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Your Natural vs. Preferred Shot Shape


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3 hours ago, Tsmithjr9 said:

I know you're up on your stuff Dave. Where can I find the numbers about eliminating one side? I don't think it can or should be eliminated, but I do think one can work to improve shot shape and dispersion to cut down their misses on the side they don't want to be on. I happy to pound draws all day everyday, but even on my home course I know there's 3 or 4 holes I need to peel off that fade.

I took the evaluation from Lou Stagner, who references some fairly detailed statistics in the Tweet I linked.  I can't tell you that I've reviewed the detailed statistics myself.

For the record, what I object to is the idea that playing a specific shape will eliminate one side of the course.  I don't believe that actually happens, and some of the stuff that Lou posts backs that up.  As long as your dispersion pattern is somewhat evenly distributed around a center, and you center the dispersion pattern on your target, you're going to miss some left and some right.  The way to (mostly) eliminate trouble on one side is to adjust your aim so that most of your dispersion pattern avoids the major trouble.  Every Shot Counts (Broadie) goes into pretty significant detail on what the statistics show.  Better players, who typically have tighter dispersions, should aim closer to any trouble to produce the lowest long term scoring, by hitting the fairway more often while still keeping shots into trouble to a pretty low frequency.  High handicappers should aim further from the trouble, even into the rough in some circumstances.  It doesn't matter too much which way you curve the ball, unless the roll can get you into trouble.

So there's my preference, I try to hit my most natural shape, because that will get the tightest dispersion.  I then try to aim so that I minimize (but not eliminate) the amount of real trouble I have to deal with while maximizing the advantages of my good shots.

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My typical shot is a fade.  My preferred shot shape is the shape required for that shot.  I dont practice enough to be successful but I am focusing on being able to hit the 9 squares or windows (the drill Tiger uses). Still a long ways away

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Natural shot is a draw from my inside out swing from many years of baseball. Working on a straight/fade to control ball better and be more consistent. 

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On 12/28/2020 at 2:35 PM, MNUte said:

In which case I'd point back to the prior statement that if people are wanting absolutes, they're playing the wrong game.


I would also note that as you said, yours is a personal objection based on what you feel and based on a loose memory of data. But without pointing to the particular data, your mention of data disproving the belief doesn't actually provide evidentiary support. Without knowing the factors that affected the data (e.g. course, weather, extent of pull vs. fade), anyone can manipulate data to prove whatever point they're trying to make. There's also the factor that we're not the pros taking those shots, so we can't actually know what they were trying to do and thus how often they actually execute their plan. Most golf statisticians I've seen aren't like MGS: they either provide very basic stats (e.g. averages), or they provide advanced stats in a very narrow context without going into control factors. Thus, you need to put a big asterisk next to most golf data and I haven't seen any particular data aimed at eliminating the "eliminate half the field" thought process.


Also, I wouldn't consider the mindset of eliminating half the course as an old or invalid thought process. On the contrary, under a different name and branding, it's just called "put yourself in a spot to play away from the trouble," which is also an "old" process but one that you advocated for earlier.  So it's not the thought process that is at issue, but what you view as an "absolute" interpretation and application of that process. That doesn't render the process itself incorrect, but rather points the error to people misapplying it. Which, to be frank, is golf at its core: people seeking perfection in their own way based on their own interpretations and applications and subsequently running into the issues that arise from those particular interpretations and applications. I mean, you yourself acknowledged that my application of the elimination process makes sense to you, whereas the people guaranteeing it are the ones you take issue with. That's again on the people, not the process. 


Edit: on a side note, THANK YOU for being willing to have this discussion. It's a slow day at work and I'm really enjoying your perspective. So thank you for putting up with me. 

and @DaveP043 I'm sorry I missed this discussion as it occurred, but man loved reading the interaction.  Great stuff there. 

I think a lot of people are meaning the same thing but saying it different ways in that discussion of "eliminate one side of the course" and "playing away from danger."  There are days where that is easily achieved and the scores reflect it.  However, there are days no matter how I say it I'm ending up in the sh%& no matter what I attempt to do...Makes for a long exhausting mentally taxing day to say the least!

Thanks for the great read gents!  Really enjoyed it. 

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Natural is a draw, preferred right now is a fade.

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Natural and preferred are fades;  just play what you got. 

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Natural is a fade, preferred is a controlled fade. Need to keep it in control so it doesn’t turn into a big slice or weak wipey fade

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On 12/28/2020 at 10:16 AM, MNUte said:

The thread asking about our perfect drive got me thinking about this and wondering how many on here have a natural shot shape that matches their preferred one. 


With driver, my natural shape is a draw where I'd prefer it to match my ideal drive and go almost dead straight with little movement or shape. 


With my irons, I naturally fade or push my shots. And I love that since I take the entire left half of the hole out of play. To me, that's worth its weight in gold for the mental benefits.


How about you?

Mine does.  My natural shot shape either a slight draw or dead straight.  At worst, it becomes a strong draw or a slight hook.  It allows me to just aim for the right side of the hole and let the ball drift back to the left.

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After playing a power fade, OK... slice  🤣  when I started playing golf.  I spent a lot of time learning how to hit the ball straight.  Now my natural shot shape is a slight fade with woods; irons are straight... more or less.  I prefer straight for all shots; I don't get into as much trouble that way.  The only way a ball is going left is if I pull it, which can happen when I'm more sore than normal.

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