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Is shaping the ball overrated


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Originally Posted by logman

Just following on from the "ball flight laws"thread. When I first started learning the game, i went through all stages of development like learning why I'm suddenly slicing, ooops there's a duck hook. ya know all that basic stuff about your swing and then my coach decided one day to try to teach me the value of shaping my shots into the green. And yep I believed him. It took me too many years to work out that shaping is a wank........unless your game is that complete and that polished that adding shaping is icing on the cake .....I'm talking competition winning pros.....anyone else don;'t bother. The problem I reckon is people see pro's doing it and they think it's another hurdle that must be jumped in order to to go to some next level of golf. Pros have got alot to answer to I reckon. Ordinary folks, you know like most golfers on this forum shouldn't be trying alot things that the pros use. Here's a couple to kick off. Driver lofts: how many punters like me are trying to hit 8,9,or 10.5 drivers. That's a joke, most peeps would hit a 14 or 16 degree driver the same length as their Pro style driver .....and improve their fairway position immensely......improve their score......enjoy their game more. OK another one....... 60 and 64 degree wedges. That's insane!!! just because Darren Clarke's got a 60 degree in his bag doe not mean hackers like us should even think about it. Golfers should be realistic, and use the equipment and techniques that will make our games better...



I don't agree necessarily. For the driver loft thing, there are people who balloon higher lofted drivers, and the driver loft should be fitted on angle of attack first, then swing speed, and finally preference. A low lofted driver will roll more, have a higher ball speed, and spin less, though it's easier to put sidespin on it and harder to launch. If you hit on the upswing, you can get away with pretty low loft and vice versa.

The 60 degree wedge thing is partly wannabes trying to look good, but you'd have to be a nincompoop not to be able to use one. People who can really use a 56 degree will have no problem with a 60 or 62. The thing is, most people don't have any clue how to hit the shots they're meant for, and they aren't meant for hitting full shots necessarily.

Getting to the shaping business, I'd say it's important for a lot of reasons. For one thing, controlling the ball flight high and low is completely crucial to scoring really low. Shaping it left and right is also useful, but not as important. Hitting a completely straight ball is almost never done, and most courses punish a straight ball more than a draw or fade. However, I'll agree that being able to hit both draws and fades on demand is very tough to do consistently and generally only very good players have the ability to make it work.

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the only time I want to hit a ball left to right is when I'm in a tree line. I pulled that shot off on Monday...a nice 5-10 yard fade that went back inside the tree line and actually hit the green...I

Learning to shape the shot isn't as important as knowing what your natural shot shape is IMO. For myself I used to hit a draw  all the time. I've been working on trying to get to a natural cut so I ca

I tried chippers when they first came out. I was just as consistent chipping with irons and a chipper was useless from trouble lies. The fact they're seen as hacker gear really didn't enter the pictur



Originally Posted by LuciusWooding

Getting to the shaping business, I'd say it's important for a lot of reasons. For one thing, controlling the ball flight high and low is completely crucial to scoring really low. Shaping it left and right is also useful, but not as important. Hitting a completely straight ball is almost never done, and most courses punish a straight ball more than a draw or fade. However, I'll agree that being able to hit both draws and fades on demand is very tough to do consistently and generally only very good players have the ability to make it work.


Do you need to update your handicap or are you just talking out of you . . . . hat.

Any time spent on trying to learn to shape the ball would be much more profitably spent on learning solid contact sand the short game for a 13-capper, let alone a 30-capper.

Things that "only very good players" can do successfully are not "important for a lot of reasons".

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I always like/liked straight. I never try to hit a draw, cut, fade, hook, "insert favorite term".  For me, doing anything more, but trying to hit it straight, has been overtly active which causes undue error for the most part.

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Shaping in the sense of hitting a consistent fade or draw instead of dead straight is, highly UNDERRATED.  You have more room for error when you can aim for one edge of the green/fairway and know its going to curve the other way to some degree.  You get to "eliminate one side of the course" and use the whole fairway instead of just half.

But, I assume you are talking about switching it up shot to shot, which is definitely overrated ... stick with whatever you can repeat the most, and don't "try to get too cute."

That's only in theory of course, because my preferred shot shape currently is "erratic."  In the words of Crash Davis ... "I don't know where its gonna go, swear to god."

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Originally Posted by turtleback

Do you need to update your handicap or are you just talking out of you . . . . hat.

Any time spent on trying to learn to shape the ball would be much more profitably spent on learning solid contact sand the short game for a 13-capper, let alone a 30-capper.

Things that "only very good players" can do successfully are not "important for a lot of reasons".



