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goshawk
Mar 10, 2009, 10:56 AM
From reading another thread about using blades vs "players" CB, there were a few responses that got me wondering. Could someone please help me understand why is it so important to your game that you "work" the ball? Being able to align yourself square to the target, throw it out to the right/left and bring it back into the target (in other words, hit a majestic draw/fade on command).....is it really that beneficial?
Now I can see the benefit of this on a moderate to long par 4 dogleg with tall trees at the corner where you can't "bomb" it over the trees and land in the fairway. Being able to carve a fade around the corner with the driver makes a ton of sense. I can even see hitting a draw/fade to get around a tree that fronts the green on your side of the fairway/rough. But why would you need to hit a 9-iron approach shot to the green with a "shape" to it? If you're trying to avoid a bunker that the flag is tucked behind, the 9-iron has a high enough trajectory that it's going to "drop and stop" if it's hit cleanly anyway.
Is this a result of watching the "big boys/girls" doing this so it's something that you want to be able to do as well? Is it an ego thing? Is it just to show off?
Please don't chew me up too much! I'm not picking on anyone or trying to call anyone out. I'm honestly confused as to why someone would want to hit their irons anything but straight at the target. Most of the "amateur" golfers that I've been around (both through teaching and casual playing partners) have trouble getting the ball to go where they are aimed. Add to that trying to hit a fade/draw to the green and the ball could wind up on another fairway with a double-crossed pull hook or a hosel rocket! Afterall, the vast majority of us are not playing this game for a living......it's just a game (personal enjoyment/entertainment/exercise/etc.). Why make it more complicated than it already is by trying to "work" the ball when it's not really necessary?

Bluefan75
Mar 10, 2009, 11:05 AM
goshawk, I guess the question is whether or not you actually have a 9-iron for the second shot, or if some of them are 5 irons.

I'll give you an example though. Click on this link,
http://www.suttoncreekgolf.com/gallery.html

and then select hole #6. This is my old club, so I know this course very well. The tee shot is not a driver. I've tried everything from 3-wood to get past the tree on the left, to 5 iron off the tee to stay back far enough that I don't have to deal with the trees(but then it's a long shot into a tough green). It is very, very easy to get yourself behind one of the two trees that compress the fairway at the dogleg. If you are on the left side, there are also large trees about 30 yards in front of the green that takes away coming in from the left. So if you are hoping to play more than punch out, you better be able to shape that next shot to get anywhere near the green.

Personally, I'm in the blades camp because you will learn to strike the ball better than with anything else, but that hole is one where being able to work the ball a little has saved more than a few times.

Bellyhungry
Mar 10, 2009, 11:06 AM
Because the one time when you try to shape the ball and it does go where you want it to go, the feeling is incredible and exhilirating.

You instantly feel like you are a better player and that all your time spent on the range is finally paying off. Plus, in your mind, you think 'If I can do it once, I can do it again'.

goshawk
Mar 10, 2009, 11:18 AM
Blue, that's pretty much what I was talking about with your example. Being able to get around a tree and close to or onto the green is a definite benefit. But what I was wondering about is a standard approach shot that's open, or even a moderate length par 3 (up to 175 yards). Is it really necessary to hit that fade to the green, or is it more like BH said it just feels so good when you pull it off on purpose?

Bellyhungry
Mar 10, 2009, 11:37 AM
Blue, that's pretty much what I was talking about with your example. Being able to get around a tree and close to or onto the green is a definite benefit. But what I was wondering about is a standard approach shot that's open, or even a moderate length par 3 (up to 175 yards). Is it really necessary to hit that fade to the green, or is it more like BH said it just feels so good when you pull it off on purpose?

I don't remember my best round last year, but I will always remember the 200-210-yard 4-iron high shot that I hit at St Andrew Valley. I don't remember my score playing Sandy Lane in February, but I will always remember the purposeful cut fade that I hit on a 423 par 4 that left a 9 iron in to the green.

imAnewbie
Mar 10, 2009, 11:41 AM
Agrees with everyone, I was once stuck inside the trees and I have a wide clearance to the left, but I'm 210 yards to the green, I tried pulling a low flyer fade... and what do you know I reached the green from inside those trees. One of those shots that I will remember from my whole golfing life! Now if I had my TA4s there, it's gonna be really difficult to cut that low flyer shot, I agree with everyone, having blades forces you to focus on getting clean shots. Because when you do hit a mis hit, it's gonna be really bad for your arm! :help:

sellis
Mar 10, 2009, 11:45 AM
Knowledge is power - if I understand why a ball is fading to the right (I'm a lefty) then I will understand what I need to do to correct it.

coe14
Mar 10, 2009, 11:47 AM
My natural shot shape with a 9 iron is a 15-30 foot draw. It's much easier to get close to back left pins than say front right. A big cut for me is a straight ball - if I could hit a reliable cut it would definitely help me.

