There are many, many different ways to control the shape of a golf shot, yet none quite as reliable as the method I have outlined below.
This formula works off the fact that most golfers spend hours trying to make their golf swing as consistent as possible. If you spend all that time ‘grooving’ your swing why, when you need to shape a shot, do you employ a totally different golf swing from the one you worked so hard on?
Do you remember your mother saying, “Two wrongs don’t make a right!” ?
Well, for shot shaping, three rights make a left! And three lefts make a right. Keep in mind that whether you are a lefty or righty the formula works the same. Here’s the explanation:
To curve the ball to the right
- Aim your body and club face to the left; the direction you would like the ball to start.
- Move the ball position to the left in your stance. (As you view the ball)
- Rotate both hands to your left on the grip of the club. This should be done in a subtle fashion.
Once you are set and ready to fire; make the same swing that you are accustomed to making and the ball should launch in the intended direction and curve to the right.
To curve the ball to the left
- Aim your body and the club face to the right of your target.
- Shift the ball to the right in your stance
- Rotate both hands slightly to the right on the grip.
With a little practice you will start to get a sense for how much the ball position or grip needs to be altered in order to produce the desired result.
Regardless of whether you are a Tour golfer or a beginner, shot shaping is a necessary component to controlling your golf ball. If it’s simply a hook to find your way back into play or a soft little cut 6-iron into that front right pin position shot shaping is something you need in your ‘bag’.
If you have any thoughts or ideas on shaping the ball please feel free to let me know or post them here.
Correct foot action throughout the golf swing is indicative of a body that is working well. A body that works well will create the opportune space necessary for the arms and the club to get into the slot – the delivery point where the club has virtually no choice but to do the right thing through impact.
Here is breakdown of what to look for:
As the club gets into the delivery position the outside of the back foot raises up off the ground – it banks in towards the target. The heel should not be coming off the ground at this point. The foot works in this fashion due to the forward, sliding/driving motion in the hips.
At impact the heel should start to roll off the ground due to the fact that the hips have driven just about as far forward as they can and now they have started to rotate. It is this rotation, and only this rotation, that gets the heel to begin ascending.
Into the finish the foot is fully rolled up onto the toe due to the hips having fully rotated to the target. Because the hips drive to the target to start the downswing and rotate to the target to finish the swing the heel on the back foot will never move away from the target.
Here is a very good drill to give any golfer a greater awareness of what the feet are doing throughout the swing. This drill will not only improve your footwork, but also improve how you shift and transfer your weight throughout the swing.
If executed correctly the finish should look like this with the bottle still standing due to the proper “bank and roll” action of the back foot.
Right Foot Action in Golf Swing by John Hoskison
Home | Swing Catalyst The premier software to track foot action!
Ben Hogan once said that he despised any ball flight that curved from right to left (a draw!). Having been a chronic hooker of the ball in the early part of his career he knew what it was like to lose shots to the left. It wasn’t until he found a way to overcome the dreaded flip through impact that the legend that is now Ben Hogan was created.
If you too struggle with untimely hooks and occasional blocks, you fully comprehend what Mr. Hogan had to overcome. Flippers have to rely on timing to make their shots go straight – the timing of the hand action through impact determines the outcome of each shot. And when impact between ball and face lasts for approximately 1/2000 of a second it’s not that easy to be consistent – especially under pressure! The better you play, the greater your anxiety level, the less you control the timing of the flip – not a good recipe for low scores when it counts.
Having studied the swings of Hogan and Snead I found that when viewed from down the line it appears that the clubhead and ball seem to disperse aggressively post-impact. The clubhead moves quickly back inside the target line, while the ball launches straight. It almost appears as if they are trying to hit slices, yet the ball flight is very straight.
Watch the following video to get a sense of what to feel while doing the Anti-Flip Drill:
To practice the drill you will need the following:
- Two alignment rods – one on the ground just outside the ball and another in the ground just inside the target line and 18-24 inches forward of the ball. Be sure that the one in the ground is leaning away from you (towards the target).
- A 7 iron with the ball teed up so you can make sure it is in the same location relative to the rod in the ground each time.
- Start small and slow, making sure you swing inside the rod with the clubhead and keep the face square to open thus launching the ball to the right of the rod.
- Patience! Give it a few goes and you’ll start to get the feel. Feel the clubhead and ball dispersing – one goes left and the other goes right. Remember that you have not been doing this “naturally” and that’s why it feels so strange and “incorrect”.
Here is the drill demonstrated in slow motion:
Here’s another good drill to help you overcome the flips:
How to Stop Flipping – Bucket Drill » John Graham Golf
A common complaint I hear from golfers is that their swings are too fast or aggressive. They just have a sense that they are quick either in the transition or the downswing.
