How To Hit Pinpoint Approach Shots

What do you think of making the hole bigger in golf?

A hall of fame golfer recently suggested the change.

He thought it would make the game more fun and get more people to play. He may be right.

He also suggested that the change would make shotmaking more important—maybe as important as putting. He has a point.

Shotmaking Is Critical

While shotmaking isn’t quite as important as putting, it’s still critical to playing well. If you want to break 80 and chop strokes off your golf handicap, you must hit your targets with pinpoint accuracy.

That’s not easy to do. But some new thinking on shotmaking is providing golf tips that can help players increase the accuracy and consistency of their approach shots and reduce their scores.

This new way of thinking is all due to advances in modern technology. These advances enable us to see new things happening at the moment of impact—things expanding our thinking on how to shape shots.

Controlling Shot Direction

Controlling direction is a critical shotmaking skill. The more you can control shot direction, the more accurate you’ll be with your shot. The more accurate you are with your shots, the better your chances of hitting your target.

Previously, we’ve assumed that the direction of the clubface determined the direction of the shot—provided, of course, you hit the ball in the center of the clubface. Deviating from the center, called “gear effect,” skews the ball one way or another.

Traditional wisdom says that if you want to hit a draw, your clubface must be closed at impact. If you wanted to hit a fade, your clubface must be opened at impact.

This axiom is still true—for the most part.

You still have to have a closed clubface at impact to hit a draw. But the clubface must be closed relative to the target line at impact. If it is, the ball will start to the left then curve back to the right. To hit a fade, it’s the opposite. The clubface has to be open relative to the target line at impact.

Bends Away From The Swing Path

The new insights generate by technology bring swingpath into the mix—something most teachers don’t discuss when teaching you to shape your shots in a golf lesson. The new thinking goes like this:

The more open/closed the clubface is relative to the swingpath, the more bend your shots will have.

To hit a draw according to this axiom, your clubface must be closed relative to the swing path but slightly open to the target line. To hit a fade, your clubface must be slightly open relative to the swing but slightly closed to the target line.

This idea takes a minute to understand. But once you get over the initial confusion, you can see how it makes sense.

A Good Exercise To Teach Shotmaking

A good exercise to teach yourself to ingrain this concept is to stick a rod in the grown to show you where the target line is. To hit a draw, put a tee in the ground just to the right of the rod to show you where the angle of the clubface should be at impact.

Put a second tee in the ground to the right of the first tee. This tee is the marker you want to aim for when swinging. In other words, you want to start the ball over the tee closest to the rod but you want to swing over the right tee farthest from the rod. Do the opposite of this to hit a fade.

This exercise may seem counter intuitive, but it works. Golfers who’ve used this exercise have found it easier to shape their shots and improve their shot making skills. They’ve also learned to do it faster. Try it.

Shotmaking is a critical skill in golf. Being able to control the shape of your shots improves accuracy. Hitting pinpoint approach shots enhances your ability to manage the course.

Good course management can help you break 80 with consistency, and chop strokes off your golf handicap. Breaking 80 and lowering your golf handicap makes the game more fun—no matter what the hole’s size.

How to Break 80 ® Presents FREE TRIAL

Trulli

Author: Jack

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4 Comments

  1. I really like your articles and don’t like to be critical, but this one is very confusing. Specifically the part about controlling shot direction.
    “You still have to have a closed clubface at impact to hit a draw. But the clubface must be closed relative to the target line at impact. If it is, the ball will start to the left then curve back to the right.”
    If I am hitting a draw I don’t think I want the ball to start left and curve right.
    I would like to try the exercise for shot making. However, it might just be me, but I can’t follow the placement of the rod and the tees. I wish there was a diagram or picture showing how they should be placed.

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    • Hi Mark, sorry for the confusion. I have re-posted a picture with the article illustrating the placement of the rod and tees. I think that will help. Thanks for the feedback! Jack

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  2. I am totally confused by this article, particularly since I am a left hand golfer and I’m trying to follow your instructions adjusting for a left hand approach shot. My first point of confusion is about sticking the rod in the ground. Should this be at an angle or straight up and down or what? Second, should I be putting the tees to the left instead of the right of the target line? Help.

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    • Hi George, Sorry for the confusion. I have posted a photo that should help explain. Just reverse the order for Left handed. Thanks for your feedback! Jack

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