Bluefan75
Mar 10, 2009, 11:48 AM
Blue, that's pretty much what I was talking about with your example. Being able to get around a tree and close to or onto the green is a definite benefit. But what I was wondering about is a standard approach shot that's open, or even a moderate length par 3 (up to 175 yards). Is it really necessary to hit that fade to the green, or is it more like BH said it just feels so good when you pull it off on purpose?

Getting closer to the hole....

I saw your last line about "why make things more complicated?", and I have to take issue with that. Now, me being upfront, I will say here that I really can't relate to someone who isn't trying to get better. I don't begrudge that, but I consider trying to get better fun. this doesn't mean I expect everyone to hit balls for 4 hours a day. Now that I'm married I don't think I will be able to practice as much as I once did, but for the time I will be able to devote to it, playing and practicing will be done with the eye of getting better. If I fall on my face a few times, well, that's part of the process.

So having said that, sure, I could hit an iron straight at the flag. But if it's missed a bit and I'm short I'm in the bunker, and if I'm long. But if I'm playing that fade, now my margin for error has increased greatly, because now the ball, if it's short, has a line that will probably avoid the bunk and leave me a better chip shot, if it's long, probably has a better shot at staying on the green, and if it's right on it nestles right up to the hole.

There's a commerical on with the pros talking about how they practice shots most people never dream of hitting. Why? So they can have it in the bag if they ever need it. Yeah, we're not pros, so you adjust for that, but if we're trying to get better as well, should we not still try to have multiple shots in the bag we can call on when the situation warrants?

cobbie_90
Mar 10, 2009, 11:50 AM
Blue, that's pretty much what I was talking about with your example. Being able to get around a tree and close to or onto the green is a definite benefit. But what I was wondering about is a standard approach shot that's open, or even a moderate length par 3 (up to 175 yards). Is it really necessary to hit that fade to the green, or is it more like BH said it just feels so good when you pull it off on purpose?

i think if you hit a draw of fade at a green then it reacts a lot better on the green (lots of spin) if you just hit straight at it, its gonna spin but not as quick

P25
Mar 10, 2009, 11:51 AM
Knowledge is power - if I understand why a ball is fading to the right (I'm a lefty) then I will understand what I need to do to correct it.

Doesn't the ball fade to the left for us? :confused: :p

I think the workability thing is overrated myself...for all those shots that go the way you want them to (unless you're consistent enough), there will be more that don't, which will cost you way more strokes than it saves you over the course of 18 holes. Just my 2

guitarman
Mar 10, 2009, 11:53 AM
Agrees with everyone, I was once stuck inside the trees and I have a wide clearance to the left, but I'm 210 yards to the green, I tried pulling a low flyer fade... and what do you know I reached the green from inside those trees. One of those shots that I will remember from my whole golfing life! Now if I had my TA4s there, it's gonna be really difficult to cut that low flyer shot, I agree with everyone, having blades forces you to focus on getting clean shots. Because when you do hit a mis hit, it's gonna be really bad for your arm! :help:

I once hit a beautiful fade with a 5 iron from behind a tree from 170 yards out to land on the green about 15 feet from the pin. Once. The beauty is I actually meant to do it. But Every other single time I've ever tried a hero shot it always resulted in more strokes to fix the damage. I'm thinking my game would be better served, overall to just punch out from behind a tree and go straight at my target

whopgolf
Mar 10, 2009, 12:10 PM
Goshawk, this thread kinda relates to the poll I started in the golf instruction forum.
http://www.torontogolfnuts.com/showthread.php?t=37337

I wanted to get a sense of who actually focuses on their target as oppose to other things. I believe a lot of players believe their NATURAL SHOT SHAPE is working the ball, when in fact its the ability to move the flight left OR right on command. However, I find it takes the FUN out of it if you ask me since many play the game for entertainment purposes rather than financial benefit, eventhough that would be nice!

Actually, many of the 'big boys' that you mention that work the ball usually fade/draw the ball into the wind so they can get a straighter ball flight out of their shot.

Play a match with someone thats actually meaningful, play a $40 Nassau as oppose to a $5 one, high man for the 9 picks up the bill at the turn, high man for 18 picks up the bill for dinner and you'll quickly notice how good they can play or bad!

IMO, the pressure isn't there to go low unless its a qualifier or a tournament, or a money game.
Hence the saying............'I play for FUN!' A lot of people accept they're a 10 or whatever handicap and go with it and dont look to improve or dont want to put the effort to in to improve or even worse dont know how to improve. I kinda disagree with not improving something that you have such a passion for but thats me.