Rhythm and pace are very important elements in the golf swing. When a golfer feels quick the first thing they do is try to ‘slow down’…and in an attempt to get some rhythm in the swing they often go overboard and end up slowing everything down a little too much. This can lead to an overly slow start to the swing, which in turn leads to a rapid change in pace during the transition and on into impact. It is this drastic change in speed that conveys the sense of quickness and aggression in the swing.
The PGATour average time for the backswing is right around 0.75 seconds, with an additional 0.25 seconds for the downswing. Notice that ideally there should be something close to a 3:1 ratio of backswing time vs. downswing time. That means that on average a Tour golfer will strike the ball in about a second from when the swing starts. Ernie Els, one of the smoothest swings out there, takes just over a second to strike the ball while Nick Price, who has one of the faster swings, takes around 0.8 seconds. Far too many of golfers I teach take well over a second to complete just the backswing. In watching Els or even Price, most golfers believe they swing a whole lot faster than either of those two top players – that is not the case.
Each of the above golfers are able to maintain a good rhythm in their swing because they maintain something close to a 3:1 ratio in their swings. When a backswing takes over a second to complete the golfer is now faced with a 4:1 or even 5:1 ratio which feels way out of rhythm.
Here are a few pointers when trying to get better rhythm and pace back into your swing:
- Don’t try to speed up your backswing up too quickly – take one pill a day and not the whole bottle…
- The body should not feel hurried; the wrists and arms will create much of the necessary increase in speed.
- Try a few shots with the clubhead starting 2-3 feet ahead of the ball and then flow into the backswing in one motion. This gives the club a moving start and gradually increases the pace.
- Remember that rhythm does not have to be slow…
- Stay patient and gradually build up to it; try to build the speed in your downswing from the transition.
There are not many ways to track your timing ratio, but SwingCatalyst software does it for you.
Another factor to consider is that the less time your swing takes the less opportunity you have to get your body out of position. This is a very important factor and cannot be overlooked – keep the motion concise and it is more likely to be consistent. Give it a try….
I recently stumbled onto an interesting tidbit whilst working with a young professional on his wedge game. It was early in the morning and we had been hitting beautiful 50 yard pitches the afternoon before and suddenly he could not get the ball to launch low enough with the spin rate he had been generating the day before. Now as you may know I’ve tested almost all there is to test in regards to a 50 yard wedge shot and of course I had looked into the effect of water interfering with the friction between the face and the ball. One problem – I had tested a wet club striking a dry ball. My results from the earlier test showed very little difference in launch and spin when there was water involved and I had since adopted that belief.
As I watched the young pro struggle to lower his launch in the morning dew it came to me – there was a difference between a wet club striking a dry ball and a dry club striking a wet ball! I had to run the test again.
I had to be very careful with the test in that I needed to use the same club, my 54 degree sand wedge, in very controlled conditions, with golf balls that were consistent. I used brand new Titleist NXT Tour golf balls and made sure that I cleaned the grooves and clubface off between each shot. I attempted to hit each shot to carry 50 yards flat and hit eight shots for each portion of the test. I removed the two shots that had the lowest spin from each portion. With the help of my TrackMan here are the results:
Wet club and dry ball:
- Launch angle was 27.8 degrees
- Spin rate was 5463 rpm
- Height was 26.5 feet
Dry club and wet ball:
- Launch angle was 30.1 degrees
- Spin rate was 5291 rpm
- Height was 28.4 feet
Dry club and dry ball:
- Launch angle was 25.4 degrees
- Spin rate was 6603 rpm
- Height was 21.2 feet
The interesting thing in looking at the trajectory chart is how much lower the dry club and dry ball (purple) shots flew. Clearly there was more friction between the face and ball which led to a lower launch with substantially more spin. The dry club and wet ball (yellow) sample flew the highest as the water on the ball greatly decreased friction which led to higher launch, due to slippage and thus decreased spin – certainly not the optimal shot.
The interesting thing when comparing the wet club/dry ball versus the dry club/wet ball results was that the spin and launch were better when the BALL was dry. This was due to the water being forced off the clubhead and into the groove channels during the motion of the swing. Not to mention that the air dried the face during the swing too.
Moral of the story – always clean the clubface (unless it has sand on it) and dry the club and ball when possible. If you happen to have an early morning tee time and you’re a dew sweeper, don’t plan on hitting any low spinners! The drier the ball and club, the better the friction and the better the quality of shots you will hit.
Please read my first two articles on wedges and pitching: