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Working on Deliberately Shaping the Ball - An Effective Practice Technique?


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At the range over the last month or so, I've moved away from scrape and hit to spending quite a bit of time actively trying to shape shots at will. For years I just put the ball down and tried to hit to a target. Where as now I'm trying to produce a particular shot pattern by altering my path, face angle and stance. I am hoping on building a greater conscious awareness of being able to manipulate path and face angle at will. Its definitely helped me gain a greater understanding of ball flight laws, and how the shape of shot relates to these.

When it comes to playing, I'm still yet to tee up the ball and decide to deliberately attempt a shot that is not my natural draw with my driver, but I hope that this form of practice enables me to diagnose the cause of a particular problem pattern and correct on the run. For example, I'm prone to hooking the ball so if I see this pattern on the course I know I need to open the face a little and neutralise my path. 

I got this idea of practice for Jon Sherman's Four Foundations of Golf book.

Anyone else like to incorporate a lot of shot shaping into their practice?

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It's better than just hitting balls toward a target somewhat mindlessly, sure.

But you should still generally play one shot shape, your dominant one, when playing golf. The times when you should try a different shape are few and far between, and generally, you must be forced into it, not go there willingly.

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I don’t practice shaping shots and usually just play my stock fade, but there are two holes on my “home” course that call for a draw off the tee so that’s what I try to do. All I do is tee the ball a little more forward in my stance and drop my foot back. Sometimes it even works 😃

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Bill

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Practicing with a purpose has merit. Learn how to hit all the shots so you have them if you need them, but your bread and butter will always be your natural shape in most instances. 

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I do this occasionally. 

My stock shot shape is a fade, but I usually take 5-10 balls towards the end of the session and focus on hitting low recovery type shots where I have to slice or hook it quite a bit to simulate being behind a tree or something. I can slice it on command no problem but the hooks take a bit more work, although I am getting better at them.

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1 hour ago, klineka said:

I do this occasionally. 

My stock shot shape is a fade, but I usually take 5-10 balls towards the end of the session and focus on hitting low recovery type shots where I have to slice or hook it quite a bit to simulate being behind a tree or something. I can slice it on command no problem but the hooks take a bit more work, although I am getting better at them.

My stock shape is also a fade, but it’s a push-fade. I can hit a hook for a recovery shot but I can’t hit a slice. Golf is fun 😃

Bill

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” - Confucius

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Practicing path to face manipulation is good for control and just a good skill to have. Knowing, such feel produces such a shot is a good thing to know. When playing golf, 95% of shots are going to be a stock shot. 

We do not practice enough to hit shot shapes consistently enough with enough accurate to warrant playing multiple shot shapes. Most pros play one shot shape. Imagine you hit 500 golf balls a week on a draw. Does 250 on a draw and 250 on a fade now worsen your stock shot of a draw? Do you need to now hit 1000 golf balls a week to hit a fade just as good as your draw? 

I rather spend my time tuning in a stock shot knowing I rarely need to work the ball the other way. 

 

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(edited)

Had a really good round with the driver yesterday. I was facing a cross breeze and on a few tee shots I made the conscious move to neutralise my path a little to counter a strong breeze off the right and my 'natural' over-draw. Was thrilled in being able to do this as its something I have never even attempted, and it gave me a couple more fairways hit.

I didnt move away from my natural shot shape with any approaches, but just understanding why the ball is shaping the way it is gave me more confidence. On the par 3's I was angling the face away from the target and just ensuring I was hitting with an in to out path to bring the ball back, whereas before it would be a case of putting the ball down and 'hoping' Id hit it ok.

Edited by Andy Capped
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