As for clubs, players should play the biggest club they can that minimize the mishits that they can bare to look at!

cldale
Mar 10, 2009, 12:20 PM
From reading another thread about using blades vs "players" CB, there were a few responses that got me wondering. Could someone please help me understand why is it so important to your game that you "work" the ball? Being able to align yourself square to the target, throw it out to the right/left and bring it back into the target (in other words, hit a majestic draw/fade on command).....is it really that beneficial?
Now I can see the benefit of this on a moderate to long par 4 dogleg with tall trees at the corner where you can't "bomb" it over the trees and land in the fairway. Being able to carve a fade around the corner with the driver makes a ton of sense. I can even see hitting a draw/fade to get around a tree that fronts the green on your side of the fairway/rough. But why would you need to hit a 9-iron approach shot to the green with a "shape" to it? If you're trying to avoid a bunker that the flag is tucked behind, the 9-iron has a high enough trajectory that it's going to "drop and stop" if it's hit cleanly anyway.
Is this a result of watching the "big boys/girls" doing this so it's something that you want to be able to do as well? Is it an ego thing? Is it just to show off?
Please don't chew me up too much! I'm not picking on anyone or trying to call anyone out. I'm honestly confused as to why someone would want to hit their irons anything but straight at the target. Most of the "amateur" golfers that I've been around (both through teaching and casual playing partners) have trouble getting the ball to go where they are aimed. Add to that trying to hit a fade/draw to the green and the ball could wind up on another fairway with a double-crossed pull hook or a hosel rocket! Afterall, the vast majority of us are not playing this game for a living......it's just a game (personal enjoyment/entertainment/exercise/etc.). Why make it more complicated than it already is by trying to "work" the ball when it's not really necessary?

I am leading the charge of blades in the other thread, and I don't really get the "work the ball" argument either. I think a consistent shape, be that a draw or a cut, is what you want. Better yet, consistently straight. Being able to draw/cut on command is so out of the way from where I (or probably any of us) are at.

That said, at the top level of the game, I can understand how approaching the target from a specified angle other than "direct" may be beneficial, give you more room for error, etc.

I have always wondered though, if you work on shaping the ball, would you see benefit in terms of control? I.e. instead of trying to hit straight, learn a cut, learn a draw, and in the process gain better feeling for your swing that manifests itself in more overall control?

Thats just a thought though. Not a belief as such.

goshawk
Mar 10, 2009, 12:26 PM
i think if you hit a draw of fade at a green then it reacts a lot better on the green (lots of spin) if you just hit straight at it, its gonna spin but not as quickActually, the spin rate is probably going to be pretty much the same. The difference is that the spin "angle" is not a straight backspin but now a "tilted" spin causing the ball to curve in one direction or the other.

Blue, I don't begrudge you or anyone else for trying to improve. I think everyone would enjoy the game a lot more if they continually strive to get better. If that includes learning to "work" the ball, so much the better. If I had the time to devote to my game, I'd be doing a lot more practicing to get more consistent myself.
What I'm having trouble justifying in my own head is someone who constantly scores mid-90's or higher trying to learn to "work" the ball. I'm not referring to accomplished players who have their ballstriking pretty much under control.

dekker
Mar 10, 2009, 12:54 PM
the few rounds I played as a single last year I can safely say that the majority of the players still had directional issues. Less than a handful could hit the green from 150 with any certainty. Shaping the flight was simply not a priority.
I came across 3 sets of blades, all Mizzies, all season. Those guys did not shape their shots with those either but all pinioned how great these were to shape the ball with. These same guys used hybrids exclusively for long iron shots.
Regardless of handicap everybody packed a sandwedge good for 125 yards, except it was usually to the front or the side of the green.

rgk5
Mar 10, 2009, 12:59 PM
i think if you hit a draw of fade at a green then it reacts a lot better on the green (lots of spin) if you just hit straight at it, its gonna spin but not as quick

A straight shot will always have good enough spin to stop it where you wish. A fade will have more backspin than a draw.

the few rounds I played as a single last year I can safely say that the majority of the players still had directional issues. Less than a handful could hit the green from 150 with any certainty. Shaping the flight was simply not a priority.
I came across 3 sets of blades, all Mizzies, all season. Those guys did not shape their shots with those either but all pinioned how great these were to shape the ball with. These same guys used hybrids exclusively for long iron shots.
Regardless of handicap everybody packed a sandwedge good for 125 yards, except it was usually to the front or the side of the green.

No wonder at that distance. :rolleyes:

drawbias
Mar 10, 2009, 01:18 PM
If your point is that players who shoot in the 90's are wasting their time trying to 'work the ball' and use clubs better designed to do this.... then I agree.

The only point I would like to hear some feedback on is the adage ' the hardest shot in golf is a straight one'. Do we live with the basic shot shape we have? Slicers want to rid themselves of this ugly creature so they are attempting to correct by ' shaping the shot'. But I have read that many pros go with the shot they had in warmup.

Great, now I even confused myself. Interesting thread you created here!!!:rofl: :rofl:

cldale
Mar 10, 2009, 01:19 PM
the few rounds I played as a single last year I can safely say that the majority of the players still had directional issues. Less than a handful could hit the green from 150 with any certainty. Shaping the flight was simply not a priority.
I came across 3 sets of blades, all Mizzies, all season. Those guys did not shape their shots with those either but all pinioned how great these were to shape the ball with. These same guys used hybrids exclusively for long iron shots.
Regardless of handicap everybody packed a sandwedge good for 125 yards, except it was usually to the front or the side of the green.

