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Thoughts on Shot Shaping?

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I was curious to take other's thoughts about how they approach a hole with a slight dogleg.  Holes that obviously call for a draw or fade.  I tend to have a natural fade to my ball so I will usually play on the right side to let it go straight or fade over and generally take out the right side of the course as often as I can(remember I'm a lefty)

Below as example: If I was a Righty, I would still be aiming at tree line to let my fade to over or if I hit it straight I'm ok.  I normally wouldn't be going for the draw here.

image.png.0a53b80d999c1604512fccbde44f8e6c.png

If I have to play a draw, I usually can shape it without much difficulty, but usually have trouble knowing how much it will turn over since that's not my natural shape.

Also would be curious on straighter holes, what are you thoughts.  Play down a certain side of the fairway to play your natural shape?  Pick a spot and try to hit a straight ball?  What has worked for you?

I've heard a lot of instructors with differing thoughts that make sense to me.  If you can't break 80 by hitting it straight, you shouldn't be trying to shape it very often.  Others will say the higher percentage is to have a shape in mind (rather than straight) to take a side of the hole out of play.  Jack Nicklaus used to approach tough driving holes by aiming down the same side of OB and fading/drawing away from it dependent on what was needed.

Part of my ask on this was that I played with my boss the other day and he is probably a 36+ handicap that hardly plays and has a Wilson Box set that has "mid trajectory senior shaft" that are graphite and obviously not right for his game by any stretch (he is a 45 y/o former hockey player).  But, he did not think about these things whatsoever.  He would just aim down the middle or at the pin.  I talked a bit about course strategy and had him playing left of greens for his push fade/slice and he ended with a 102 that could have easily been a 95.

 

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@juspoole I am a righty, but my natural shot shape is like yours, a fade. For the hole you referenced above, I’d start it over the trees closest to the fairway and let it fade back into the fairway. I’d also make sure that if I happen to hit it straighter than normal that I wouldn’t leave myself deep in the woods, but rather left rough at worst. The tough part is committing to the shot. You are basically hitting over trouble and praying the ball does what you want it to. 
 

I have not practiced enough with hitting draws when I need to. Usually when I am forced to hit a draw on the course I either block it or hit a drawing worm burner. I tend to just stick to my fade shot and work with what I got on each shot.

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This hole would be a green light for me to bomb a fade with my driver. I’d aim center fairway and let it bleed left, assuming I wouldn’t blow through the fairway if it stayed straight. If I felt driver was too long, I’d go 3w but aim at the left corner of the fairway since I tend to draw my 3w. If that was too much club, I’d play my draw off the left again but with my hybrid. Distance, shape, and how I’m playing at the time are the factors I look at.

I always have a shape in mind. I know as a 20 handicap my opinion doesn’t carry much weight but I can’t swing freely, physically or mentally, without some sort of picture in my head of shape and the triggers that go with it. I have to feel something in my swing that tells me the ball is going one way. Otherwise I make an uneasy, tight swing with no idea where the ball may go.


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What is the distance to the green? Distance to carry the trees on the left edge of the fairway? Distance through the fairway, down the middle, to the trees?
All depends on the answer to those. If the trees are “carry-able”, I’m going right over the top with a slight fade, knowing if it fades more I’m good, and if I double-cross I’m good. If the hole is less than 400 yards, and dead center of the fairway past the trees on the left is 150 or less, I’m hitting fairway metal/hybrid/4 iron to a distance I like for my wedge into the green.

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When I try to play a draw here, 8 out of 10 I'll end up overturning it and ending in the trees to the left (distances here are meters, so add 10% for yards)

I now tee off with a 4i and try to leave the ball left of the bunkers for a longer approach with my usual fade.

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When I try to play a draw here, 8 out of 10 I'll end up overturning it and ending in the trees to the left (distances here are meters, so add 10% for yards)
I now tee off with a 4i and try to leave the ball left of the bunkers for a longer approach with my usual fade.
image.png.321ddc8d5dbdfd3a832219910ce1672b.png

Yeah, I’d play my 3 hybrid, maybe 4 iron, toward the trap that would be 240 from the black tees, leaving me between 100 & 150 in.


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I grew up playing on a cornfield course. Not many trees and most of the holes were right on top of each other.

Driving accuracy didn’t matter except for 3-4 holes.

The rough was just hard pan mashed down weeds, so the lies were usually thin and easy to pick clean.

When I first started playing I hit only fades, mostly due to some poor instruction from my dads friend.

When I picked golf up again a few years back I told myself I wanted to hit only draws. Believe it or not, all of my old swing habits from hitting fades/slices all my life were still there.

I completely messed up a nice controlled fade swing to get the draw going....

Now here I am looking to forget all the draw stuff I learned.

For the example hole you have there if there was room off the tee I would aim for over top of those trees on the left side of the fairway and hit a high fade. If not, I’d probably try to scuttle a little hook 3/4 iron off the center of the fairway.

For the second hole that Kanoito has there for us, I’d just play a 2 hybrid, it usually draws a smidge.

But, whenever I get back out there I’m going Trevino style first round. Eliminate that left side of the course.

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I don't worry about it. I hit draws and bombs. I'll back off and play to the corner if a hole doesn't fit my shape.

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7 hours ago, juspoole said:

I was curious to take other's thoughts about how they approach a hole with a slight dogleg.  Holes that obviously call for a draw or fade.  I tend to have a natural fade to my ball so I will usually play on the right side to let it go straight or fade over and generally take out the right side of the course as often as I can(remember I'm a lefty)

Below as example: If I was a Righty, I would still be aiming at tree line to let my fade to over or if I hit it straight I'm ok.  I normally wouldn't be going for the draw here.

image.png.0a53b80d999c1604512fccbde44f8e6c.png

If I have to play a draw, I usually can shape it without much difficulty, but usually have trouble knowing how much it will turn over since that's not my natural shape.

Also would be curious on straighter holes, what are you thoughts.  Play down a certain side of the fairway to play your natural shape?  Pick a spot and try to hit a straight ball?  What has worked for you?

I've heard a lot of instructors with differing thoughts that make sense to me.  If you can't break 80 by hitting it straight, you shouldn't be trying to shape it very often.  Others will say the higher percentage is to have a shape in mind (rather than straight) to take a side of the hole out of play.  Jack Nicklaus used to approach tough driving holes by aiming down the same side of OB and fading/drawing away from it dependent on what was needed.

Part of my ask on this was that I played with my boss the other day and he is probably a 36+ handicap that hardly plays and has a Wilson Box set that has "mid trajectory senior shaft" that are graphite and obviously not right for his game by any stretch (he is a 45 y/o former hockey player).  But, he did not think about these things whatsoever.  He would just aim down the middle or at the pin.  I talked a bit about course strategy and had him playing left of greens for his push fade/slice and he ended with a 102 that could have easily been a 95.

 

I also have a light fade. If I come up to a draw bias hole I’m laying up. Take aim at open area and take my medicine. Not sure if I will ever have that shot in my bag (planned shot anyway)


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I have a natural draw so for the hole mentioned above I would hit whatever club needed to set myself up with the yardage I wanted. If I have to fade it, I have no problem with doing that either. I can control either shot, the only thing keeping me from shooting lower than high 70's is inconsistent wedge play and putting.

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Generally I’ll play my straight/fade shot (or whatever shot I brought to the course that day). If I need to shape one it will depend on how well I’m striking it and what club I need to use. I’m pretty comfortable moving my 5 wood left and right. But my driver I try to keep straight or fade. 

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I draw with my irons but I'm more comfortable fading with a driver. That being said, on a dog leg I always aim straight ahead or slightly with the leg because I know the curve will even out with the leg it's dogging too.

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When I’m playing well it’s a straight iron and a slight cut off the driver. Straight is good, fades work and left means I’m all out of whack. 
 

Yes, I can work the ball on command but I’ll take straight all day long. 

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7 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

 I do my best to play that pattern on every possible shot.  

This should be the goal of all golfers. Get really good at one thing! There are very few holes where you can’t get away with playing your normal shape, no matter if it is a fade or a draw. 

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I think playing for your natural shot shape is generally best for most players as shaping the ball on command can be difficult for a lot of people.

One thing you could do to handle for doglegs that don't fit your driver shape is to get a 3 wood or another tee club that you naturally shape the other way. This is what Jon Rahm does. His driver is his fade club and his 3 wood is his draw club.

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On 6/6/2020 at 3:13 PM, DaveP043 said:

I'm a decent player, at a 6 handicap.  I have a straight to gentle draw pattern naturally.  I do my best to play that pattern on every possible shot.  I'm a 6 handicap, and I'm not good enough to hit a controlled fade AND a controlled draw.  I CAN hit it straight to draw most of the time.  

I'm pretty much in the same book and a simular player as Dave. I'm not a high ball hitter so cutting doglegs over trees is a non starter. I'm also not much of a risk taker. Like Dave I can hit a sweeping cut or hook on demand - but usually it's to get out of trouble and my success rate is probably slightly better than 50/50. I like to stick with my stock shot shape 95% of the time. And that makes for a low stress round too.

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For me all depends on how I am feeling that day. Sometimes I'll try to take a corner or two but on the whole I play my stock shot shape and move on. I leave the drawing and fading shots on demand to the pros.

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On 6/6/2020 at 7:16 AM, juspoole said:

I was curious to take other's thoughts about how they approach a hole with a slight dogleg.  Holes that obviously call for a draw or fade.  I tend to have a natural fade to my ball so I will usually play on the right side to let it go straight or fade over and generally take out the right side of the course as often as I can(remember I'm a lefty)

Below as example: If I was a Righty, I would still be aiming at tree line to let my fade to over or if I hit it straight I'm ok.  I normally wouldn't be going for the draw here.

image.png.0a53b80d999c1604512fccbde44f8e6c.png

If I have to play a draw, I usually can shape it without much difficulty, but usually have trouble knowing how much it will turn over since that's not my natural shape.

Also would be curious on straighter holes, what are you thoughts.  Play down a certain side of the fairway to play your natural shape?  Pick a spot and try to hit a straight ball?  What has worked for you?

I've heard a lot of instructors with differing thoughts that make sense to me.  If you can't break 80 by hitting it straight, you shouldn't be trying to shape it very often.  Others will say the higher percentage is to have a shape in mind (rather than straight) to take a side of the hole out of play.  Jack Nicklaus used to approach tough driving holes by aiming down the same side of OB and fading/drawing away from it dependent on what was needed.

Part of my ask on this was that I played with my boss the other day and he is probably a 36+ handicap that hardly plays and has a Wilson Box set that has "mid trajectory senior shaft" that are graphite and obviously not right for his game by any stretch (he is a 45 y/o former hockey player).  But, he did not think about these things whatsoever.  He would just aim down the middle or at the pin.  I talked a bit about course strategy and had him playing left of greens for his push fade/slice and he ended with a 102 that could have easily been a 95.

 

What I glean from your question is more about course management than shot shape. 

If you can reliably shape the ball to put it in the short grass/on the green then do it. 

However, like most golfers who can't better scores can be had my taking away big misses. Laying up, not trying to cut corners, and not trying to shape shots will a lot of times result in no worse than bogey if you keep it on the short grass. 

Breaking 80 is 6 greens in reg with 2 putt pars, 6 up and downs for par (chip and 1 putt), and 6 missed greens with a chip and 2 putts for bogey. 

All that said, I shape shots, but mostly by accident. 

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Breaking 80 is 6 greens in reg with 2 putt pars, 6 up and downs for par (chip and 1 putt), and 6 missed greens with a chip and 2 putts for bogey. 


While statistically true not sure 50% up and down rate is very sustainable over time. Probably closer to 30%.
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