As simple as it may seem at the first glance, it is never just hitting the ball. It is choosing the right strategy and the sequence of golf shots that may bring you to the best score. The best professionals are those who excel in controlling the speed and the flight of the ball.
Which shot to make and when to make it are the most significant choices for the player.
Drive (tee shot) is a long-distance shot, played from the tee. The purpose of the drive is to reach the long-distance towards the green. When performed well, it gives an excellent start.
The approach is the second or any subsequent shot with the aim to bring the ball to the green. It is played usually on par 4 or par 5 holes, very rarely on par 3 holes.
A putt shot is the short distance shot rolling the ball along the ground, the one that places the ball into the hole. That is why it is considered to be the most important for winning. It is the most practiced shot by the best players because it requires great precision and delicacy.
Well executed putt brings a high score and more money. “Drive for show and putt for dough.”, they say… For a good reason.
A pitch is a shot with a steep ascent and steep descent for a relatively short distance of 50 yards or closer. It is used to jump over the obstacle, or to control the distance prior to setting the ball for putting.
A “chip shot” is intended to bring the ball closer to the hole, very often to overcome some minor obstacle in the field. It is a short shot, making the ball pop in the air and making it land and roll over in the direction of the hole.
Fairway bunkers, the shallow sandpits, are placed around the landing areas or around the green surfaces. Bunker golf shots are hard to play because they require a particular technique to drive the ball off the sand.
Playing the bunker shot, the golfer needs to hit the sand one inch behind the ball, so that the sand will make the ball lift and come out of the hazard area.
The lay-up shot is made after the drive, adjusted to the conditions and the strategy, making the shot distance shorter, or more precise. The lay-up is used to fine-tune the ball position after the drive shot, or to set the ball in the more favorable position for the next shot.
A flop shot is a variant of the pitch shot, when the ball is going almost vertically in the air, and then landing almost with no rolling. It is used to make the ball go over the hazard in a very short distance. It is a specialty in golf, and it is often considered a lob shot.
THE SPECIAL SHOTS
When you want to get the ball as far as possible down the fairway, with the minimum spin, you will perform the draw. It drives the ball from right to the left in a flat curve, reducing the spin so that the ball slides straight forward after the landing.
It is one of the highly challenging golf shots, and it takes quite a lot of mastery to perform the draw right.
The fade is a shot to be used to get by the left to right doglegs. It is the opposite of the draw.
Fade is performed by moving the ball from left to right, giving it an additional spin. It is harder to execute for right-handed players.
THE SHOTS YOU DON’T WANT TO MAKE
As you have learned, there is a variety of golf shots, from basic to mastery. On the other side of the medal, there are the shots that make you fail, even embarrassing ones.
Very often it is not all about power. Fat is an overpowered shot that occurs when the player hits the ground before the ball, launching up high a big amount of the surface material, resulting in a short trajectory of the ball.
When you hit the ball above its horizontal center, you will produce an additional spin and your ball will roll over the ground, not as nearly far as you would want it to land.
Shank occurs when a player misses the ball center on the hit, and the ball turns to the right for a right-handed player, or to the left for a left-handed player.
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