Sure, perfect swing & contact, I've seen my SW go that far. Thats not something you'd do on a course though would you? I mean, what does it prove other than that you have more bravado than brains.

What I have recently come to the realization of is that we all have a distance we "can hit" and a distance we "should be hitting to" with every club. I CAN hit my 7i to about 180 carry. I SHOULD hit it 165, maybe 170. Anything longer and bad things will become much more likely.

One of the goals I have before the season starts is to establish my CAN and SHOULD distance for every iron, write it down and take it with me, and try really hard not to hit my irons longer than I SHOULD.

Which reminds me of a good viewpoint I recently read by a former tour pro on another forum, that you should pick a club which can take the shortest route to the target and still hold the green. I.e. favour a lower flight where possible. The longer the ball is in the air, the more things can affect it.

corchard
Mar 10, 2009, 02:23 PM
Lionel, On top of the reasons already mentioned:

Wind: A draw in for a left to right wind and a fade for a right to left wind. It keeps my ball a little more on line because my flight is crazy high.

More margin for error: If I hit a fade aiming at the right most edge of a left hand fairway bunker I have lots of fairway room

Firm greens: greens where you can't drop and stop and are worried about where the ball ends up, you want the spin after the first bounce to to put the ball in the correct quadrant.

Tucked pins: If I have a left back pin over a bunker I'll aim middle right and draw set up for a draw. At worst with a straight shot, I've left myself with a long putt. At best I'm right against the pin.

That being said, the goal is on the green first get close second.

compugeek
Mar 10, 2009, 02:27 PM
Very few low cappers can work the ball both ways consistently. Most of the time it hurts them. Same with most pros. Very few work the ball both ways on a regular basis.

It's fun to do but unless you are a true scratch or plus handicapper, it probably costs you strokes overall. Yes some holes scream for a certain shot and can be worth trying. My experience and opinion playing and watching others golf in tournaments etc..

just123123
Mar 10, 2009, 02:35 PM
Getting closer to the hole....

So having said that, sure, I could hit an iron straight at the flag. But if it's missed a bit and I'm short I'm in the bunker, and if I'm long. But if I'm playing that fade, now my margin for error has increased greatly, because now the ball, if it's short, has a line that will probably avoid the bunk and leave me a better chip shot, if it's long, probably has a better shot at staying on the green, and if it's right on it nestles right up to the hole.


I think Bluefan has it closest to your original question.
Aside from the obvious reason to hit a fade or a draw...(avoiding trees etc)...pro's shape the ball to avoid "trouble".
Example: Right hander:
If a Pro is in the middle of a fairway 140 yards away from a flat green that has a pin placement two paces right of a pond, he/she will most often hit a draw aiming two to three paces farther right of that pin. The theory is, if the ball is hit perfectly, it will land two to three paces right of the pin and spin closer to the hole. If it is mishit, the ball might land 5 paces right of the pin and still spin left. If the ball is badly mishit directly at the pin it will land at the pin and spin left (hopefully) avoiding the water.
In other words, you have more options to avoid trouble. Hitting a ball straight limits your options to avoid trouble.
Example:Right hander:
If you:
Aim at the pin and pull it=water
Aim 5 paces right of the pin and pull it= add 5-8 extra yards because of the pull and its long and in the water? or...off the back of the green with a chip at a pin 2 paces from the water?....or....etc...(fill in your list of potential problems with a straight shot to the green).
Now, everyone knows (or should know) golf is an art and not a science, but the theory behind shaping shots is to limit trouble from mishits.

dekker
Mar 10, 2009, 02:38 PM
when I wrote that "regardless of handicap everybody packed a sandwedge good for 125 yds", I forgot to add a sarcastic smilie.

they all thought they were able to hit the green from that distance with a sandwedge and argued that a PW would have put them over the green!

compugeek
Mar 10, 2009, 02:42 PM
I think Bluefan has it closest to your original question.
Aside from the obvious reason to hit a fade or a draw...(avoiding trees etc)...pro's shape the ball to avoid "trouble".
Example: Right hander:
If a Pro is in the middle of a fairway 140 yards away from a flat green that has a pin placement two paces right of a pond, he/she will most often hit a draw aiming two to three paces farther right of that pin. The theory is, if the ball is hit perfectly, it will land two to three paces right of the pin and spin closer to the hole. If it is mishit, the ball might land 5 paces right of the pin and still spin left. If the ball is badly mishit directly at the pin it will land at the pin and spin left (hopefully) avoiding the water.
In other words, you have more options to avoid trouble. Hitting a ball straight limits your options to avoid trouble.
Example:Right hander:
If you:
Aim at the pin and pull it=water
Aim 5 paces right of the pin and pull it= add 5-8 extra yards because of the pull and its long and in the water? or...off the back of the green with a chip at a pin 2 paces from the water?....or....etc...(fill in your list of potential problems with a straight shot to the green).
Now, everyone knows (or should know) golf is an art and not a science, but the theory behind shaping shots is to limit trouble from mishits.

Key word is PRO and mor elikely TOURING PRO who plays tournamnets to make a living. Very few people can execute this consistently.

I think most amatuers should work on hitting it one way for the most part. Like most touring pros do.

cldale
Mar 10, 2009, 02:59 PM
Uhm, I don't know about you guys, but if a pin is 2 paces from a pond, I ain't going anywhere near it on approach. Fat of the green for me, thanks. You have to have a lot of cajones at any level of the game to be firing at pins tucked that close to water.

I think Bluefan has it closest to your original question.
Aside from the obvious reason to hit a fade or a draw...(avoiding trees etc)...pro's shape the ball to avoid "trouble".
Example: Right hander:
If a Pro is in the middle of a fairway 140 yards away from a flat green that has a pin placement two paces right of a pond, he/she will most often hit a draw aiming two to three paces farther right of that pin. The theory is, if the ball is hit perfectly, it will land two to three paces right of the pin and spin closer to the hole. If it is mishit, the ball might land 5 paces right of the pin and still spin left. If the ball is badly mishit directly at the pin it will land at the pin and spin left (hopefully) avoiding the water.
In other words, you have more options to avoid trouble. Hitting a ball straight limits your options to avoid trouble.
Example:Right hander:
If you:
Aim at the pin and pull it=water
Aim 5 paces right of the pin and pull it= add 5-8 extra yards because of the pull and its long and in the water? or...off the back of the green with a chip at a pin 2 paces from the water?....or....etc...(fill in your list of potential problems with a straight shot to the green).
Now, everyone knows (or should know) golf is an art and not a science, but the theory behind shaping shots is to limit trouble from mishits.

guitarman
Mar 10, 2009, 03:02 PM
when I wrote that "regardless of handicap everybody packed a sandwedge good for 125 yds", I forgot to add a sarcastic smilie.

they all thought they were able to hit the green from that distance with a sandwedge and argued that a PW would have put them over the green!

125 yards is almost a nine for me.

cldale
Mar 10, 2009, 03:04 PM
125 yards is almost a nine for me.

If your life depended on it, how far could you hit a 9? What I am getting at, how much do you "leave in the tank" on your shots?

goshawk
Mar 10, 2009, 03:12 PM
I think Bluefan has it closest to your original question.
Aside from the obvious reason to hit a fade or a draw...(avoiding trees etc)...pro's shape the ball to avoid "trouble".
Example: Right hander:
If a Pro is in the middle of a fairway 140 yards away from a flat green that has a pin placement two paces right of a pond, he/she will most often hit a draw aiming two to three paces farther right of that pin. The theory is, if the ball is hit perfectly, it will land two to three paces right of the pin and spin closer to the hole. If it is mishit, the ball might land 5 paces right of the pin and still spin left. If the ball is badly mishit directly at the pin it will land at the pin and spin left (hopefully) avoiding the water.
In other words, you have more options to avoid trouble. Hitting a ball straight limits your options to avoid trouble.
Example:Right hander:
If you:
Aim at the pin and pull it=water
Aim 5 paces right of the pin and pull it= add 5-8 extra yards because of the pull and its long and in the water? or...off the back of the green with a chip at a pin 2 paces from the water?....or....etc...(fill in your list of potential problems with a straight shot to the green).
Now, everyone knows (or should know) golf is an art and not a science, but the theory behind shaping shots is to limit trouble from mishits.
All of your statements have merit and I wouldn't disagree with them. But just how many of us amateurs who don't do this for a living can pull off these shots 75% of the time? I would say that there are maybe 100-150 of the 7300+ people on this forum who can plan and execute these shots on a regular basis. Most of the rest of us either plan it and misshit and still end up in a fairly good position (plan a draw for a pin tucked back left and hit it straight end stop in the middle of the green), or plan it and end up either doing exactly opposite or some other crazy result (been there, done that, got the tee-shirt, burned it!:D ).
I believe the vast majority of amateur golfers don't practice these shots enough to be totally confident in their outcome. But they try it anyway and get upset at the outcome. Or they pull it off once and, as BH said, think to themselves "I can do this again!".
I just believe that the majority of golfers who try to "work" the ball are opening themselves up for frustration, especially if they aren't practicing these shots on a regular basis. Even tour pros don't fire at greens tucked near a pond, unless they are in contention and are trying to force the issue late on Sunday afternoon. It's a lot easier to hit the middle of the green and 2 putt for par than trying to sink the recovery pitch/chip from the other side of the pond.

If your life depended on it, how far could you hit a 9? What I am getting at, how much do you "leave in the tank" on your shots?I can't remember the last time I made a swing full bore!

Richard
Mar 10, 2009, 06:04 PM
Working the ball reduces strokes, for the reasons previously stated.

It's a free (mostly!) country, if golfers want to put sidespin on the ball, go for it! With a blade or players cavity or a GI :)

guitarman
Mar 10, 2009, 06:53 PM
If your life depended on it, how far could you hit a 9? What I am getting at, how much do you "leave in the tank" on your shots?

