regular trajectory shot.

 

As Erik likes to note, even the pros hit their stock shape the vast vast majority of the time.  I think people just think being able to control shape is really cool and makes them a "real" golfer so chase that ability and talk it up.  I'd love to have consistent control over at least six different full length shots with each club: high or low trajectory, draw, straight, or fade shape.  It would be fun to have them all equally consistent and sit at each tee thinking, "low fade with the driver gets run out on the hard fairway and keeps it closest to the green, then high draw plays away from the right trap and into the pin on the left and has less risk of running off the back of the quick green".  But I'm just not that good and don't have time to practice 6 hours a day to get close to that.  So I'll settle for working towards being consistent with my stock straight, straight-fade shot.

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