As it happens, a 30 handicap doesn't reflect where my game is right now, but I'd rather actually play a few rounds this year than just put up a random number. It's amazing how most of the people on the site don't really look at the handicap entry and judge a person based on what they say, but some equate a high number there to being a complete retard.

There are golfers of many different handicaps who have different skill levels in certain aspects of the game. Learning to shape the ball like a pro can, knowing the distance control and having really good control over the trajectory are the result of experience and a lot of range time. As a result, it's unlikely for a player who really puts in that kind of time to suck badly enough at other aspects to merit a high handicap. You can get around a lot of courses by playing simple golf, but there are courses like Bethpage Black that require shaping one's drives both ways throughout and have a tremendous amount of trouble waiting for a poor shot.

Understanding how to shape the ball and how it flies is important to learning the game. Being able to troubleshoot a swing or remove a certain miss from play is a big part of strategy, which can be less important in an amateur's game than a pro's game, where the courses often leave little margin for error.

Being able to control the ball, providing you hit it where you aim, requires control of several variables; distance control, trajectory control, spin control, and shot shape. I'd say the importance of those factors is about in that order. There are a lot of situations, however, where hitting a non standard shot shape can give you a lot more margin for error in the other categories, but a straight ball or your standard shape will require a nearly impossible shot.

Learning to shape the ball is something I'd teach a lifetime golfer who plans on getting good. If my goal was to help some goon quickly shoot 90 without having to practice much, contact drills, consistency, and fitting forgiving clubs would be the priority, along with some basic short game and putting. Personally, I prefer to learn how to shape the ball because I like understanding how to do it and why I hit a bad shot. I might not do it on a lot of occasions, but it's something that will help my creativity and shotmaking skills develop in the long term. I have more trouble with altering my distance, height, and spin control than I do with my shot shape. Also, hitting the same shot too often gets quite boring, to be honest. I like courses that I can hit every club in my bag, and I like hitting a variety of shots. A lot of people suggest playing with just a few clubs, teeing off with a 7 iron, and playing old man golf to break 90. To me, hitting a challenging shot and getting it to work as planned is the main thrill in this game.

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Controling trajectory is more important than turning the ball left or right, but for me, I shape the ball consistantly right to left by a couple yards, nothing even close to Bubba-Like,,lol. That is my strength and that is what I want to hit every chance I get, it's what I do best. As far as shaping it left and right to get to flag sticks for those that can pull it off it becomes a matter of risk/reward. I can turn the ball left to right but I don't have near the control with it as I do going right to left.

For right hand flag positions I would rather aim at the right edge of the green and take a little off it than trying to shape a cut in there. If I hit it dead straight I still have a decent putt from the edge of the green, if I hit a normal baby draw then I may have a 20 footer and easy par, and if I pull it off I have a short birdie putt. On the other hand if I try to fade it in there and overdue it I've short sided myself with a tough up and down. If I double cross it trying to hit a fade now I'm all the way on the other side of the green with a really long putt or chip. And if I get lucky with the fade and pull it off I'll have a short birdie putt.

So with my stock draw I get two shots at birdie or a reasonable two putt par, with the fade I get one good shot at birdie or two difficult up and downs to save par. The percentages say go with the stock shot whenever possible and you will score lower.

That's just one example, there are so many other factors that can come into play. But anyway, controlling trajectory, especially with the wedge and short irons can really improve your scoring. I see a lot of mistakes with guy's hitting wedges downwind. They will jack it way up in the air thinking they will get it to land soft, but what actually happens is the wind grabs it, carries it well beyond their intended landing spot, and it rolls out. I keep the ball much lower making it easier to hit my intended landing area and the ball will take a couple hops forward and quietly release towards the hole.

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the only time I want to hit a ball left to right is when I'm in a tree line. I pulled that shot off on Monday...a nice 5-10 yard fade that went back inside the tree line and actually hit the green...I had to pat myself on the back..lol.

My normal shot is a pretty high draw(have always hit the ball higher than "average") and its the only thing I consistently play.

Being ABLE to shape the ball and doing it all the time are two different things.  As an amateur, I don't try to fade a ball into right side pins because my success rate is too low.  I'll hit my normal shot and either it will go pretty straight and I'm on the flag or it'll move left and I'm putting.  To me, being on the green in regulation is much more valuable than attacking pins all day.

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Originally Posted by Paradox

Being ABLE to shape the ball and doing it all the time are two different things.  As an amateur, I don't try to fade a ball into right side pins because my success rate is too low.  I'll hit my normal shot and either it will go pretty straight and I'm on the flag or it'll move left and I'm putting.  To me, being on the green in regulation is much more valuable than attacking pins all day.