If I hit it perfect I could get a nine to go 135 probably. My irons are more traditional lofts and I'm not a big hitter.

Bwadd
Mar 10, 2009, 07:28 PM
Just remember some of the best players in the world do not work the ball.... IE> Jeff Ogilvy... he can work the ball but 99% of the time he hits a soft fade..... :)

cldale
Mar 10, 2009, 07:30 PM
If I hit it perfect I could get a nine to go 135 probably. My irons are more traditional lofts and I'm not a big hitter.

Right, my point was more that you leave something in the tank, a lot of guys might say they hit their X iron to some distance, and they CAN but its kind of like saying you drive 300yds because you've done it once with a tailwind and elevated tee.

The problem is that they haven't figured out yet that it doesn't matter what club you hit, as long as it gets you to the hole.

compugeek
Mar 11, 2009, 07:31 AM
I think most pros leave about 10% back. When you hear a pro say he tried to hit one far off the tee, it usually works out to be about 10% more of total distance.

goshawk
Mar 11, 2009, 08:19 AM
Working the ball reduces strokes, for the reasons previously stated.

That's one pretty broad statement. That's like saying putting the ball on a tee saves strokes.
Please explain why "working the ball" reduces strokes. Are you saying that hitting straight shots from the first tee to the 18th green is throwing strokes away?

just123123
Mar 11, 2009, 08:48 AM
All of your statements have merit and I wouldn't disagree with them. But just how many of us amateurs who don't do this for a living can pull off these shots 75% of the time? I would say that there are maybe 100-150 of the 7300+ people on this forum who can plan and execute these shots on a regular basis. Most of the rest of us either plan it and misshit and still end up in a fairly good position (plan a draw for a pin tucked back left and hit it straight end stop in the middle of the green), or plan it and end up either doing exactly opposite or some other crazy result (been there, done that, got the tee-shirt, burned it!:D ).
I believe the vast majority of amateur golfers don't practice these shots enough to be totally confident in their outcome. But they try it anyway and get upset at the outcome. Or they pull it off once and, as BH said, think to themselves "I can do this again!".
I just believe that the majority of golfers who try to "work" the ball are opening themselves up for frustration, especially if they aren't practicing these shots on a regular basis. Even tour pros don't fire at greens tucked near a pond, unless they are in contention and are trying to force the issue late on Sunday afternoon. It's a lot easier to hit the middle of the green and 2 putt for par than trying to sink the recovery pitch/chip from the other side of the pond.

I can't remember the last time I made a swing full bore!

You have to remember the context of your original question. Simply, ...is it that beneficial to work a ball...
That depends:
On your skill level; can you or can't you? Confidence. If it's the final round of a tourney and you're on the 17th two strokes behind the leader with a pin two paces from the pond and you have the draw in your bag....do you go at it with a straight shot and potential higher risks....or a draw aiming 5 paces to the right of the pin to spin it closer? ....your call....
Pro vs Amateur; Not ALL Amateurs or Pro's can or should work the ball. It's about the confidence in your ability to pull it off.
That's part and parcel of the beauty in this game and of your original question, the only right answer is in the result.

goshawk
Mar 11, 2009, 09:07 AM
You have to remember the context of your original question. Simply, ...is it that beneficial to work a ball...
That depends:
On your skill level; can you or can't you? Confidence. If it's the final round of a tourney and you're on the 17th two strokes behind the leader with a pin two paces from the pond and you have the draw in your bag....do you go at it with a straight shot and potential higher risks....or a draw aiming 5 paces to the right of the pin to spin it closer? ....your call....
Pro vs Amateur; Not ALL Amateurs or Pro's can or should work the ball. It's about the confidence in your ability to pull it off.
That's part and parcel of the beauty in this game and of your original question, the only right answer is in the result.
Very good response.

My primary concern is we mere mortals who play 5 or 6 rounds per month and rarely hit the range to really work on specific shots. Should we purposefully try to hit these right-to-left or left-to-right shots with (most probably) a less than 50/50 chance of pulling it off? Or should we be concentrating on hitting the straight shot that we're pretty confident that will work?

just123123
Mar 11, 2009, 09:10 AM
All of your statements have merit and I wouldn't disagree with them. But just how many of us amateurs who don't do this for a living can pull off these shots 75% of the time? I would say that there are maybe 100-150 of the 7300+ people on this forum who can plan and execute these shots on a regular basis. Most of the rest of us either plan it and misshit and still end up in a fairly good position (plan a draw for a pin tucked back left and hit it straight end stop in the middle of the green), or plan it and end up either doing exactly opposite or some other crazy result (been there, done that, got the tee-shirt, burned it!:D ).
I believe the vast majority of amateur golfers don't practice these shots enough to be totally confident in their outcome. But they try it anyway and get upset at the outcome. Or they pull it off once and, as BH said, think to themselves "I can do this again!".
I just believe that the majority of golfers who try to "work" the ball are opening themselves up for frustration, especially if they aren't practicing these shots on a regular basis. Even tour pros don't fire at greens tucked near a pond, unless they are in contention and are trying to force the issue late on Sunday afternoon. It's a lot easier to hit the middle of the green and 2 putt for par than trying to sink the recovery pitch/chip from the other side of the pond.

I can't remember the last time I made a swing full bore!

You have to remember the context of your original question. Simply, ...is it that beneficial to work a ball...
That depends:
On your skill level; can you or can't you? Confidence. If it's the final round of a tourney and you're on the 17th two strokes behind the leader with a pin two paces from the pond and you have the draw in your bag....do you go at it with a straight shot and the potential higher risks....or a draw aiming 5 paces to the right of the pin to spin it closer? ....your call....
Pro vs Amateur; Not all Amateurs or Pro's can or should work the ball. It's about the confidence in your ability to pull it off.
Believe it or not, it is getting much more difficult for even pro's to work a ball. Blades are relatively easier but cavity backed and game improvement irons actually correct "mishits". This fact limits confidence in the ability to work a ball. It's slowly happening with many areas of the game. Larger sweet spots, game improvement equipment...etc allows the bomb and gougers to walk up, stand behind their ball and whack it! (straight down the middle:help: ) I think we can agree, some of the art in the game is leaving us...but that's another subject isn't it?
Let's face it, the only real right answer to your question is in the result.

compugeek
Mar 11, 2009, 09:10 AM
Very good response.

My primary concern is we mere mortals who play 5 or 6 rounds per month and rarely hit the range to really work on specific shots. Should we purposefully try to hit these right-to-left or left-to-right shots with (most probably) a less than 50/50 chance of pulling it off? Or should we be concentrating on hitting the straight shot that we're pretty confident that will work?

I think its easier to hit the ball one way or the other but not straight. Most people have a little fade or maybe a big one.:p Playing it has many advantages and like you said, without lots of meaningful practice, trying to hit the ball in a way that is not natural to your swing will cause problems more often then not.

cldale
Mar 11, 2009, 09:10 AM
I think most pros leave about 10% back. When you hear a pro say he tried to hit one far off the tee, it usually works out to be about 10% more of total distance.

Probably varies depending on the club but I'd bet its lower than 90%.

compugeek
Mar 11, 2009, 09:14 AM
Probably varies depending on the club but I'd bet its lower than 90%.

I think it would apply to most younger pros. When you watch golf channel programs many pros speak of how much more distance they can get out of a club and its usually around 10% of yardage. Does 100% mean that they might shank? No it doesn't. That isn't the definition to pros when speaking of what they have left in the tank.

Some say that if they swing harder they don't hit it as far like Fred Funk.

Pingeye2_fan
Mar 11, 2009, 09:21 AM
I found years ago when I was playing well, if the yardage to the middle was my 9 iron distance and the pin was back right, I could just swing a little but harder and hit a bit of a pull which goes a little further and would draw a bit and that would get me closer to the back pin.
To back off or hit a soft 8 iron never really worked well fo rme in that situation.
I would rather make the more agressive swing with the shorter club.

cldale
Mar 11, 2009, 10:13 AM
I think it would apply to most younger pros. When you watch golf channel programs many pros speak of how much more distance they can get out of a club and its usually around 10% of yardage. Does 100% mean that they might shank? No it doesn't. That isn't the definition to pros when speaking of what they have left in the tank.

Some say that if they swing harder they don't hit it as far like Fred Funk.

I generally think of % in terms of effort. You might feel like your swinging 3/4 full but get 85% of your full length.

I'd imagine for some guys they would lose compression when they swing a little harder due to slightly worse/off-center contact.

corchard
Mar 11, 2009, 10:39 AM
Should we purposefully try to hit these right-to-left or left-to-right shots with (most probably) a less than 50/50 chance of pulling it off? Or should we be concentrating on hitting the straight shot that we're pretty confident that will work?

- On the range I'll practice all of the shots to build confidence.
- In a casual round I'll practice all of the shots as the hole dictates. But sometimes I'll set up to high draw a ball or a low fade or a punch shot or a bump and run from 120 yards just for giggles.
- In a tournament round, get the ball in the hole with as few strokes as possible. This usually means a lot more straight shots with a little bias to my normal shape for the day. Having said that, if I feel very confident that I can draw to a back pin over a nasty bunker, I'll take the shot and forget about it.

A couple of examples:
I know you know this course well: Southern Dune #10 is a 451 yard par 4 with a slight dogleg left. I played it into a strong wind with a little left to right. Also there is a little speed slot down the left side down a little hill. My straight shot likely would have been knocked down by the wind and left me with a 200yrd second into the same wind. I felt confident with the low draw and smoked it to within 1 foot of the 150 yard marker. Second shot was an easy 7I to a back center pin which I hit a little fade to hold the wind. It landed softly on the right front of the green for an easy 2 putt.