This is an excellent post.  I've been playing golf for a long time, and I'd like to think I'm pretty good at it.  I can hit draws and fades.  However, my success rate at hitting the perfect shot that I'm rehearsing in my mind, if it's different from my normal "stock" shot, is probably 50%.  When I'm trying to draw the ball into a tight left pin with a 4 or 5 iron, and I miss, I'm usually going to be short-sided or otherwise have a difficult par save.  If I just hit my normal high fade to the middle or right side of the green, I'd be looking at a simple two-putt par.

Shaping shots is really fun, and I'm glad that I can do it.  But I'm certain that I'd score better if I only attempted it a few times a round, and then only when it was a shape I was really comfortable with or in a situation where I really needed to do it.

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I think shaping the ball and controlling trajectory teaches you a lot about your golf swing.  I find it useful to know this information for when my normal tendencies get out of whack and my draw or fade become a hook or slice.  As far as intentionally trying to work the ball both ways on the course, I don't see much benefit to that unless you have everything else figured out.  I haven't played with too many people who see a positive net result from regularly trying to work the ball.

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I can usually hit a fade, or even a slice when I need to - sometimes even when I don't need to.  The fade is my stock shot.  A draw is much harder - more like impossible except on rare occasions.  I can sometimes hit a draw on command when the ball is on a tee or sitting up in the rough, but rarely when it's on a tight lie.  As a result, I play my natural fade most of the time and don't worry about "working" the ball.  I have the fade/slice when I need it to get out of trouble, and if that won't do it, then there is always the pitch out.  My fade has mostly taken care of me for 40 years, so I don't fight it.

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Originally Posted by LuciusWooding

Shaping it left and right is also useful, but not as important. Hitting a completely straight ball is almost never done, and most courses punish a straight ball more than a draw or fade. However, I'll agree that being able to hit both draws and fades on demand is very tough to do consistently and generally only very good players have the ability to make it work.

I respectfull disagree with that.  IMO, being able to shape it left or right is very important because it allows you to hold the ball into the wind, instead of just trying to guess how much the ball will drift in the wind.

I do it all the time and its a nice shot to have in the bag.  Infact, just yesterday I was playing in a wind that was a crosswind on just about every hole and the course had a lot of narrow fairways, so you pretty much had to shape it into the wind because there was room air left or right and let the ball drift.

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Originally Posted by TitleistWI

I respectfull disagree with that.  IMO, being able to shape it left or right is very important because it allows you to hold the ball into the wind, instead of just trying to guess how much the ball will drift in the wind.

I do it all the time and its a nice shot to have in the bag.  Infact, just yesterday I was playing in a wind that was a crosswind on just about every hole and the course had a lot of narrow fairways, so you pretty much had to shape it into the wind because there was room air left or right and let the ball drift.



That's great... but the point was that being able to move a ball left or right is useful except for that the majority of people playing golf can do it consistently. The majority of people playing golf will save strokes by playing their stock shot as oppose to trying to work the ball left or right.

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"Golfers should be realistic, and use the equipment and techniques that will make our games better..."

Righto...and you make many good points in your post...here's a few more:

Hybrid iron sets give the amateur a chance to hit it longer, higher and straighter...cant imagine ever going back to traditional irons sets...

chippers..yes they are legal provided they are not double sided and do not have putter grips affixed to them....they make the game more enjoyable for those of us without a lot of time to practice with hard to hit low percentage wedges....golf snobs be damned ..this past week I holed out two 30 ft plus chips and defeated yet another big ball striking "purist"  LOL

I see guys at the practice greens hitting bag loads of chips with wedges and frankly showing little improvement overall....since none of these guys will be getting tour cards anytime soon wouldnt it make more sense to invest in a good chipper and spend a fraction of that time getting the feel and distance down...I know it would shave a good many strokes off their game, and make them feel good heading out of the parking lot at the end of a round....pure masochism , methinks!   :)

And you're correct about drivers too...I play a 14 degree High Loft Driver ...hit it about as far as I can hit a 10.5 but the difference being I hit the fairway the overwhelming majority of the time...I'll take my 220-240 yards on the shortgrass over 280 in the woods anyday...

No sense in making a hard game more difficult...as for shot shaping....straight is never over estimated...

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I too play a fade ...not by choice but by nature of my swing...however it does shut down one side of the course which is good and I, like you, have  never considered it a big problem either...

there was this guy who made a pretty good living hitting a natural fade ....you might have heard of him...Jack Nicklaus    :)

Cheers

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