Next time I played the same hole, the wind was a little lighter and I had no confidence in the draw. I hit it with my natural fade, wind knocked it down a little ended up with a 190 yard second. I played the second straight with my 5I, mis-hit it and ended up front of the green. A great chip left me with a tap in par.

Now this is me playing my best golf. Am I delusional, of course. But my handicap is still dropping. :D

goshawk
Mar 11, 2009, 11:24 AM
Charles, I've watched you practice those shots and you've done very well since I've known you. But my question was aimed more at the golfers who DON'T practice those shots very often, and their ball striking isn't nearly as consistent as yours. What about the golfers who visit the range and blast away at a jumbo bucket in 30 minutes? Should they be trying that low fade or high draw to a tucked pin over a bunker near the water, or should they just try to hit it straight to the middle of the green? Is it going to improve their scores? I've heard (and read on this forum) golfers who's average score is close to or over 100 talking about "working" the ball. Why?

By the way, I do remember that hole very well and I'd say you played it very nicely, both times. Even with the mishit the second time, you still managed to get a par on a pretty tough hole. That's a bonus.

mrusse01
Mar 11, 2009, 11:46 AM
I have always wondered though, if you work on shaping the ball, would you see benefit in terms of control? I.e. instead of trying to hit straight, learn a cut, learn a draw, and in the process gain better feeling for your swing that manifests itself in more overall control?

Thats just a thought though. Not a belief as such.

That's really why I practice working the ball. I feel like it gives me a better sense of control, and more importantly, it forces me to really think about my swing each and every shot. I find that it really increases my awareness of exactly where my clubhead is, and what it is doing, throughout my swing. I think a lot of amateurs and those just starting out would do well if they could just increase the awareness of what they are doing.

I'm not a great player by any stretch though, I'll shoot in the high 80's to low 90's, so I very very rarely am ever thinking to myself during a round, 'well, I'm just going to lay a nice fade into this green'. I just want to make crisp contact and have the ball go as straight as possible and as close as possible to line I'm aiming on.

I think the question of 'should players be shaping the ball' if you are failing to shoot in the mid to low 80's is really a moot point somewhat....I can almost assure you, if you are having trouble breaking 90 or 100 you probably can't shape the ball on command. You can talk about it all you like, that doesn't mean you're doing it, in my opinion.

corchard
Mar 11, 2009, 11:53 AM
By the way, I do remember that hole very well and I'd say you played it very nicely, both times. Even with the mishit the second time, you still managed to get a par on a pretty tough hole. That's a bonus.
Thank you. Everything was working well that day>

Charles, I've watched you practice ...I've heard (and read on this forum) golfers who's average score is close to or over 100 talking about "working" the ball. Why?

Because in essence golf is a game. Also it is one of the few sports where on any given shot you can accidentally hit one absolutely pure and feel like Tiger Woods. It's a great feeling. I still remember the first time I cranked one over 300 (a little draw). I remember my longest drive at 370 (power fade). I remember a 9I that flew over the pin and sucked back for tap in birdie. I remember the LW that I shot hundreds of miles in the air over the evergreen tree that stopped 3 feet from the pin for a par. If I have one of those moments in a round I don't care what my score was. I can replay that shot over and over again in my head (it get's better every time I replay it).
Maybe it's a bit of showing off to one self: Look what I can do.

I can't remember (let alone replay in my head) a straight up the middle drive unless something else special happens.

goshawk
Mar 11, 2009, 12:01 PM
Because in essence golf is a game. Also it is one of the few sports where on any given shot you can accidentally hit one absolutely pure and feel like Tiger Woods. It's a great feeling. I still remember the first time I cranked one over 300 (a little draw). I remember my longest drive at 370 (power fade). I remember a 9I that flew over the pin and sucked back for tap in birdie. I remember the LW that I shot hundreds of miles in the air over the evergreen tree that stopped 3 feet from the pin for a par. If I have one of those moments in a round I don't care what my score was. I can replay that shot over and over again in my head (it get's better every time I replay it).
Maybe it's a bit of showing off to one self: Look what I can do.

I can't remember (let alone replay in my head) a straight up the middle drive unless something else special happens.Very valid and sensible comments and I thank you for that.

That's really why I practice working the ball. I feel like it gives me a better sense of control, and more importantly, it forces me to really think about my swing each and every shot. I find that it really increases my awareness of exactly where my clubhead is, and what it is doing, throughout my swing. I think a lot of amateurs and those just starting out would do well if they could just increase the awareness of what they are doing.

I'm not a great player by any stretch though, I'll shoot in the high 80's to low 90's, so I very very rarely am ever thinking to myself during a round, 'well, I'm just going to lay a nice fade into this green'. I just want to make crisp contact and have the ball go as straight as possible and as close as possible to line I'm aiming on.

I think the question of 'should players be shaping the ball' if you are failing to shoot in the mid to low 80's is really a moot point somewhat....I can almost assure you, if you are having trouble breaking 90 or 100 you probably can't shape the ball on command. You can talk about it all you like, that doesn't mean you're doing it, in my opinion.Also very valid and sensible. Thanks.